Petting a dog is an intimate activity that speaks volumes about the bond between a dog and its owner. When you pet a dog, it can read the energy you are giving off. Since rubbing is a relaxing exercise for both the dog and the owner, it can read that you are happy with it. Dogs are loyal creatures and will derive a feeling of gratification from knowing that their owner is happy with them. To a dog, petting is an affirmation of friendship, it shows that an owner cares about its welfare giving rise to a cordial bond between a dog and its owner.
At times, better-trained dogs use petting as an opportunity to show their owners of hidden injuries they might have on them. Since the dog has a limited range of options on how to communicate injuries it might have suffered, by laying at your feet for examination, it hopes you will find them as you pet it. As you pet a dog, it reacts differently once you touch more tender regions in its body. If a dog is injured, it will recoil in pain if a person pets the injured region. This will serve as a pointer that all is not well with your canine.
A dog relies on petting to show discomforts caused by pest infestations from fleas. When a person is rubbing a dog suffering from a flea infestation, it will often lie on its back, turning the affected underbelly up for petting. This is because a dog cannot reach this region of its body to scratch away the fleas. A dog hopes by exposing the affected region, the person will do something to relieve its misery. Stroking offers a way for dogs to inform their owners of any pest infestations that might be bothering them.
When you are rubbing your dog, the act conveys love and tenderness. This is what your dog reads off the act and reacts by showing loyalty. Dogs tend to respond to acts of kindness that bind them to loyalty to their owners. A dog is excited about belly rubs because often, when you are giving a rub to a dog, you are thrilled. The mood translates to people saying nice things when stroking dogs, and this is what dogs read off the act. They love the feeling of comfort and relaxation that they bring their masters.
To the pet, a dog requires a soft approach to avoid coming off as a threat, if a person is too rough in approach, a dog might feel threatened. If a dog feels threatened by a person, it might respond viciously as a primal instinct is triggered. When rubbing a dog you are not familiar with, keep off its paws, belly, and head. These regions are considered more sensitive in a dog, they will most likely trigger a defensive response from the animal. When approaching a dog to pet it, approach slowly, allowing the dog to smell you, indicating you are not a threat.