If your dog looks up, when you pet it, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what to do about it. 

Possible reasons why your dog looks up, when you pet it, are that you are petting it too hard, it wants to lick you, it wants you to stop or that it wants to see your hand. 

Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop. 

Reasons why your dog looks up when you pet it

Below are a number of possible reasons and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

Petting it too hard

The cause could be that you have been petting it too hard and it has been pushing your dogs head back. This would be more likely if your dog also tries to get you to stop petting it, if it does not show any signs of excitement and if it leans away from you. 

It wants to lick you

The reason why it does it might also be that it is trying to lick you. This would be more likely if it does tend to lick you a lot and it does lick you when you pet it. The reason why it might be trying to lick you could be that it is trying to show affection back to you. 

It wants you to stop

The cause could be that it does not like being pet and it wants you to stop petting it. This would be more likely if it backs away when you are petting it and if it does not show signs of excitement when you are petting it. 

It wants to see your hand

Another possible cause is that it is trying to see your hand and what you are doing. This would be more likely if it does not try to lick you and it does not seem to be uncomfortable with you petting it.

It thinks you want it to push its head back

The reason why it does it might be that it thinks you want it to push its head back. When you are petting it, the momentum from your hand will be making it feel like you are trying to get it to put its head back. This would be more likely if it only pushes its head back when you pet its head with a stroking motion.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it. 

What is different when it does it

If your dog did not always do it, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that you started petting it in a different way or that it stopped wanting you to pet it.

What else happened when it first started doing it

If it does not always look up, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it when laying down, it might be the case that it wants you to rub its belly.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it does it. If it shows positive body language signs such as having its tongue out, wagging its tail and being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is doing it more due to affection or excitement.

Whereas, if it shows signs of being fearful, such as pacing, backing away or crying, it would be more likely that it is doing it because it wants you to stop.

What to do about it

Below are some things you can do about it.

Don’t pet it too hard

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your have been petting it too hard. Instead, it would help to pet it softly or to pet it in a different way.

Allow it to continue

It is not uncommon for dogs to put their heads back when being pet. If your dog has not been showing signs of discomfort when being pet, it would likely be ok to let it continue. Alternatively, you could try petting it in a different way.

Positive reinforcement training

Another option would be to give it positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding them and avoid rewarding the behaviors you do not want to see. 

To use it to get your dog to stop putting its head back, you could immediately stop petting it and giving it attention as soon as it starts to put its head back. Then, when it has calmed down, you could start petting it again until it puts its head back. Repeating this process should teach it that putting its head back results in it not getting attention. 

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