Dog Behavior & Training

Why Do Dogs Like to be Pet?

Why do dogs like to be pet?
Written by Kevin Sando

We all know how good it feels to pet a dog, but have you ever stopped to think about why they like it so much?

It turns out, there are a number of reasons why dogs enjoy being pet. From the physical sensations they experience to the emotional connection they form with their owners, being pet provides dogs with a host of benefits. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why dogs like to be pet and what it means for their overall wellbeing.

Do dogs like being pet?

The Power of Touch

As humans, we often underestimate the power of touch. We forget that our sense of touch is one of the most important ways that we interact with the world and gather information. For dogs, this is even more true. Their sense of smell is their primary way of gathering information about their environment, but their sense of touch is also very important.

Dogs are social creatures, and use touching as a way to communicate with both other dogs and humans. When they meet another dog, they will often sniff each other and then start licking or nuzzling each other. This is their way of saying hello and getting to know one-another. When they meet a human, they may do the same thing if they are feeling friendly. However, if they are feeling scared or threatened, they may try to hide behind their owner or avoid being touched altogether.

In the wild, dogs groom each other as a way of bonding and showing affection. When you pet your dog, you are mimicking this natural behavior and providing your dog with the much-needed physical contact that they crave.

Touching can also be a way for dogs to show affection. If you have ever been lucky enough to receive a doggy kiss, you know how special it feels. Dogs will often lick your face as a sign of love and appreciation. They may also lean against you or put their head in your lap as a way of seeking physical comfort and reassurance.

So why do dogs like to be pet? Because touch is an important part of their world and how they interact with those around them.

Dog being pet outside near waterfall

The benefits of petting for dogs

Aside from using touch as a form of communication and interaction with the group, it feels good!

Just like us, dogs have sensory nerves in their skin that can detect touch, pressure, and vibration. When you pet your dog, those sensors are activated and send pleasurable signals to the brain.

In addition to feeling good, being pet can also be calming and relaxing for dogs. If your dog is feeling anxious or stressed, a gentle petting session can help to soothe them. Petting can also be a way for you to bond with your dog and build trust between you.

Touch helps humans bond with dogs

Dogs and oxytocin

There’s a reason why dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” Not only do they provide us with companionship, but studies have shown that interacting with dogs can also have positive effects on our health. One of the things that makes dogs so special is their ability to produce oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone.”

Oxytocin is a hormone that helps to regulate social bonding and interactions. It’s released when we hug or kiss someone, and it’s also released when mothers nurse their babies. Oxytocin has even been shown to increase trust and cooperation between people.

So what does all this have to do with dogs? Well, it turns out that dogs produce oxytocin just like we do. When we pet them and show them affection, their levels of oxytocin increase. This causes them to feel good and strengthens the bond between us.

Petting Dogs Releases Oxytocin

How to properly pet a dog

When you pet a dog, it is important to do so in a way that is comfortable and safe for both you and the dog. Here are some tips on how to properly pet a dog:

-Approach the dog calmly and slowly. Let the dog sniff the back of your hand before you start petting it.

-Start by petting the dog on its back or the top of its head. Avoid its tail or feet, as these can be sensitive areas for some dogs.

-Be gentle with your touch. Dogs have sensitive skin, so avoid using too much pressure when petting them.

-Don’t try to pick up or hold the dog without its permission. Some dogs may not be comfortable with this, and it could result in the dog becoming aggressive.

When not to pet a dog

There are certain times when you should not pet a dog, even if the dog seems friendly. If a dog is sleeping, eating, or chewing on a toy, it is best to leave them alone. Sudden pets could make them feel threatened or defensive and they may react unexpectedly.

You should also avoid petting a dog that is working. This could be a seeing eye dog, emotional support animal, or law enforcement canine. Remember, these dogs are highly trained and have a job to do!

Of course you will also want to refrain from petting a dog if it is showing any signs of aggression, such as growling or baring its teeth.

If you are unsure whether or not a dog wants to be petted, it is always best to err on the side of caution and not do it. When in doubt, ask the owner before petting someone else’s dog.

Dogs that don’t like to be pet

There are a number of reasons why some dogs may not enjoy being pet. Perhaps they were never properly socialized as puppies and thus lack the confidence that comes with trusting humans. Or, they may have had a bad experience in the past where they were mistreated or abused by someone who attempted to pet them. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to respect a dog’s personal space and to only attempt to pet them if they seem comfortable and relaxed in your presence.

Dog enjoying belly rubs

Harley enjoying some special attention at a pet blogging conference a few years back!


In conclusion, dogs like to be pet because it feels good, they enjoy the attention, and it reinforces their bond with you. When you pet a dog, you are providing them with physical and emotional benefits that help make them happy and healthy. So next time your dog gives you those puppy eyes begging to be pet, go ahead and give them some love. They deserve it!

About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.