Why Do Dogs Like Being Pet?


Petting may feel like the most natural thing to do to a dog. Ask any dog lover! It’s how we communicate, show affection, make a connection, and establish trust with our canine friends. For dogs, allowing themselves to be petted like is their way of showing their trust and devotion. Why do dogs like being pet? Is there any particular reason? And are there ways to make petting an even more pleasurable experience for your dog?

Assess the Situation

There’s no doubt that dogs like being touched by their human friend. Ideally, the dog should be the one to initiate the petting. You’d know a dog wants to be touched if he approaches and sniffs you, with his ears and his body relaxed. If dealing with a strange dog, you need to learn and understand a dog’s body language so you’re sure that he’s relaxed. Your pet dog usually snuggles up close if he’s ready for a nice petting session.

If you just got a new puppy, you should take the time to know him better first through play and interaction. Once you’ve gained his trust and know more about how he likes to be petted, only then would it be a good idea to let him socialize with people and other animals. You’d be better able to reduce his anxiety and tell other people how to best approach him.

Keep in mind that dogs love to be petted by people they love and trust. The way he interacts with you would most definitely be different from how he’d react to other people. Read more tips on how to socialize your dog.

Do dogs like to be pet when they’re sleeping? Not all of them do. This is why it’s best to call out your dog’s name instead of touching him when he’s having a nightmare. You could end up being bitten if you touch a dog that’s sleeping.

Where and How to Pet a Dog?

Where do dogs like to be petted the most? It’s different for every dog. The longer you get to know your pet, the more you’ll be familiar with his favorite spots for petting and rubbing. If you’re wondering how to pet a new puppy or an unfamiliar dog that seems friendly enough, start slowly and lightly petting the chest or shoulder. Don’t go straight to the top of the head unless the dog shows an indication that he wants you to touch him there.

There are parts of a dog’s body that you should avoid petting entirely. For instance, some dogs may be irritated or act aggressively if you touch them anywhere near the tail, under the chin, on the muzzle, or at the back of the neck. Some canines may consider it a threat and bite out of instinct. You should also avoid grabbing a dog by the face. Some dogs love being scratched behind the ear, but generally, dogs don’t like their ears being petted roughly.

The intensity and speed of stroking would also affect your dog’s emotions. It’s always a good idea to be gentle and apply just the slightest bit of pressure. Following the direction of the fur and making slow, rhythmic strokes effectively soothes and calms a dog down. Quick, shallow pats are not usually well-received.

Why Dogs Love Being Petted

So, why do dogs like being petted so much? According to science, having a pet as a companion and communicating with our pets through touch is beneficial to our physical and mental health. But don’t worry because your furry friend isn’t getting the short end of the stick either. Being petted benefits our dogs too—in more ways than one!

· They simply like how it feels.

This may not entirely be based on science—but based on what dog owners around the world have always known. There’s no question that a good petting is all you need to make your dog’s day. A study also showed that dogs prefer being petted over verbal praise.

· It’s good for their health.

Touching a dog reduces blood pressure and heart rate for humans. Sleeping with a dog beside you have been shown to reduce anxiety and give you a sense of security. It’s been found the dogs enjoy the same health benefits. Gently touching or stroking is also effective in reducing dog anxiety and easing fear.

But do dogs like being pet while sleeping? Some dogs could fall asleep as you’re petting them. But it’s best to avoid touching a dog in a deep sleep. Being touched while sleeping may startle some dogs and cause them to bite. 

· It strengthens their bond with their owners.

Dogs are affectionate and sociable creatures who like being given attention by their owners. Being petted makes your dog feel closer to you, in the same way that grooming fosters relationships in many species of the animal kingdom. Touch can also tell your dog the emotional state you’re in.

· It shows your dog trusts you.

Why do dogs like being pet on the belly? It feels good, for sure. But when your dog rolls over begging for your touch, it’s could be his way of showing that you’re his “alpha” and that he trusts you completely.

Rubbing and stroking your dog should be part of your daily pet care routine. Apart from feeding him healthy meals, socializing your dog, grooming him, training him in basic commands, and making sure he gets enough exercise, petting your dog is essential in strengthening your bond with your pet and keeping your dog healthy. Dogs can’t get enough of it! And petting a dog comes with excellent health benefits for both you and your canine friend.


  • All Post arrow
  • Lost & Found Pet Tips arrow
  • Pet Behavior arrow
  • Pet Training arrow
  • Pet Food arrow
  • Pet Health arrow
  • Pet Care arrow
  • Pet Safety arrow
  • Others arrow

Get Your Pet Back Home

Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. You can report your missing pets with PawMaw.

Pet Behavior
February 22, 2024 Pawmaw

8 Reasons Why Dogs Howl When You Howl

Howling is a natural behavior for dogs, and they love to mimic it with their owners. This is harmless and there can be several reasons like bonding or...

Pet Behavior
February 18, 2024 Pawmaw

10 Reasons Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast While Sleeping?

Observing your puppy breathing fast while sleeping is normal, but it's important to be cautious due to various reasons, not all of which are tension-r...

Pet Behavior
February 13, 2024 Pawmaw

Why Is My Puppy Biting Me Aggressively?

Why is my puppy biting me aggressively? Learn the causes, signs, and solutions for aggressive puppy biting and how to raise a well-behaved and happy d...

Get Your Pet Back Home

Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. You can report your missing pets with PawMaw. We can notify thousands nearby within a minute.

Report Lost Pet