Petting your four-legged friend is a great way to strengthen your unique bond. Understanding their body language and stroking them aptly can go a long way in making four-legged pal feel secure and loved.
Petting is proven to offer therapeutic effects in canines. It not only calms their nerves and reduces hyperactivity, but also lowers their blood pressure, making them feel secure and content.
Our furry mates never get tired of loving gestures, do they? As a pet parent, you often try to express your affection towards your pet pal by stroking, hugging, or kissing them. However, did you know petting your furry friend the wrong way can make them nervous, fearful, or upset?
Most pet parents fail to realize that they are unknowingly threatening or scaring their furry pooch by adopting an unsuitable petting style.
Canines often tend to put up with inappropriate stroking from their pet parents. Don’t mistake your pet mate’s fear and nervousness for friendliness and consent. Read on to learn the right ways to pet your four-legged buddy.
1. Know What Your Mutt’s Trying to Tell You
You don’t need a dog language translator to understand what your mutt is trying to communicate. Merely observing your canine friend’s body language can help you determine whether or not they are in the mood to socialize. Canines often express their mood and emotional or physical wellbeing through their behavior.
For instance, your sociable mutt may waste no time in letting you know that they are in discomfort when stroked inappropriately. Though yelping and growling are the clear signs that your mutt is uncomfortable, they may also lash out, lick their lips, yawn, or show the white of their eyes.
Similarly, even the friendliest pet may not want to be caressed when they are apprehensive about a situation, person or event. Dogs constantly licking their lips, drooling, panting, tucking their tail, pacing, or barking aggressively are anxious or in discomfort. Petting your pooch in such a disturbed state of mind can cause them to become aggressive.
It is wise to consult your vet who can help alleviate the distressing symptoms of canine anxiety by administering chamomile, a popular herb with potent sedative properties. Your vet may recommend CBD oil or cannabidiol that is proven to interact with the canine’s central nervous system to soothe the symptoms of anxiety.
If your mutt is open to being petted, they will approach you with ears held back, tail held out with a sweeping wag, and a relaxed body posture. On the other hand, it is wise to back off if they act leery or tense, duck their head, or make their body stiff.
Canines aren’t very different from human beings. Sometimes they yearn to be touched and on other occasions, they want to be left alone. Observe your mutt’s body language and tailor your petting style according to the mood of the moment. For instance, if your pooch looks energized and playful, pep them up with gentle pats. But if they want to lie down near you, offer gentle strokes to calm them down.
Respecting your canine’s individuality will help you develop a relationship which reassures them of your love and respect.
2. Pet Them at the Right Places
No one knows your furry pal better than you. Yet, many times our canine friends tend to endure our annoying actions like hugging and petting in the wrong places.
Most dogs like to be stroked and scratched in the hard-to-reach areas such as under the collar or on the back. However, they feel threatened and react aggressively when petted in areas like the paws, muzzles, tails, and the head. Ironically, most pet parents tend to pet their pooches on the top of their heads. Though most canines learn to put up with this behavior, it is wise to avoid these areas.
See the image below to know the where to pet your pooch.
Also, kids can get pretty rough with dogs, jumping on their back, hugging them, or pulling their ears. A few dogs may learn to put up with these actions while others might not. If you have kids, make sure you teach them to treat your furry pal with respect.
Rather than invading their personal space, let your pooch initiate contact. Once you start petting your mate, pay attention to their response, thereby making it a mutually enjoyable process.
3. Get. Set. Pet!
Though pets appreciate being caressed by their human mates, they feel threatened when they aren’t approached in the right manner. Therefore, it is best to learn the most suitable way to pet your mutt, making them feel relaxed and comfortable.
Approach your pet pal with an inviting body language, kneel or crouch down to their level and use your fingers and palm to pet them in the areas they prefer. Gently massage your mutt in the direction of their fur, feeling the layers of hair, through the skin, and the muscle.
Petting your canine pal with the right speed and intensity can significantly affect their emotions. Slow and intense strokes with gentle pressure are generally well received. However, quick shallow pats can irritate your pal, causing them to avoid you.
The rule of thumb is to stop petting every now and then, and observe your mutt’s reaction. If they aren’t comfortable with the way you are petting them, they will move away. However, if your furred mate draws closer to you, they are yearning for some more attention and touch.
Sustained petting is recommended in every close-knit human-dog relationship. Though petting your mutt may seem like a usual affair, it’s important to recognize and respect your furry pal’s personal space and preferences. This will not only help them enjoy being stroked by you, but also foster a bond based on love and respect.
Use the tips shared in this post to stroke your pet pooch in a manner that’s appreciable by and acceptable to them.
When it comes on a dogs health and safety Vivek Patel never misses any opportunity to share the knowledge with pet lovers. He works tirelessly to write about dog health, behaviour, and training skills, besides this he is the digital marketer and Local Search Specialist at E2M. He turns innovative ideas into achievable search strategy. You can reach him on twitter @vivekrpatel.