a dog looking over the shoulder of a boy

Why Do Dogs Like To Be Pet?

Most dogs love to have some attention. Petting is a great thing for them. However, this type of action is weird if you think about it. Many people would not scratch their friends on the belly or top of the head. So why do we do this for our furry friends?

Want to give your dog a treat or toy along with a pet? Check out the large selection of toys and treats from Runball!

Do Dogs Love To Be Petted?

Many dogs cannot get enough pets from their owners. This is often due to the canine-human communication methods. Many species share a symbiotic relationship in nature, but those bonds between humans and dogs are particularly strong

Dogs have been a part of the lives of humans for tens of thousands of years, dating back to the date of domestication. Dogs and humans are both intelligent animals, and they have developed a system of communication between the species. 

Most species will avoid eye contact with each other since it can serve as a method of intimation. However, both dogs and humans will look into each other’s eyes during an interaction. That bond is not limited to communication, but it can alter your dog’s hormone levels, along with your own. Dog-human communication can increase oxytocin levels, which are found in the mother-baby connection. Oxytocin can influence other types of behavior and thoughts. It is the reason to feel compassion for another person or deciding whether to trust someone. 

Related: How to Get a Dog to Play With Toys

With that particular type of communication, dogs just adore physical contact with their humans. There are several reasons why dogs love to be petted. For example, it just feels good getting a scratch under the chin or a pat on the head. This type of action also serves as a social activity

Many animals groom each other, think about primates, to form bonds in the community. Along with that, petting can provide some great health benefits by reducing a heart rate and lowering blood pressure in both humans and dogs. Finally, any physical contact can be an “emotional thermometer” to gauge the feelings between the species. 

a dog laying on its back

Unfortunately, there is no scientific research to study dog petting. So many of these reasons are considered unproven theories. However, if you have a dog, you know the special bond happens when you give them a pet. With a pet, you will be providing plenty of benefits for your dog, even if there is no tangible evidence.

Skip Talking, and Begin To Pet

The University of Florida has studied whether dogs prefer to be petted or vocal praises. In their research, dogs prefer being petted by their people, and they tend to ignore any verbal praise from their humans. These dogs spent more time around those who offered a pet than those who gave them vocal attention. 

Related: Why Do Dogs Like Squeaky Toys?

The Dos and Don’ts of Dog-Friendly Petting

Not all pets are the same. If you want to give the optimal pet to your dog, make sure to do it the right way. When you see an unfamiliar dog, don’t go up and start petting. In some cases, that can stress out the dog, and you could get bit. Always ask for permission and pet the dog from the side. However, be aware of the dog’s body attention, and if there are signs of distress, stop any physical contact. 

Along with that, there is a proper technique for petting. You want to extend a loose fist to the dog with the palm facing down. Make sure to hold your plan about a few inches from the dog’s face. If the pup clicks your hand or sniffs it with a tail wag, you are good to go with the petting. 

However, you never want to touch the face directly. Many dogs love to be petted on the side of their face or under the chin. Pets on the top of the head can be intimidating and stressful, but they are the first place people want to pet. You might want to rub your furry pal on the shoulders, sides, chest, or rear haunches

a dog with two different eye colors

Petting the Right Way

While it isn’t rocket science to pet your dog, there are some techniques for a better experience for you and the dog. First, you want to make sure you are using the right amount of pressure. Some dogs prefer their own petting methods. For example, some dogs want to be vigorously petted, while others just need a gentle touch. When you are petting your dog, pay attention to his responses. When you figure out which methods give your dog the most satisfaction, you can use those petting strategies in the future.

Most dogs appreciate different levels of pressure in some regions of their body. Many dogs love those vigorous pets on the chest or haunches and only need a light touch around their ears, head, and chin

Related: Why Does My Dog Bury Her Toys

Don’t Over Stimulate Your Pet

In some cases, a rigorous petting session can fire up your dog and overestimate her. You want to keep the petting slow and gentle. If your dog starts to get too excited, then slowly begin to pet the ears. That will usually relax and calm your dog. On the other hand, you might want to exercise your dog, especially in the backyard. A vigorous pet can trigger the zoomies and help your dog burn off some excess energy. 

Petting is a great way to connect with your furry friend. You can make a petting session an excellent experience for you and your dog with the proper techniques. 

Along with a great pet, you might want to give your furry friend a delicious treat! Runball has a line of treats and toys to keep your dog occupied!