It may sound absurdly obvious – but do you pet your dog? Do you know their favorite spots to get scratched? Where they hate being touched?
We’re unabashed people-watchers, especially in places where dogs are allowed. Honestly, we watch dogs more than people, but we do focus on the interactions between them.
Many people don’t seem to pet their dogs, at least not in public. Like in the waiting room at the vet’s office, some days we’re the only ones petting our dog. Even if the other dogs seem nervous or anxious, their people are looking at their phones and not their dogs. We wish more people would engage their dogs in little training games to reduce their anxiety.
Comfort for both
Sometimes that makes us a bit angry. Especially if their dog’s tension is rubbing off on the other dogs in the room. And even more if it’s a little dog. Is it asking too much to hold your dog in your lap and pet them? You can even keep scrolling – just hold your dog while you do it!
Most dogs love pets. Not everywhere, but somewhere. Favorite pet zones for most dogs include: dogs behind their ears, their jaws, and at the base of their tails. Questionable areas include the top of the head, the paws, and for some, the tummy. Belly rubs aren’t a universal pleasure for dogs.
Respect your dog
Years ago a non-dog-owning friend insisted on petting our Brussels Griffon Whimsy on the top of his head. He hated it. She kept doing it, saying that a dog shouldn’t get to decide what she could do. Consequently, Whimsy avoided her. We didn’t blame him.
As evidence that karma is powerful, that friend later became a dog person. And her first dog loved the top of his head being stroked. Her second dog hated it. And she learned what all dog owners know – it’s more satisfying to pet your dog where both of you enjoy it.
Behind closed doors
We hope that the non-public-petting people are actually private dog petters. It’s good for both of you. Studies have shown that dogs rely on touch to connect with others. That’s why your dog leans on you, or reaches for you. Your dog really loves your touch.
Petting your dog is good for you, too. Just a few minutes of stroking a dog reduces the stress hormones in your system. And it helps you connect with the wonderful little being who loves you unconditionally.