If your dog wants belly rubs all the time, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog wants belly rubs all the time
Below are four common causes and what would make each of them more likely.
It likes the feeling
Most dogs like the feeling of getting their belly rubbed. The most likely reason why it does it is that it likes it when you rub its belly so it wants you to do it more. This would be more likely if it gets very excited when you are rubbing its belly and when it is getting you to do it.
The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog begs to you to give it attention when you leave home and if it shows signs of being anxious, such as pacing or crying, when you are leaving.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause could be that it has learned that, if it gets you to rub its belly, you will do it. If you tend to give it what it wants, when it behaves in a way that you do not want, it will do it more in order to get more rewards.
The cause might be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and it is affectionate in other ways such as by sleeping touching you. It would also be more likely if it does not show signs of being anxious or fearful and it has more relaxed body language such as by having its tongue out or wagging its tail.
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 normally does it
If your dog tends to get you to rub its belly more at certain times, it would help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it does it more when you are petting it, the cause would probably be that it just prefers that you rub its belly.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it did not always get you to rub its belly, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior is rewarded.
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 or being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is doing it more due to excitement or affection. Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety, such as pacing or crying, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious such as having separation anxiety.
What to do about it
Below are some options when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid giving it rewards such as extra attention when it does not.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to do things to get you to give it attention. Ways to give it attention would be to play with it, pet it, train it and exercise it.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It could be the case that it has been doing it due to being anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as letting it pee, get fed and walked before leaving it for a long time.
Give it a distraction
Another option would be to give it something to be distracted by when you do not want to rub its belly. Things to give it could include toys or a bone. However, it would help to avoid giving it any rewards after it starts getting you to do it since it will learn that getting you to rub its belly it results in it getting rewards.
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