Why do dogs like to be pet? Patted the dog

Have you ever noticed what your dog is interested in after his great performance? Your praising words like “Good job, my boy!”? Or he wants your soft hands to stroke him? Have a look at his reactions. In terms of vocal interaction, he shows no interest, right? When it comes to petting, however, particularly on his chest or shoulder, you can see the satisfaction on his face.

So, there comes a question – Why do dogs like to be pet instead of being praised? Let’s dive into this topic to figure out some interesting features of this human-canine relationship!


Why not words?

Many of you have a popular misconception that dogs can feel and understand what we are saying. Even though they can follow us when hearing the words up, down, stay, etc after a long period of being trained, they are still not humans. They are dog breeds.

What they are trying to understand is based on our body language. Once upon a time, dogs have been with human beings for over 1000 years. It means that dogs have the ability to read the human body, recognize how we are feeling.

Despite this surprising ability, you’ll see there are various kinds of body language just meaning one word. This absolutely makes your dog confused and irritated. In general, words can hardly help to communicate with your pooch.

Therefore, we need another kind of bonding; that is petting!

What happens when I pet my dog? Why do dogs like to be pet?

Honest to say, when you touch your dog gently, there will be lots of positive effects on his body and his mind.

  • Emotional bonding:

Research shows that petting a dog leads to an increase in the production of oxytocin flooding in the brain, known as the hormone of love. This hormone is primarily responsible for the mom-baby connection in the first weeks, which helps us feel better and drives us to be a kind person in this world. Dogs feel the same as us when being petted by a familiar person, especially their owner.

What’s more, when we ruffle dogs’ fur or slowly stroke under their chin, it helps release endorphins, activating the opiate receptors in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria and overall well-being against pain and exertion. Once again, this process happens on either you or your dog.

Therefore, spend more time with your dog, pet him properly and you will see the improving bonding of your human-dog relationship.

  • Health benefits:

You cannot imagine how it works inside your pooch’s body when he feels your touch. Are you happy and relaxed each time you pat on his shoulder? Are you out of stress and peaceful when you and your pup are playing in the park?

We guess the answer is definitely yes. So do dogs. One single touch results in lowered blood pressure and reduced heart rate, preventing heart disease from dogs. YIKES!

  • Security:

Despite the strong appearance, dogs seem to be a sensitive pet. You are the only friend of theirs on earth. They love being petted as this is a way to show your love and your care to them. Thanks to that, they feel safe and secure with you – their owner, which reduces the chance of their running away from home or some mental problems, particularly depression and strongly builds their loyalty.

Petting actually has a lot of great effects on both sides, so why don’t you come to pet your dog more often?

After deeply understanding the question why do dogs like to be pet, how can I pet my dog in the right way?


This seems to be hard for you because every dog is unique and he has his own characteristics. However, dog breeds tend to have something in common.

Let’s find out some necessary steps when it comes to petting!

  • Ask first:

Never get close to a strange dog without his owner’s permission. Always, always and always ask him whether you can give a touch because many dogs are angry with being stroked by unfamiliar people. When you are approved, you should initiate the contact from the side of the dog, and avoid his head or his face if you don’t want to suffer a bite.

  • Read the dog’s cues:

Just touch a dog when he wants. He needs time to get out of the fear of a stranger. Therefore, in case he is ready to communicate with you, he will give cues, initiate and come near you.

It is children that really need to be taught about this rule because they can’t stop themselves from touching a lying dog. That’s their enthusiasm. Unfortunately, this is the most reason why kids are the victims of dog biting accidents.

  • Start slowly:

In the first time, you patted the dog vigorously, what were his reactions? Scared, angry or hurt?

The third rule is to start slowly, step by step. Start by a loose fist and hold it a few inches before his face and wait for his response. If the dog comes to sniff or lick your hand and wag his tail, it is the time for you to give him a gentle pat.

  • Discover your dog’s needs:

In what way does your dog show that he is interested in your touch? The following are some of the dogs’ signals of happiness.

+ Ears: When he wants to say he loves the way you are petting, his ears tend to slightly hold back as coming towards you.

+ Tail:  This is the most common gesture of all dogs with the tail lifting and wagging as he sees his owner or the person he is familiar with.

+ Body: In case his body is relaxed and he gives you brief eye contact, he is comfortably ready to play with you.

Besides, there are still some dog’s actions to realize that he still needs more time to be close to you.

+ Sniffing: Don’t mistake when a dog comes to sniff your hands. Actually, he is trying to find out who you are; therefore, this is not an invite.

+ Jumping: Dogs can jump as a signal of joy when playing with their owner; however, for the first time, they may jump because there is no certainty about you.

