Petting is a form of communication. Incidentally, it’s a soft and effective means to communicate. Some dogs love being petted, while others less. Just as some people like to be touched, while others don’t. It’s important that petting is associated with an enjoyable moment. This is why it’s important that the hand be associated only with petting and not punishment.
Appropriate moments for petting
Every minute of the day is not necessarily an appropriate moment for petting. For example, if you are punishing your dog, avoid petting him and associating this moment of complicity and tenderness with a mistake he’s made. Your dog might not understand. Petting is a moment of closeness, of relaxation, and of love between the owner and the dog. It’s a calm time that you share with one another, so the moment must be appropriate. Your dog doesn’t want to be petted if he’s in the middle of playing or burning off energy. Or if he’s sleeping for example. There is a time for everything, and your dog doesn’t want to be petted all day.
Can we pet dogs that we don’t know?
Your dog loves being petted, and you make him happy. But not all dogs are like this, and some dogs don’t like to be touched by humans. This is why it’s important to first ask the owner if you can pet their dog. If the owner isn’t there, use a “friendly” posture towards the dog: gently squat down towards him, reaching out your hand so he can smell you. Don’t hurry the dog and pet him unless he lets you. Don’t be insistent. Not all dogs necessarily like to be petted.
How to pet your dog
Dogs usually like to be petted in three places: the head, the stomach, and the backside. Depending on his behavior, you can discover where your dog wants to be petted. If he rolls over with his paws in the air, don’t hesitate to rub his belly. For the backside, your dog might appreciate scratching more than petting, and you should be able to quickly detect if your dog likes it or not. If he responds by lifting his backside or sometimes by even turning his head to watch you, you’ve got the green light!
Generally speaking, petting is a moment you share with your dog and that reinforces your bond. Only you can detect the moments when your dog wants and is asking to be petted. This is a part of what makes your bond unique.