Dog behaviors when we pet them

Veterinary consultation

The complex behaviors of dogs, such as their body postures and facial expressions, can sometimes be contrary to those of the human being. This can cause situations in which both individuals, can, and humans, are misunderstood.

Likewise, just as there are people with high social skills, who love to interact physically with other humans, there are people who are not. The same goes for dogs. Not all dogs like physical contact, much less if it comes from unknown humans or who do not belong to their family group, and with whom they do not share a good bond.

Should dogs be petted?

Understanding a dog’s behavioral responses is crucial when maintaining a physical interaction with him. People, whether or not we have a family relationship with a dog, tend to initiate our communication through physical contact. However, dogs usually reserve this type of interaction for members already established within the social group.

On the other hand, we do not usually think about the emotional state in which the dog we intend to pet is. We do not know if the animal suffers from a problem of resource management, self – control, attachment, etc.

As a general rule, we will never touch a dog that we don’t know, or that shows fear or distrust. For this, it is essential to know the behaviors and behaviors of dogs. Each animal is unique, so we cannot generalize. Many dogs prefer food instead of caresses as a reward. In addition, our mood can affect the dog, which increases some negative emotions such as stress or anxiety.

Does my dog ​​like to be petted?

There are signs that we can easily detect to know if our dog likes our caresses or not, as long as the dog is a balanced animal and has no emotional problems.

When we gently touch our friend, we will see in him a calm and relaxed attitude. This is due to the decrease in cortisol levels – the stress hormone – and the reduction in heart rate.

However, we must consider what part of your body we touch. Generally, the area of ​​the chin, the chest, and the base of the tail are areas of the body where all dogs accept to be petted. On the contrary, the legs, the upper part of the head, the neck, the shoulders, or the tail tend to provoke a negative physiological response in the animal.

This is not the case in all dogs. The link between the person and the dog must be assessed. There are dogs that love to be kissed and hugged by their guardian, with a reciprocal response in which the dog tries to lick and maintain physical contact with his favorite human. If, on the contrary, it shows some of the behaviors mentioned below, it is a sign that we must strengthen our bond with the dog.

Signs of calm in dog behavior

Within the behaviors of dogs, there is a set of behaviors called ‘ calm signals.’ Dogs turn to them to try to calm themselves and the other individual, with whom the conflict has occurred. The most common signs of calm are:

  • Yawn
  • Lick the snout
  • Look away
  • Move the tail
  • Lick with excitement
  • Narrowed eyes
  • I smell the ground just below
  • Walk-in circles
  • Show belly
  • Leave

All of these behaviors can occur at any time without any negative trigger. We will analyze the situation to see if this is positive or negative for the dog. For example, if we caress the dog and he will lick or avoid looking at us with narrowed eyes, it is very likely that he does not like caresses.

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