You definitely know it - the pet lies on its back and stares at you. This is a clear sign that he wants to scratch his belly. Often, while scratching the whole calf, the calf is satisfied, wags its tail, sways from side to side or starts kicking with its hind legs. In these situations, you may have wondered: Are dogs ticklish?
Most dogs respond positively to being stroked and scratched - do they experience the same sensations as humans do when tickled? Do they like it or are they uncomfortable? And in what places are dogs most ticklish? Let's find out.
ARE DOGS TICKLY?
The answer is yes! A study by Stanley Coren PhD, DSc, FRSC in an article for Psychology Today magazine discusses that animals can actually be ticklish and they can even laugh while doing it, just like humans. But it's a different kind of laugh, we all probably know that we can't get a classic laugh out of a dog. It is rather a breathy sound, without barking, in which the dog's mouth is slightly open and therefore resembles a smile.
Dr. Marty Becker, MVDr. in Vet Street stated that while investigating dog tickling, he tickled his dog on the sides, chest and abdomen. A healthy dog usually reacts to these touches with an uncontrollable movement of its hind legs, which dog owners often call "starting a motorbike". This reflex, in combination with the already mentioned dog's laugh, is a reaction to tickling.
Dogs thoroughly enjoy this attention, especially if they feel generally safe and not injured or exhausted. But beware: If you tickle a dog that has a full bladder, an accident can happen. After all, that happens to people when they're tickled, too, right?
WHERE IS THE DOG MOST TICKLED?
Basically, it can be anywhere. According to the Caroline Springs Veterinary Clinic in Victoria, Australia, dog feet are surprisingly even more sensitive and ticklish than human feet. This explains the fact that many dogs are not able to stand having their nails trimmed in peace. They often don't mind the tweezers themselves, but it just tickles.
To find out exactly where your furball is ticklish, gently stroke it from head to tail. Then stroke the belly and behind the ears – dogs love it! Have you noticed that touching only a specific spot elicits a reaction? Has the dog started wagging his tail or kicking his leg? This may mean that he is more sensitive there and it tickles him.
It is important to remember that just as humans, not all dogs enjoy being tickled. If your pet turns away from you, pulls its ears back or its "smile" disappears, stop touching it and let it know it is safe.
So how is it then? Can dogs be ticklish? Can they laugh? Yes! Before you start tickling your dog, make sure he is in the right mood . If he is unwell or tired from a long hike, let him rest. You wouldn't want anyone to touch you in such situations either. But if the furry one makes eye contact, rolls over and invites you to play, put all the work aside and get up for the fun!