One of the many joys in a dog’s life is a good old belly rub.
But according to one dog trainer, not all pooches are quite so on board with all that affection, and some may feel stressed and uncomfortable by it.
While they may look like they’re enjoying it, they may be ‘appeasing’ their owners.
Thankfully, the expert has shared some key behaviours to look out for which will indicate whether your four-legged friend is for or against a belly rub.
The dog trainer of Top Paw K9 Academy, Greeley Colorado shared her tips to the company’s one million TikTok followers.
She asked her followers: ‘How many of you immediately go into giving your dog a belly rub when they show you their belly, or somebody else’s dog?’
She continued: ‘Did you know that can actually be an appeasement behaviour and that dog doesn’t want any problems, it doesn’t want attention but it doesn’t want problems.’
According to Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice, appeasement can be interpreted as the dog being overly affectionate and needy, which can include rolling over to expose their belly.
Demonstrating this on a Yorkshire Terrier, she explained four behaviours to look out for which may mean your dog isn’t enjoying the belly rub.
If your dog is licking their lips, swallowing hard and their body is extremely stiff, the expert said you should stop patting them.
You should also look out keep notice of their eyes, if they are very wide and alert they’re likely uncomfortable in the situation.
But just because your dog exhibits these signs, it doesn’t mean they’re completely against belly rubs and may want the affection on their own terms.
On the same dog, the expert showed some signs that your pooch does want a belly rub.
If their eyes are starting to close, their body is very relaxed and there is no lip licking or stiffness, she said owners should feel free to give them a belly rub.
The viral video has gained an impressive 1.2 million views and more than 102,000 likes.
Dog owners flooded the comments with gratitude, one wrote: ‘Thank you for clarifying. My dog does the first example and I thought he wanted me to rub his belly. I feel so bad now.’
Another commented: ‘Thanks! didn’t know this one.’
Meanwhile others were in debate on what the behaviours actually mean
One user commented: ‘My dog does the licking when she’s pet so I stop and then she begs for more or flips my hand back on her with her nose. ‘
And some agreed that their pooches like belly rubs regardless, one user commented: ‘No my dog always grabs my hand and forces me to give them belly rubs.’