5 Best Places Where Dogs Like To Be Petted

5 Best Places Where Dogs Like To Be Petted

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jul 03 2023


Dogs are our companions that will want to spend every minute of their day near us. For most owners, dogs will beg for cuddles and will enjoy them at any given moment. Generally speaking, dogs like to be pet everywhere (compared with cats), but for some, a few special places will hit the best.

These furry friends adore physical attention and bonding through petting, but it's crucial to understand their preferences to make your interactions enjoyable and stress-free for both of you. Below you will find all the preferable areas dogs want you to pet them, but also some you should avoid.

Where do dogs like to be petted?

For most dogs, touching and petting will be a great experience, and they will not protest about the area you are petting them. This is especially true if the dog is well-socialized and enjoys being touched from a young age.

To be completely sure that you will pet in the proper area, this is a list of all accepted places to pet a dog.

1. Chest

Many dogs love being petted on their chest. This area is easily accessible when sitting or lying down, making them feel secure and comfortable. Gently stroking or scratching the chest can strengthen your bond and help your dog feel at ease.

dog getting petted on chest

2. Base of a neck

Dogs typically enjoy being petted at the base of their neck. This spot is particularly soothing for them, as it's near the collar area, which they often can't reach alone.

dog getting petted on base of the neck

3. Behind the ears

Petting a dog behind the ears can be very calming and pleasurable for them. The skin is thinner here, making it more sensitive to touch, and it's also a natural spot for a dog to be scratched by other dogs during social grooming.

Important: Some dogs don't like when you touch their ears since they are very sensitive. Always check with the owner if petting the dog behind the ears is okay.

dog getting petted behind the ears

4. Belly

Most dogs enjoy a good belly rub. This area is soft and sensitive, and exposing it to you shows trust and submission. However, remember that not all dogs like touching their belly, so always pay attention to their body language.

If you want to learn why do dogs love and enjoy belly rubs, make sure to check this article - Why Do Dogs Love Belly Rubs? Here’s What Experts Say

dog getting petted on belly

5. Along the back

Running your hand gently along a dog's back, from the base of the neck to the tail, can be comforting and enjoyable for them. Many dogs appreciate a good back scratch or massage, especially if they have any stiffness or muscle soreness.

dog getting petted along the back

We can agree that all dogs will love to be petted, but did you ever wonder why is that so? To understand why dogs love to be petted, make sure to check this article - Why Do Dogs Like to be Petted?

What places should you avoid petting?

Certain parts of a dog's body are a big no for petting. Although some dogs could enjoy being petted in these areas, most will not like to be touched there unless you have a strong connection with the dog.

Some of these areas include:

1.  Paws

Dogs can be very sensitive about their paws, and many do not enjoy touching them. Some dogs may even become defensive or anxious if their paws are handled. It's best to avoid petting this area unless your dog is comfortable to paw handling.

dog getting petted on paws

2. Tail

While some dogs may not mind having their tail touched, others can become fearful or agitated. The tail is essential to a dog's body language, and may feel vulnerable or threatened when manipulated.

3. Muzzle

The muzzle is another area where dogs can be sensitive. Touching a dog's muzzle might be interpreted as a threat or an attempt to control their access to resources, which could trigger a defensive response. Avoiding this area unless you're training your dog to accept muzzle handling.

4. Top of the head

Although some dogs are comfortable with petting on the top of their head, others may see this as a dominant gesture and become uneasy. Instead, petting under the chin or along the side of the face is less threatening and more enjoyable for most dogs.

dog getting petted on top of the head

Hugging is a common human behavior to show emotions, and while people like to be hugged, what about our dogs? If you want to find out if dogs like hugs, check this article - Do Dogs Like Hugs?


Understanding where dogs like to be petted and which areas to avoid is essential for building a trusting and enjoyable bond with your furry friend. Always pay attention to your dog's body language and reactions to ensure you're providing a positive and comforting experience.

Petting a dog will be a great moment for both you and the dog, and to keep it this way, you must only pet the areas that the dog will enjoy.

World Dog Finder team

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