What dog does not like to be petted? Most dogs love the attention of their favorite person, while others tend to be more independent and require less affection.
But in general, the owner and the animal both feel relaxed when petting is done. Oxytocin, a hormone released when a mother looks at or touches her infant, is stimulated by it and can assist in slowing the heart rate.
This comes as no surprise, as a study conducted before regarding dog-owner relationships showed that having even minimal contact with dogs stimulates the human brain to release oxytocin.
It’s important to understand that different dogs have different levels of touch sensitivity. Some dogs may experience mild irritation or even stress when being stroked or petted in particular locations. Pay attention to the dog’s body language. If a dog is moving their head away, licking their lips or growling, and you see the tension in their face, it might be a way of them telling you to stop petting them.
Others, meanwhile, might want to be petted more than anything else. The dog is likely to be open to petting if it stays close to you and has actually brushed up against or sniffed your hand a few times.
It’s important to avoid startling a dog you don’t know as you go closer. Crouch down and bend your body sideways to appear as unthreatening as possible. The important thing is to not stand and bend over the dog. When you squat down, reach out your hand and invite the dog to come to you. You can pet a dog if it approaches you while wagging his tail. It’s best to leave him alone if he just stands there, backs off, or pulls his head away.
Follow the same non-threatening approach when meeting a dog for the first time, whether it’s a friend’s dog or a dog at the park. Squat down, offer your hand, and wait for the dog to approach you. You should also be completely relaxed. You can also keep treats on hand, which is typically useful. Another approach is to ask the dog to sit.
Children can be rough with dogs, which they may not enjoy. Some dogs tolerate pulling on their ears, large hugs, or even jumping on their backs, while others do not.
Whether it’s your dog or someone else’s dog, always draw the line and think of the dog’s personal space in mind when petting them.