Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Petting your dog, how does that make him/her feel?

What is the difference in the two photos?

Have you ever watched people pet their dogs? Have you paid closer attention to the way you pet your own dog?

Do you think your dog enjoys being petted? Are you sure?

This is something I pay very close attention to, when I watch a dog parent or person interact with a dog. Often, I find this to be yet another testament of just how amazing and tolerant these wonderful creatures are of the ignorance humans display.

We assume the act of being petted is a great feeling... it's kind of like a hug right. Hugs make one feel warm and fuzzy don't they?

Well the reality of it is that no, not everyone likes being hugged. Being hugged by someone you know and trust, whereby the relationship is mutual is far more comforting than a hug from a stranger. Imagine getting a hug from someone that reminds of you of your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone you do not like... or even more, a hug from someone that brings back a really bad memory. It's not the same is it? A hug is not just an act of comfort, its a feeling is it not?

Well how is being petted any different? I often wonder if dogs like being petted. One of our first actions towards a dog is to want to say hello, which happens in form of a pat over the top of the head. If you sit back and watch, it is amazing to see how many dogs don't actually enjoy being patted but tolerate being patted.

To test this, I want you to record yourself, patting your dog. You may be alarmed to learn the act of patting makes you feel much happier than it does your dog.

I think it is important to make mention that a dog that does not "really" enjoy being patted does not mean the dog does not love you.

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