On the side of my company car, it says “…because love and a tummy rub aren’t enough”
I believe this – since I work every day with dogs and their owners to help manage pain, mobility, skin problems, weight control, and the impacts of aging. It takes ore than a tummy rub and affection to manage these issues.
When a dog invites me in for a tummy rub, however, I consider it a compliment. And you should, too.
Dogs will often expose their bellies to us in a sign of trust and this is particularly the case with our own dogs. Most dogs enjoy a tummy rub because it’s an area of their bodies that they can’t reach to the same extent as we can.
Of course, dogs can expose their belly in a sign of submissiveness as well. This is usually accompanied with other signs of stress such as lip-licking, a tucked tail, and general tension throughout the body. It’s pretty easy to see the difference – although some people do get it wrong (usually those who don’t have a lot of experience with dogs).
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
Love this! I consider it a privilege when Lily encourages me to rub her belly 🙂 When I got her she’d cower and when she was showing her belly it was just a final, ‘I give up, surrender, don’t hurt me’ signal. It has changed so much since! Now all her little face is smiling blissfully – it’s more ‘hey, servant, there’s a belly to rub here!’. It means so much when the dog is exposing her belly because she trusts you, not because she’s scared. What a wonderful post, thank you 🙂 x
Glad you enjoyed this post. In my practice, it takes a wee bit of time to build trust. But then, I regularly have dogs rolling over for tummy rubs. Quite an honor!
you know it’s funny, we have a Shetland Sheepdog (who isn’t much into tummy rubs, I think it is because they have more fur than most dogs), but our cat is the one who LOVES tummy rubs (which is NOT the norm for cats!) Go figure! DakotasDen