Why do people always want to pet my dog? Here’s What to Expect

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Do Dogs Like Being Pet on the Head?

Most dogs dont want you touching their head—at least not the top of it. This is usually because dogs feel vulnerable in that spot, and if they dont trust you, they may be worried that you will hurt them by touching their head.

Unless youre familiar with a dog and know theyre comfortable with you touching the top of their head, its better to pet other parts of their body where theyll feel more at ease.

Find food that fits your pet’s needs

It seems like a dogs head and a persons hand were meant to go together. But why do dogs like to be pet so much, and what are the best places to pet a dog? To answer these questions, its important to understand the signs dogs give before, during and after petting. Get ready — were about to explore the science behind dog petting.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie?” Although all dogs like a good hand massage, they should be the ones to initiate the petting. Whether theyre a new puppy, your long-time fur kid or a dog youve never met before, you should always look for the mutual agreement that the dog wants you to pet them. If a dog wants to be petted, they will sniff you, and then their ears, tail and other parts of their body will become relaxed. Watch for loose shoulders, a soft gaze and an open mouth. When they start to wiggle a little bit or nuzzle up against you, thats your sign that theyre ready for a good round of petting.

You should first pet the dog on the chest, shoulder or base of the neck rather than moving your hand over the top of their head. Make the initial petting slow and a little bit like a light massage. Avoid the base of the tail, under the chin and the back of the neck. Definitely dont grab at the dogs face or pet their ears roughly, since most dogs do not like that type of petting. Once you get to know a dog well, you can try to pet other areas and see what they like. When youre done petting, be sure to use a consistent response like “all done” so that your dog doesnt keep jumping up or try to nuzzle into you and knock you over for more pets.

Paul Rugg: People ask me how I relax

Are people always asking to pet your dog – or even taking it upon themselves to reach down without asking?

Even grown adults sometimes forget their manners when they see a cute dog. If your dog is friendly, that might be okay.

But you have little control over these interactions. Some people do not realize that not every dog is comfortable around strangers. They may tower over, corner, or sneak up behind a dog, creating a scary situation.

Others may lean in for a kiss or hug. Wouldn’t you be startled if a stranger did that to you?

Scary interactions can turn a friendly dog into a reactive one. Even the friendliest, most well behaved dog can get scared and bite.