Why dogs don’t re­ally want tummy rubs

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

WHEN your dog rolls over, paws in the air, it’s hard to re­sist pat­ting his belly and telling him what a good boy he is. But it would be kinder to just leave him alone.

Dogs, ap­par­ently, don’t re­ally want their tum­mies tick­led, with most hav­ing learnt to sim­ply tol­er­ate this strange hu­man habit.

An­i­mal ex­pert Dr Jill MacKay says a dog rolling over is an ex­pres­sion of trust which dogs evolved to show one an­other.

“When a dog does it to an­other dog it means ‘I trust you’. So when a dog does it to a hu­man it trusts, it can then be alarm­ing if that hu­man in­vades its space and touches its soft, ex­posed belly. They have sim­ply learnt to put up with it,” she said.

MacKay said pet own­ers can mis­un­der­stand their an­i­mals.

When a dog barks at a stranger, most peo­ple tell their pet to stop it. In­stead, it would be bet­ter to pay no at­ten­tion to the an­i­mal.

MacKay said: “It is re­ally com­mon for dogs bark­ing at the door to be pushed away and told to be quiet. The dog doesn’t un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing. It can think that you are get­ting ex­cited too, so will carry on bark­ing.

“The best ad­vice is to ig­nore the dog. Dogs love us and want our at­ten­tion so this is a good way to train them.”

Mackay also gave ad­vice to cat own­ers frus­trated with their pets scratch­ing the back of fur­ni­ture to mark their ter­ri­tory. “In­stead of shout­ing at them, own­ers should just put a scratch­ing post in the same place,” she said. – Daily Mail or spoil her fun. Oreo doesn’t mind bump­ing into other pooches at the dog park, but she’d pre­fer to be your one and only. If you would like to meet Oreo, call Tear­son 021 785 4482.

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