Dogs Who Like to be Petted or Touched

Today I am offering more examples of dogs who enjoy being petted, or enjoy other types of human touch. (This is a followup to “Does Your Dog REALLY Want to Be Petted?”) And I’m encouraging humans again to figure out what their dog likes and doesn’t like. If your dog doesn’t like petting, maybe you can figure out an alternative behavior for yourself that both you and your dog can enjoy.

I am blessed with Clara, who thrives on touching and being touched, and has since she was a baby. Here she is at 12 weeks and 14 months. I am doing the “consent test” in both clips; stopping the petting and waiting to see if she solicits more. She generally answers with an emphatic Yes. There’s also a “stupid human” trick though, when I am continuing to ooh and ahh and pet her while she is squirming and obviously done with the whole thing. Oops.

Some dogs like other kinds of touch from humans. Here is my friend’s chihuahua, who blisses out when I gently, gently wobble her body back and forth.

And here is elderly Cricket, who really enjoys wiping her face all over any part of my body or clothing that she can reach. I think it makes her feel safe that she can control the touch this way, too. If I were to handle her the way I handle Clara, she would be desperately trying to escape.

In a previous post we saw Zani saying “No” to petting, but she enjoys lap time and snuggling up close.

Zani isn’t interested in being petted, but she likes to snuggle

I scoured YouTube one evening as well, and dug up videos of a few more dogs who seemed to enjoy petting (and saw dozens who didn’t). In many of these videos, the dog doesn’t enjoy every single thing the human does. But they appear to enjoy the petting and touching in general and ask for more. If you can find some more good ones–or think that any of these aren’t good examples, let me know. You can tell from the titles that these folks have all done something like a consent test, whether they knew it was called that or not. (In some of the videos, the people appear to have reinforced  demanding behavior from their dogs. That’s a subject for another day!)

If you are going to watch only one, watch the first one. It is especially moving. The Doberman in the movie is a rescued stray and is so obviously pleased with human touch and contact. (As of 9/16/12 he is available for adoption through Doberman Rescue of the Triad, covering Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, and West Virginia in the U.S.)

Beamer – Rescue Doberman

Cutest dog ever: don’t stop petting me (rat terrier mix?)

My Pug will not let you stop petting him

Don’t stop petting the dog (labrador)

Pierre – CDC foster dog/” Don’t stop petting me!!!” (poodle/chihuahua mix)

Get Pet 101: Obsessive chocolate lab wants to be pet more

Thanks to Nancy S. for helping me look over these.

Discussions coming soon:

Thanks for reading!

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About eileenanddogs

Passionate amateur dog trainer, writer, and learning theory geek.

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This entry was posted in Dog body language, Dog training hints, Human and dog misunderstandings, Training philosophy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Dogs Who Like to be Petted or Touched

  1. What a beautiful dog that soft puppy Clara has grown into. And bless that little chihuahua. Gentle rocking is used in a lot of human touch therapy, particularly gentle rocking of the head cradled in a hand, for problems with neck muscles. How wonderful to be able to cradle a whole dog in your hands like that. And I love the allogrooming with Cricket.

    • Thank you for watching and saying nice things about them all, and also, dogs! That little chi is something else, isn’t she. I used to know a cat who liked that, too. Loved learning a new word, allogrooming.

  2. Marjorie says:

    Great videos, so nice to see pooches that are really enjoying contact. Both my dogs really enjoy affection and sometimes it’s me needing the break! If they really want contact they will jump up in my lap and drape their paws around my neck and press themselves right into my body, they love to be held close and actually hugged (apparently this is a Cavalier thing). If I release the pressure and let go they will continue to press their body into me and often it is me that has to break contact. If they are getting a belly rub and I get distracted and stop the rubbing they will kick me to get my attention until I start rubbing again, so they don’t always ask politely.

    • Thanks for writing, Marjorie. That’s so sweet about the Cavalier hugs. And the kicking, heh. I bet that’s cute, too. I’m sure you don’t let it get out of hand, but some of the videos I posted from YouTube show some real demand behaviors for petting. That could become a problem for folks who don’t understand about what happens when you reinforce a behavior….

  3. Marjorie says:

    Yes, we have had that battle and they can become demanding little brats if you don’t teach them a command for “enough!”

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  5. Lovely post. Thank you for creating it. I believe it’s important to take our dog’s feelings into consideration.

  6. Kikovica says:

    Great post!! Thanks! I have two dogs, one likes to be petted all the time, the other is shy and isn’t fond of petting but likes massage…this helped me understand her better.

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  11. Rose says:

    Here’s a funny question for ya, my dog gives me mixed messages when I pet her!

    What do you make of these behaviours?

    1. She will often come up and lean on me. I will rub her neck or face and she’ll close her eyes and seem to enjoy it. Sometimes she sort of melts into me and slowly slides into a belly-up, in which I switch to rubbing her tummy. If I stop, she won’t do anything though, just keep leaning/lying there.

    2. Sometimes the opposite is true – I’ll be petting her and she’ll be licking her lips and yawning and I’m like, “Ok she’s not enjoying this…” but when I stop she’ll nudge my hand, like she wants me to continue. Very very confusing…

    3. ALSO, and this isn’t totally related, sometimes when strangers are petting her she seems quite nervous and uncomfortable, but as soon as they stop she gets all happy and playful, like maybe a post-stress adrenaline rush? My guess is that she’s an adrenaline junkie – these people make her little nervous but it’s also fun! She fully seeks these strangers out: rushes over with a wagging tail, then instantly looks uncomfortable once they lean down to pet her (slightly tucked but wagging tail, lots of lip licks, gazing at me beseechingly), then super hyper, jumpy, excited, and playful once they stop. So weird!

    – She’s also like this with dogs – insists on saying hi, will drag me over if I let her… but then acts super shy once she actually meets them – she moves her body into a very low-to-the-ground “small” position; low low almost-tucked tail, hackles a little bit up, which I think is a reflection of her being a bit nervous vs her feeling aggressive… very polite though, lifts her leg for them to sniff her, and then when I say “ok let’s go” to her she bounces up, tail comes way up and wagging, SO happy and excited, like she just had a -great- time being scared by these strange (but friendly obviously) dogs. Then she usually really wants to stand and stare at them as they walk away until they’re long lost into the distance, although I usually don’t let her because I feel like her fixation is sort of bizarre…

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Rose, I have no idea! I do know that dogs seem to display what we would call ambivalence. I guess we shouldn’t expect them to be 100% decided about everything all the time. Thanks for sharing those interesting behaviors!

  12. Gia M says:

    My pup is EXACTLY like Zani. She will greet me but doesn’t really like to be petted and her head shrinks away if I try to pet her but she loves to snuggle. So funny.

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