  • Petting with right movements:

Needless to say, almost all dogs love repetitive movements under their skin. A gentle massage or light scratching is a good way to calm down your dog. So as he lies, just sit next to him and move in the same direction of the fur to make him feel better.

Where should I pet my dog?


When it comes to petting, why do dogs like to be petted only in the right positions? Let’s take ourselves as a real example. Each person has different areas that she wants to feel the touch of others such as her hands, shoulder, etc; meanwhile, there are still some restricted ones.

This happens the same to dogs. In spite of their unique characteristics, they have some likes and dislikes in common when being petted.

What are their likes?

  • The upper chest:

Amazingly, this region seems to be one of the favorites of most dogs. A perfect time for you to have a touch is when he is sitting, just come near, wrap your arm around his body and scratch or pet gently the chest area (the area between two front legs).

However, this type is not a suggestion for strangers or who is not familiar with the dog. Since it requires a little bit of intimacy, only already developed relationships are accepted.

  • The hips and booty area:

Have you ever patted the dog around his hips and his butt continuously in five minutes? How did he feel? We guess the answer is that he felt like in heaven, didn’t he?

This is absolutely where many dogs love being petted the most. Move slightly from one hip, coming to the butt area, and finishing up at the other hip. Don’t forget to care for his tail base, moreover, and give it a slow scratch. He seems to get crazy about that.

  • Ears:

Why do dogs like to be pet in the ear region? Ears are where most cartilage is located, so your pooch will feel satisfied when you use your fingers to massage this area gently. To reach the maximum level of effect, you can move your fingers to the surrounding jaw and neck area, which really helps him relax and easily drift off to sleep in a few minutes.

  • Belly:

Many of you are afraid of the belly area because it is so sensitive that it can drive your dog angry. However, when you see he comes near to you and exposes his swaying belly, he is actually giving a signal which simply means  “Hey my friend, just come and play a little bit with my amazing belly!”.

So you just need to have a try, give his belly some gentle scratches or some petting. He will likely show stereotypical kicking behavior if you touch the right spot. Therefore, just do it step by step, slowly and find out his favorite spot.

  • Chin:

The question is why do dogs like to be pet under his chin? Giving your dog a gentle petting under the chin is considered as a reward, so you can feel free to move your hand from the tip of the chin down towards the neck area as he is relaxed. However, remember to do it gently and warmly, not vigorously.

  • Shoulder and back:

It is the shoulder and the back that is covered by tons of fur and thick skin, so most dogs, excluding unfamiliar ones, like to be patted vigorously in this region. But you should make sure that your dog is included in this type by asking him gently first and then faster to see his reaction.

So, what do dogs hate when being petted?

  • Hugging:

That sounds surprising, right? Among humans, hugging is a wonderful way to express your love, sincerity, and kindness to one another. It helps to heal the pain inside and give us an invisible strength to overcome difficulties.

However, that is not what dogs understand. In canine language, placing a foreleg or paw on the back of another dog is called dominance. What they feel is a threat, fearfulness, and obedience. Therefore, even though you want to give your pooch a warm hug to say love to him, you should take it into consideration and find another way to reward him such as a gentle petting on the tail base.

  • Face or head:

Do you like other people to touch your face or rub your head? The answer seems to be 100% no. Neither do dogs. Petting a dog’s face or patting his head really makes him crazy, annoyed at best and painful at worst. Perhaps the cuteness of his face urges you to touch it, but try to resist that feeling and your dog will truly appreciate it.

We have just gone through what dogs like and dislike when being patted. But how can I be a master in petting? Let’s have a look at these simple tips.

Techniques of petting


Remember that dogs love different pressure in different areas. So in what way are you able to know all of them? The answer is simply to read your dog. Try various amounts of pressure around his body and notice his reaction. Is he happy or uncomfortable? Day by day, step by step, you can have him in the palm of your hand.

Stop when dogs are annoyed:

If your dog exhibits an undesirable behavior when being petted such as leaning her head away from you, you should stop doing that immediately. If not, it will make your dog irritated. In this case, they may begin “nosing” your hand to help you reach the right position, so you just need to listen to him and pet gently where he really wants.

Work different spots:

Why do dogs like to be pet in different spots of their body? It is simply because they feel relaxed and comfortable when you spread love through all of their muscles. Why not start by working under your dog’s chin, then move to his chest and finish up with his favorite spot – may be the swaying belly? It is a good idea to spend time petting your dog on his different parts in order to deeply create a good relationship.

In short, dogs love being petted more than anything on earth. It benefits both of you, building an emotional bonding between you and your lovely dog. Try to understand your companion and we are sure that you will have lots of memorable moments with him.

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