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