Like all dog breeds, Yorkshire Terriers typically love getting belly rubs from their humans. Every dog has a different personality, though, and some dogs – including Yorkies – may prefer other forms of affection. How a dog reacts to belly rubs can indicate underlying issues, so it’s important that dog owners take the time to get to know their pups before going straight for a belly rub.
The rest of the article will go into further detail about why dogs love belly rubs, how to tell if a dog is enjoying the belly rub, and if Yorkies show any differences in their belly rub preferences.
Table of Contents
- Why do dogs like belly rubs?
- Do all dogs like belly rubs?
- How can I tell if my dog likes belly rubs?
- What are other fearful submissive behaviors to look out for?
- Can dogs stop liking belly rubs?
- How do I know if I’m petting my dog’s belly too much?
- Why does my dog only like belly rubs at home?
- Why doesn’t my dog like belly rubs from anyone else?
- Do different dog breeds react differently to belly rubs?
- Is it bad if my dog doesn’t like belly rubs?
- Can I roll my dog over to give her a belly rub?
- What else can a dog showing his belly mean?
- What’s the best way to give a belly rub?
Why do dogs like belly rubs?
According to Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy, one of the reasons dogs expose their bellies is to show that they are comfortable around certain people. Dr. Nelson encourages dog owners to give plenty of belly rubs to dogs who are enthusiastic about them, stating that “affection is a dog’s favorite currency.” Some dogs, especially those with shorter legs, can also have a hard time reaching their itchy bellies and really appreciate the help!
Do all dogs like belly rubs?
Be careful when giving belly rubs to a dog you don’t know very well, as not all dogs like belly rubs. Past experiences may color a pup’s perception and belly rubs. A dog may get overstimulated if a belly rub is too long or too rough (this is especially true of smaller dogs, like Yorkies).
How can I tell if my dog likes belly rubs?
According to Dr. Margaret Gruen, Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a Veterinary Behaviorist at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, when a dog rolls onto his back is important in determining if he likes belly rubs. If your pup rolls over as soon as he sees someone approaching him, this could be a fearful submissive response. Make sure you look for positive body language cues before dolling out a belly rub, such a slow-wagging tail or an open mouth with a relaxed tongue.
What are other fearful submissive behaviors to look out for?
Use caution petting a dog who displays any of these behaviors:
- Tail is tucked between back legs
- Mouth is tightly closed, lips are pursed
- Excessive and rapid lip-licking
- Ears are pressed flat against head
- Eyes are wide enough to see their whites clearly
- Body stays low to the ground
- Dog rolls over when approached
Fearful dogs need time to warm up to their current setting, otherwise they may lash out in fear. Your best bet is to let an unfamiliar dog approach you for affection first, rather than approaching her.
Can dogs stop liking belly rubs?
If your dog has liked belly rubs all his life, but he suddenly starts snapping or appearing fearful when you give them, you may want to consult your veterinarian. Any sudden change in behavior, especially when accompanied by aggressive behavior, could mean that your pet is in pain or experiencing discomfort.
How do I know if I’m petting my dog’s belly too much?
For a lot of pups, there’s no such thing as too many belly rubs! However, if a dog becomes overstimulated by a belly rub, he will certainly show you by repositioning, walking away, or, in rarer cases, nipping at your hands.
Why does my dog only like belly rubs at home?
Setting affects how dogs react to belly rubs; for instance, a pup might be comfortable with belly rubs at home but not at the dog park. Remember, showing her belly is your dog’s way of telling you she is completely comfortable!
Why doesn’t my dog like belly rubs from anyone else?
Dogs can be very particular about their people, especially when it comes to making their undersides vulnerable. Many dogs only like belly rubs from people they are 100% comfortable with.
Do different dog breeds react differently to belly rubs?
Current research suggests that, when it comes to liking belly rubs, a dog’s personality and history are much more important than breed. Some smaller dogs, like Yorkies, can be more likely to display fearful behaviors, so make sure you are paying attention to their body language when giving belly rubs and pats in general. In general, though, breed has little effect on how much a dog likes belly rubs.
Is it bad if my dog doesn’t like belly rubs?
Just like people, different dogs prefer different forms of affection. Unless accompanied by a sudden change in behavior, it is completely normal for a dog to dislike belly rubs. Your pup might just prefer to snuggle up in your lap or play fetch instead!
Can I roll my dog over to give her a belly rub?
Dr. Gruen advises against flipping a dog over yourself, as it can make her anxious and confused. Your best bet is always allowing your pet to communicate to you that she wants belly rubs, rather than forcing them on her. This is true of large and small breeds alike.
What else can a dog showing his belly mean?
We know dogs show their tummies to a) show their comfort around their humans, and b) display fearful submission, but an exposed belly can communicate other meanings as well. In a 2015 study, researchers from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta and the University of South Africa found that, during play with other pups, dogs roll onto their backs to get a tactical advantage, blocking play bites and launching attacks from the ground.
What’s the best way to give a belly rub?
Most importantly, make sure your pup is asking for one! Once you’re sure your dog is ready for a belly rub, you can try different techniques, such as open-palm strokes, soft fingernail scritches, and gentle tummy pats. Stop the belly rub every few minutes to make sure your fur baby is still interested – he might even paw at you to tell you to keep going!