Why Do Dogs Like to Be Pet and How to Do It Right

The feeling of love and eternal friendship with a dog has no price. Petting your dog is one of the main ways to show how important this creature is for you. What is more, this is a mutual process. However, dog petting is not about love only. Do dogs like being pet? How to do it right and are there dogs that don’t like it? Find out answers to these and some other questions in our guide. 

Why Do Dogs Like Being Pet

So, here are the reasons why do dogs like petting. 

  • Memories from childhood. Most of our habits and beliefs that we have in adulthood come from our childhood experiences. This is also true for dogs. affection from the owner’s side is associated in dogs with maternal caresses, licking, and playing together with other puppies from the same litter.
  • Sexual overtones. Male dogs can love petting in certain places because it is associated with sexual pleasure and provokes the release of the same hormones that are produced during mating.
  • One more way to show love. Of course, affection from the owner’s side is one of the indicators that the dog is loved and important. Dogs love their owners more than anything. And mutual love from the owner makes them really happy and confident.
  • A good start for an active game. Very often, light stroking and swatting quickly develop into an active game and unrestrained fun. Active dogs will never give up an extra portion of fun, especially if the owner supports this initiative.

Why It Is Important to Pet Your Dog

  • Show your love. The most obvious answer to the question of why do dogs like to be petted and why it is important to give it to them is that this is the greatest way to show your love. All dogs want to feel loved by their master. When you look at your dog with love and hold out your hand to stroke it, this is a signal for the dog that everything is going according to plan, and your love has not disappeared. Even if the dog recently did something that upset you.
  • Get even more love in return. As soon as you give your love, you get even more love in return. Why do dogs like being petted? Because it is also a way for a dog to show that it loves you. It loves you more than itself, more than anyone else, more than the whole world, because the whole world for your dog is you.
  • Help your dog to adapt and overcome traumas. First of all, petting is the best way to help your puppy adapt to a new environment. Secondly, love and affection have healing power. If your dog has a difficult past, or you took it from a shelter, then your love, affection, and care is a new and healing experience. By getting your affection every day, the dog will be able to restore confidence in the world and cope with the negative experiences of the past.

Why Do Dogs Like Petting – Research Results

By the way, there are some more interesting studies on how petting affects dogs and why do dogs like being petted. Here is a selection of results.

  • For most dogs, caressing and praising from the owner is more important than food. 
  • affections from the owner’s side cause a strong release of the hormone oxytocin in dogs. It is a hormone of love and happiness. Perhaps this may be the answer to your question of why does my dog want to be petted so much. Most likely, your dog just loves to love.
  • There is a lot of controversial researches on whether dogs like hugs or not. Probably, the best thing is to find out what does your dog thinks about it. 

Where Do Dogs Like to Be Pet – And Where They Don’t

However, it is not enough to know why do pets like to be petted. It is also important to know where do dogs like to be scratched and touched in order not to occasionally harm your dog or to trigger its aggression. Here are the places where do dogs most like to be petted. 

  • Withers and back. This is a universal spot on the dog’s body that you can stroke without fear. Patting the dog on the back is another sign of friendly attention.
  • Chest. Male dogs love touching the chest, as it reminds them of touching the female’s spine during mating.
  • Places behind the ears. Ear scratching is associated in dogs with the caresses of their mother, as well as with joint plays with other puppies in childhood.
  • Hugs. Many dogs love to just cuddle, and lay their head on the owner’s shoulder. But according to the results of the previous study, this is a very individual feature. Many dogs simply endure this so as not to upset the owner.

Places Dogs Don’t Like to Be Touched

  • Paws. Most dogs love to follow the command and give the paw to their master, but they do not like empty touches to the paws. For some dogs, this causes a tickling sensation, and some associate touching the paws with a nail trimming procedure.
  • Tail. Also, dogs do not like touching the tail. By the way, some breeds, for example, a Belgian shepherd, can jump up scared or even snap back if you touch the dog in the tail area.
  • Nose, eyes, teeth. Many dogs do not like touching the face and kisses on the nose. Some may tolerate this to please the owners, but still, it’s better to stroke the dog on the back, head, and belly. 

