Why Do Dogs Love Their Belly Rubs?

“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.” – Louis Sabin

Pooches love their belly rubs
Image Credits: Cuteness

The bond you and your pooch share usually begin with snuggles, kisses, and gradually your relationship with your pet gets stronger with time. All the pets aren’t a big fan of belly rubs or scratches. Instead, try to understand what makes your pet comfortable around you, what relaxes them, it doesn’t necessarily have to be tummy rubs. Your pets are aware of patting, gentle strokes on their fur, and cuddles are your way of showing love, and they react accordingly. Usually, their response to your petting is an indication that they trust you and love you back.

Why belly rubs?

“It’s kind of a rule with us dogs. Belly rubs equal instant friendship.” – Anya Allan

But did you ever wonder what's the science behind why most dogs love belly rubs?
Image Credits – dawgncats.com

With good belly rubs comes great friendship. We all know dogs are the best companions one can have and if you extend affection towards dogs they are sure to be loyal to you and bestow double the amount of love. But there is also little science behind why dogs love tummy rubs. Firstly, in simple terms, dogs love their belly rubs just because it’s satisfying and they feel good. According to studies, belly rubs have a specific neurological reaction in their brain to hair follicles. Some experts indicate that petting in any manner is connected to social grooming.

Belly rubs aren’t just a good feeling, even science plays an essential role. All the pooches we know, own or find on the street enjoy petting, and a good belly rub because there’s a specific brain neuron, which is more or less a reflex to the stimulation of hair follicles. In layman’s terms, stroking them gently, rubbing their belly, and tickling awakens a specific neuron, and the neurological stimulation is highly satisfying.

How do dogs respond to belly rubs?

Most people assume it’s their response to getting tickled and that’s right.

dogs kick their legs uncontrollably
Image Credits – K9 of MIne

The uncontrollable leg-kicking during a good belly rub is an involuntary action and it is known as “scratch reflex” or “tickle response”. The nerves linked to their spinal cord activates when they receive a belly rub. These automatic responses protect dogs from any kind of danger. The leg-kicking is an instruction from their spinal cords even before their brain could interpret the action. Basically, it’s self-preservation.

Understand your pet: Build a trust

Understand your pet: Build a trust
Source: Washington Post

The bond with your pet relies on trust like any other relationship in this world. You can’t just force a game of fetch on them or do belly rubs, few dogs don’t like to be forced. Let them be, give them time and space to be comfortable around you. Gain their trust by analyzing their behavior to different gestures, try to understand them, and be their best companion.

To check what your dogs like or dislike tummy rubs, you can look for certain reactions, like when they are anxious or upset, they tuck their tail between the legs, and if they are laying on the floor with almost zero movements, that means they are lazy and relaxed, that’s your cue to not disturb their relaxing time. You can notice their body language if they are loose, floppy, relaxed, and wagging their tail; go ahead and give them the best belly rubs.

Dogs love their belly rubs when they usually expose their bellies to you, almost as if asking for one. And look out for their precious smile during belly rubs, it can be the most refreshing moment of your day.

Love your dogs, like they love their belly rubs

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” – Kinky Friedman

Image Credits – CNBC.com

Some are lucky to be quarantined with their pets and families, one should make most of this time because we will never get this back. Every pet loves attention and being loved, so give them treats, play frisbee with them, and make beautiful memories that will last. Let the relationship with your pet only get stronger, find out what they like the most, train them, cook for them, this will strengthen your bond. Figure out indoor games for your pet and be proactive with them.

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