It’s an almost universal truth – dogs love belly rubs.
Except when they don’t. Only one of ours truly enjoys belly rubs. Only Tango, Fran’s 11-year-old Brussels Griffon, will roll over and present his tummy for petting.
Booker rarely is calm enough to try. When he is asleep on the couch next to you, he will stretch out on his side and let you rub his flank.
Simon is another on-the-go boy, although not at Booker level. We knew what we were getting into when we decided to add Boston Terriers to the family. Simon is better at “chilling,” and you can pet him anywhere when he’s in that mode. But he never rolls over and says “Pet my tummy.”
A different level of loathing
Torque, Hope’s French Bulldog will never, ever enjoy a belly rub. He’s the dog that, no matter how relaxed he is, will never, ever sleep on his back. If he’s deeply asleep and rolls into a crack between cushions on the couch, winding up even close to upside down, he wakes up in a panic.
Teddy another Frenchie in the family, was fantastic at the trick “roll over.” He’d do it either direction, at Hope’s signal. Torque has such an irrational fear of being on his back that Hope’s given up trying to teach him this one.
Building toward belly rubs
Frenchies aren’t really the most flexible dogs around, so we guess that, in a way, Torque’s reluctance is understandable. He didn’t have to wear a cone when he was neutered. He can’t reach back there.
To work on his flexibility, Hope holds a treat by his shoulder and has him “reach” for it. She started teaching it while he was lying on the floor, figuring that he wouldn’t be as frightened because there was no where to “fall.” She was wrong.
Now she has Torque lie in a dog bed with big bolsters, so his back and shoulder are supported while he “reaches.” He’s still not crazy about it, but he does it. If she asks him to reach a bit farther than he’s comfortable, he’ll still get a little panicky.
Let your dog decide
There are only a few things we absolutely insist our dogs do our way – we talked about the three absolute commands on our training site; 2-Minute-Trainer.com.
Tummy rubs, or letting us pet them where we want, isn’t a must. Even if popular opinion says “all dogs like this,” it’s okay if your dog doesn’t like belly rubs.
Does your dog have strong opinions about stuff that “everybody says” about dogs? We’d love to hear about the endearing qualities that make up your dog’s unique charm!