Pet Your Dog Right – Easy Rules You Should Know

  • Ask for permission. Despite the fact that most dogs love affection and are ready for this at any time, asking for permission is an elementary rule of courtesy towards your dog. To do this, just call the dog, sit on its level, and reach out to it. Most dogs happily rush into the arms of the owner at this moment.
  • Do not touch the dog that is eating. Especially if you have adopted a dog from a shelter, or you know that in the past the dog suffered from hunger or abuse. Your innocent touch can be understood as a threat to take away food. And by the way, keep in mind that there are dog breeds that become especially greedy and aggressive when it comes to food. The simplest example is miniature and cutest dachshunds. Petting while eating is absolutely forbidden with such dogs.
  • Do not touch a dog that you do not know and that does not know you. This is an obvious precaution. If you want to pet the dog, ask the owner for permission. It will be better if at first, the owner introduces the dog to you, and only then you can carefully touch it.
  • Do not touch the dog if you see that it is annoyed. Dogs have the right to change their mood as well as people. If you see that your dog is angry, upset, or annoyed, it is best not to touch it. Or start by trying to talk. In general, the strategy is the same as with people.
  • Set some boundaries. If your dog likes to caress, you better teach her the “Enough” command. Also, do not let the dog bite you during petting, even if she does it carefully and lovingly. You must be the one who sets the rules, and the dog the one who follows them.

Are There Breeds That Don’t Like Touches? 

If we were talking about cats, the answer to this question would be unequivocally affirmative. There are such breeds of cats that do not like to be stroked, picked up, and who almost never show signs of attention to their owners. Agree, such behavior on the part of the dog would look at least strange.

However, there are some breeds that really don’t like to be petted. And we will tell you even more – this does not mean that your dog does not love you. She just has other priorities. As a rule, such dogs belong to independent and originally self-sufficient breeds – for example, husky, Alaskan Malamute, or Chauchau.

By the way, these dogs also don’t feel “their territory” that needs to be protected. Their territory is the whole world. In this case, this is simply a genetic feature of the breed, so it makes no sense to demand from the dog something that it is not predisposed to.

Moreover, this behavior may be due to the difficult experience of a dog from childhood. Perhaps she just never received affection in early childhood, was excommunicated from her mother too early, or was the victim of abuse. In this case, it is possible to gradually restore the dog’s confidence in the world and make it more affectionate in relation to you.

What to Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Like Petting? 

If your question doesn’t sound “why do dogs like being pet”, but “why doesn’t my dog ​​like it”, then everything will depend on the internal reason.

  • If this is a breed feature, then you cannot fix it. All you can do is look for other ways to interact with the dog, such as active games, walks in the woods, or long-distance running. And of course, carefully study the character traits when planning to buy a dog. This will help you avoid the “expectations vs reality” situation.
  • If your dog does not like petting because of a traumatic experience in the past, you can gradually and unobtrusively show it that you do not intend to harm. Pet your dog for some seconds per day and let it go. Gradually, it will believe you and ask you to do it more and more often. 

Dog Wants to Be Petted All the Time – Is There a Problem?

The only problem that can really be associated with this behavior of the dog is a real lack of attention. Especially if your dog belongs to the breeds that love affection more than anything else. For example, dog breeds like Labrador, Poodle, and Bichon can really suffer from a lack of affection and attention.

If you spend all day at work, in the evening it may seem to you that the dog will require your affection all the time. In fact, she just missed you and really wants to get your attention. In general, children behave in exactly the same way.


So, now you know why do animals like to be petted and how to pet your dog right. What is more, this is one of the best ways to exchange love and energy between you and your dog so don’t deprive yourself of this pleasure if your dog is asking for it!

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Karen Sharrock
Karen Sharrock
2 years ago

My dog suffers from separation anxiety. When I’m gone most of the day and return home he’s usually destroyed something, like Kleenex’s and paper. I show him by eating him that it’s ok and I’m home and everything will be ok! Why does he put his forehead on my leg or arm?

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