Do dogs like being stroked? 14 things you need to know

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Do dogs like being stroked? The short answer is yes! Dogs love being petted, but it has to be done right. Just as humans can get a feeling of satisfaction or contentment from the attention they receive while being touched, so too can our canine friends.

In fact, many people believe that dogs love being caressed even more than we do! 

The truth is that pets don’t have an opinion on how they are touched – it doesn’t matter if it’s with a hand or a brush. They just want to be petted for as long as possible! 

However, you can’t expect a dog to appreciate if you pet him anywhere on his body without considering his favorite spots and his mood at that moment.

Scroll down and get to know where and when dogs like being stroked the most.

Why Dogs Like Being Stroked?

do dogs like being stroked - why dogs like being caressed - Why Do Dogs Like To Be Petted

Dogs are social animals, and they cannot live without socializing with other dogs and humans. They like to interact, and stroking is one way for dogs through which they communicate with humans. This is one of the main reasons why dogs like being caressed so much.

You may often find your dog leaning into you to be stroked while looking at your face with the utmost innocence.  

If your dog softly groans while being stroked, it simply means your dog likes being stroked very much.   

Benefits of Petting a Dog

Stroking your dog is an excellent way to encourage desired behavior. Many dogs respond to a gentle stroke more than they do to verbal praise. Getting stroked by their owners is a sure sign of love and joy for dogs.

It would be best if you never stroke your dog when the dog is misbehaving, is being a picky eater, or shows discomfort; otherwise, the behavior would be reinforced. 

If your dog is scared, try to stabilize his mood, then stroke behind his ears softly to calm him down. Similarly, stroking a dog when he is barking, howling, showing anger outbursts, being anxious or fearful, or breaking any rule, will only advance the behavior.

How Do Dogs Like Being Stroked?

An excellent trick to approach a shy or timid dog is extending the back of your hand towards them, as dogs are very intuitive, and they know you cannot grab them using the back of your hand, so you appear warm and more inviting. Then, if the dog feels safe, he will come to you and would allow you to pat him.

Where Do Dogs Like Being Stroked The Most?

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1. Shoulders, Belly & Underneath The Tail

Dogs like being stroked on their sides, shoulders, belly and being brushed underneath the tail.

2. Behind The Ears

Stroking a dog’s ear releases endorphins, which are a feel-good hormone, and oxytocin is the hormone responsible for generating love and a strong connection. 

3. Chest & Neck

Generally, dogs like being stroked on the chest and base of their neck. The key is to let the dog decide if they want to be pet and avoid breaching the boundary of a dog.

Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like to Be Pet

You should also keep in mind that NOT all dogs like being stroked. Dogs will show clear signs if they are comfortable or not, and you have to pick those signs to form a strong connection with your dog.

If your dog walks away upon stroking, immediately stop. 

A shy dog requires time and space to initiate physical contact. When the dog is ready, he will come to you wiggling his tail and may lean on you or brush himself against you. 

This is the time when a dog is asking for attention and affection, so do respond.

Dos & Don’ts of Dog-Friendly Petting

Try to notice when your dog is most comfortable and for how long he enjoys being stroked. 

Look for the nonverbal cues; if a dog loosens its body and closes its eyes, carry on and keep stroking, your fur buddy likes it.

If your dog starts licking its lips, tightening its muscles, lifting paws, or trying to move away, they are signaling you to stop stroking

If the dog shakes his body or stretches afterward, it indicates that your dog did not like being stroked.


Why Dogs Like Being Stroked - Do Dogs Like to Be Petted

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked on The Head?

Most dogs do not appreciate head stroking. If you start stroking their heads, the dogs become anxious and may show defensive behavior. They do not like being stroked on their paws, heads, or muzzles.

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked Behind The Ears?

The best area to stroke a dog is behind the ears. Dogs really like it. It is said to release endorphins and oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone.

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked Between The Eyes?

Dogs do not prefer stroking on their head or anywhere on their face. Touching their face scares them, and they hesitate to trust you.

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked on The Paws?

No. Direct stroking on the head, paws, and tail may not be liked by the dog.

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked When Asleep?

It is better to let your dog initiate physical contact. Avoid touching him when he is asleep; most dogs dislike it.

Do Dogs Like Being Stroked Under Their Chin?

Some dogs like being stroked under the chin, especially where the collar hits.

Why Do Dogs Like Being Stroked so Much?

Stroking is the best way through which a dog feels his owner’s affection towards him. When you stroke your dog, he forms a connection with you and feels like you are reciprocating an emotional bond.

How to Pet an Unknown or Stray Dog? 

If you see a random dog strolling with the owner, it is always advisable to ask the owner if the dog likes being stroked before making a move. A friendly dog would happily take stroking, whereas a confined dog may not like it and try to hide behind the owner.


If dogs like being stroked is an open-ended question, as there are many factors involved. For example, some dogs like being stroked due to their friendly nature, while others may not appreciate being touched, perceive stroking as violating the boundary, and may show displacing or defensive behaviors upon stroking.

When all is said and done, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for reading my content. You encourage me to research deeply about every topic and come up with informative posts.

I wish you a strong connection with your pet. Feel free to ask further queries.

Have a good day!

A big hug.

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Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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