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Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs? – Science Reveals The Truth!

Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?
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The most exciting part of having a dog is cuddling. A fluffy pillow for all seasons…

Does your dog really like belly rubs?

Some dogs are addicted to belly rubs so much so that they literally demand that. Dogs animatedly flop or lie on their backs, tail wagging, tongue dancing, and happily wait for some belly rubs.

New research mentions that some dogs love belly rubs more than a treat.

What’s so mysterious about belly rubbing your dog?

Let’s decode the truth behind this cute dog behavior.

Looking For A Belly Rub Or Submissive Behavior

Dogs mainly expose their tummy to us for

  • A necessity for a belly rub
  • Submissive behavior

Read your dog’s body language before you pet your dog.

Appeasement or submissive behavior means a dog is showing that he is not a threat anymore. When you scratch a submissive dog, you are making him nervous.

The reason is you are handling their vulnerable parts.

Dogs Requesting Belly Rubs – Body Language

Dogs who love belly rub will show these body language signs:

  • Voice modulations – Remain silent, or a panting sound or a ha-ha sound like they are laughing.
  • Tail position – Very relaxed, wagging behavior
  • Eyes position – Non-fixating gaze, bright, squinty or open
  • Mouth position – Tongue mostly rolling out, open and calm mouth
  • All-around behavior – Wiggly, loose body postures

Dogs Showing Submissive Behavior – Body Language

A dog showing appeasing or submissive behavior will display this kind of body language-

  • Voice modulations – Soft whining sound or quiet
  • Tail position – Tail can be tucked, wagging or still
  • Eyes position – Staring at an object, tense, and squinty
  • Mouth position – Will see lots of tongue-licking and lip-licking or mouth and lip closed
  • All-around behavior – Tense up, freeze, crouch; low and tense body movements

It is easy to watch or read the dog’s mouth and tail- but do bear in mind that a dog with a wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog.

There is a world of difference between a fast tail wag, stiff, and tucked and a loose tail wag.

So, Why Do Dogs Like Belly Rubs?

Why it’s hard to say why these dogs like belly rubs?

Because we can’t ask them.

New behavioral and neuroimaging research studies show dogs love praise to treats.

Across all groups, dogs adored petting to ordinary praise.

The researchers came to the conclusion that both praise and treats activate same regions of the brain. Food rewards were pushed to the back seat.


Offering occasional belly rubs and calm words are more crucial in creating a win-win situation for all.

Best Way To Give An Excellent Belly Rubs To Your Dog

Many dogs prefer belly rubs when the levels of serotonin are highest. Bear in mind, not all dogs prefer belly rubs.

The basic steps to take into account before giving a belly rub include

  • Watch your dog’s body language. Never rush to give your dog a belly rub.
  • Stop when your dog does not want a belly rub.
  • Stay on the ground. Maintain a cool body language.
  • Use open-palmed, circular motions to rub the belly
  • Do it for 5 seconds at a stretch and then stop it.
  • If he likes it, he will ask for more. If he just moves away, leave him alone.
  • Try new types of petting or belly rub and see what sort of petting your dog likes.

The Conclusion

The most vital factor is to understand your dog’s expectations. Pet him only in the way he loves.

Keenly watch your dog’s overall behavior, you can make him love belly rubs much more than he normally does.

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