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Our dogs are our best friends. Or at least our furry best friends. Dogs are some of the most loyal creatures on this planet and it’s for that reason exactly that we need to love and cherish them. There are certain studies that prove that physical contact with your pet is actually good for not just you, but yes – also your pooch. In people, petting can trigger the release of a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the bonding hormone. Petting can also lower blood pressure as well as heart rate in people. While it does all this for humans, it also soothes a mildly anxious or upset dog.
Take caution though, as this only applies to mild anxiety and not extreme aggression. Physical touch could further aggravate an already out of control dog. Dogs get the most benefit from being touched in the right spots with a soft and nonthreatening approach.
Where Do I Pet My Pooch?
Each dog has his own special spot where he likes to be rubbed. But generally speaking, canines prefer to be petted on the shoulders, base of the tale, and chest. Some dogs also love to be rubbed on the base of their necks and between their ears.
The places most pleasurable to him are usually also the most sensitive areas where your hands are not very welcome. Like touching his paws, the end of his tail, his ears, the top of his head, his belly or muzzle, could easily irritate him. Avoid petting those specific spots until you know exactly which spots he prefers and makes him feel the most comfortable.
Don’t: yank his collar or hold him in a position that generally evokes fear. He may see these touches as threatening and try to escape or show aggression.
Pet him as a reward.
This usually helps him perceive petting as a very positive thing. Although verbal praise can be effective when your canine does something praiseworthy, you don’t speak the same language. So it is through touch that you should show him that what he did was good and is appreciated. Petting can also help in maintaining good manners.
The intensity and speed by which you pet him can also influence how he feels. Gentle pressure applied by a slow touch with rhythmic strokes made in the direction of the growth of the dog’s fur is usually pleasurable and well received. Shallow, quick pats or a quick approach can either quickly arouse him or make him upset. If you ever have doubt about whether your dog is enjoying your petting, stop for a while and observe what he does. If he begins to move away, he’s probably had enough. If he remains close to you or moves closer, he probably wants more loving. Happy petting!