We love dogs because of the way they are, and dogs love us because of who we are and also because they get belly rubs from us. Whenever a dog wants his belly rubbed, you will find them flopping on to their back and exposing their belly. At that point, they seem the happiest ever as they love getting their bellies rubbed.

But why do dogs love belly rubs? Why do they get so happy even at the prospect of having a scratch on their belly?

Reasons for belly rubs

When a dog shows you their belly, there are two reasons behind it:

  • A way to show you that they submit to you
  • Or they want you to rub their belly.

Either way, whenever a dog exposes their belly to a person, it means that they completely trust that person and are devoted to them.

When a dog shows the belly as a sign of submission, it means that they are trying to be social and that they mean no threat to you in any way. However, if you choose to pet the dog while they are showing their submission, it makes them more vulnerable and nervous as they have very sensitive parts of their bodies exposed.

On the other hand, you can tell if a dog wants a belly rub as they will show one of these signs:

  • A body which is wiggling and loose all over.
  • A relaxed mouth, open with the tongue out from the side.
  • Eyes bright, playful, and affectionate.
  • Wagging and relaxed tail.
  • They will be a little vocal; you will hear a light panting. It will even sound as if the dog is laughing a little.

If a dog is showing signs of submission, then this is what you will notice:

  • Tense and lowered body; they may freeze as well.
  • A look of fear on their faces, lips, and mouth tightly shut.
  • Eyes will be wide open and it will seem like they are staring into the distance. There will be a little tension in their eyes and they might seem scared.
  • They might sound like they are whining or they may make quite or soft sounds.

Make sure you know what the body language says before you make your next step as you never know what sort of reaction you might get.

Why are belly rubs loved so much?

It is not exactly known why dogs love belly rubs, but we can assume that since they cannot scratch their bellies, they tend to ask their humans to do it for them. Some dogs will itch their backs by rolling in the grass or the carpet; a mixture of a belly rub and a back scratch is what they love the most. Their hind legs can easily reach their necks, shoulders and a few other parts, but they do not reach their tummies. Mostly you will see dogs using their teeth to scratch their belly, most tend to ask their humans.

How to give the right belly rub

You should note that not all dogs like to have their bellies rubbed. Some won’t ever show you their belly or ask for it, this is nothing to worry about, it’s just their preference. Some dogs like to get their bellies rubbed when they feel relaxed or have high serotonin levels.

If you love your dog and your dog loves belly rubs, then you both can benefit by learning how to give a proper belly rub. Here is what you should do:

  • Check their body language to see whether they want a belly rub or not.
  • Do not force a belly rub onto your dog, respect their decision.
  • You should be relaxed and loose before you start to pet your dog, and make sure to kneel to the ground.
  • Rub with an open palm and fingernails.
  • Stop after a few seconds to see your dogs’ reaction; they will get up if they don’t want more or will show signs of wanting more rubs.
  • Try to pet them differently, example, circular motions, a simple pet, etc.

Make sure that you listen to your dog; their body language will tell you what they want. If you pet them at the right time and respect their wishes, they will grow to love belly rubs even more.