How to stroke a dog? The right gestures


A petting can be very unpleasant for a dog, but its owner is not always aware of it. It is therefore important to know if the animal consents to it and to respect what it wants or does not want. It is also necessary to know how to stroke a dog and, above all, to make sure that the animal is tactile enough to appreciate this type of contact. An unwanted petting by the animal can convey a negative message and lead to an aggressive reaction. Let’s do a check in.

Some dogs don’t like petting

Systematically stroke a non-tactile dog will then encourage him not to approach when called. It is therefore not by a caress that we can congratulate, encourage or reassure this kind of animal but rather with a reward. We can of course give him a treat, but that’s not the only solution. The verbal reward has a positive impact on the dog. There is also the game that can satisfy a dog while a caress will only annoy him.

This problem is also found with dogs that have been victims of mistreatment. This is a situation that many people experience who adopt a dog whose life history they do not know. These masters have a lot of love to give to their new companion, and spontaneously show themselves very generous in caresses. However, a dog that has been beaten can no longer grant its trust to a human because he fears him. This contact is generally badly experienced by the animal and it can generate a sometimes violent defense reaction.

Pet a dog: the right gestures

A caress must to please to the animal. It can be reassuring, comforting, or can be a sign of satisfaction on the part of the owner when the dog has obeyed for example. For it to be accepted and appreciated by the animal, it must still be done properly. To pet a dog, the gesture must not be:

  • Uncomfortable,
  • Brutal,
  • Intrusive.

So that the caress is appreciated by the dog and that it does not want to escape it, it is recommended to make sure that the animal consents to be petted. You always have to stand facing the dog and approach the open hand towards his nose while talking to him kindly, without establishing contact. A dog who does not wish to be petted adopts a avoidance attitude which varies from animal to animal, namely:

  • He turns his head away
  • He backs up,
  • He runs away,
  • It rolls up its lips and shows its fangs,
  • He growls, laying his ears back.

Useless to insist. Whether the dog adopts one or the other of these attitudes means that one takes a risk to stroke it. He can then show himself aggressive. It should be understood that this animal communicates a lot with its body. Every master should be able to understand this body language. Knowing how to decipher the messages that a dog transmits through his attitudes helps to avoid many accidents.

On the other hand, if the dog consents to be petted, his attitude is generally not deceiving. He walks towards the outstretched hand, sniffs it or even licks it. Reaching out to him without actually touching him is like asking the animal for permission to stroke it. This is part of the rule of the game because a stroke should only be given if it is desired by the dog. Respect an animal also goes through this type of process. And one does not pet a dog in spite of common sense because it can very quickly annoy him. Better be limited to the neck. On the other hand, it is not desirable to pat a dog on the head.

A caress must always be lived positively by the animal. It can be to greet him, reassure him, congratulate or reward him or simply to show him a friendly sign. As soon as he accepts this type of gesture, the caress proves motivating for him. This is how one manages, smoothly, to create a bond with his little companion.

We have to do very careful with the children because they are very spontaneous and always want to pet dogs that cross their path. This may be the cause of bites. Adults therefore have an important role to play with children and must teach them how to pet a dog.

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