Most dogs like being scratched in areas where it is difficult or impossible to get to themselves.
Both Shiba Sephy and Siberian Shania like being scratched on the tummy. Often, they will roll over and look at me with an expectant grin. Then, when I go over and scratch their bellies, they will sometimes make a kind of purring noise.
I love scratching their bellies!
Where does your dog like being scratched?
Many dogs also enjoy being scratched on the head. Shania likes being scratched on the top of her muzzle and between her eyes. Sephy likes being scratched around his neck area at the back of his head.
Another secret scratch spot is on their back, right behind the shoulder blades of their front legs. If I get it just right, Shania will start thumping her back legs. It is awesome when she does that!
The inner part of his back leg is another Sephy favorite. He especially likes being scratched on the soft area where the back leg first connects to the body. He will often roll onto his back and orient his back leg so that I may better serve his scratch requests.
Other favorite dog scratch zones include the chest and the base of the tail. However, Sephy and Shania seem less interested in those areas.
Scratch, Pet, Rub, or Massage
In addition to favorite scratch zones, there is also the issue of technique.
We may scratch, pet, rub, or massage.
Petting usually refers to a gentle tap applied with an open hand. Often, a dog is petted at the top of his head. Both Sephy and Shania do not enjoy head petting, they will usually duck and avoid.
Some dogs may also see a hand reaching over their head as a threat, and they may get fearful and/or aggressive when approached in this manner by a stranger. When meeting new dogs, it is important to first ask permission from their owner before approaching the dog. Always stand a good distance away so that the dog does not feel hampered in or trapped.
Instead of tapping the dog on the top of his head, it is less threatening to reach from below his head and scratch his chest. It is especially important to teach children the right techniques for greeting a dog.
Usually, I give my dogs scratch sessions when we are at home. Scratching is a more rigorous action, and it can sometimes cause a dog to get more excited. As a result, I do not usually do scratching when we are outside for our walks, because there is already a fair amount of excitement in the great outdoors. I find that scratching is best practiced in calm and quiet areas.
When we are out on our walks, Shania will sometimes get very tense when she spots a squirrel or a cat. She is so excited that she is practically quivering with anticipation for the chase. To help her relax, I will sometimes give her a very slow massage. This helps to relax her muscles, and ultimately it also helps her to relax.
I only do this if she is still in control of herself and is able to hold herself back. If the prey stimulus is too strong, it is best to remove the dog from the environment and from the stimulus.
There is also the TTouch method which focuses on massage through a specific circular motion with the fingers or hands.
Based on trainer advice, I tried this method briefly on Sephy in his early puppy days, but it did not have a big effect in calming him. Perhaps it would have worked better on a dog like Shania, who does not escalate as quickly as a high-strung Shiba.
Dog Scratch Zones
Did I miss any favorite scratch zones? Where does your dog like being scratched? Which scratch technique does your dog enjoy most?
Feel free to share them with us below.
My chocolate and caramel labs loves to be scratched between his eyes. Every time I do it help almost like melts to the floor and falls sleep, he gets pretty much mesmerized. His breathing slow down, like it relaxes him. Does anyone know why they do this?
My boxer does the same thing, he gets all relaxed and sorta melts to sleep. If I stop petting between his eyes down to his nose before he is fully asleep he will stare me down until I start petting him again. He also likes me to hold his paw while he is napping.
My son’s dog likes to be pet everywhere except for the top of his head. What’s strange is that he almost gets mesmerized when I scratch the front of his legs. He watches me do it and zones out then licks my hand. It’s actually kind of creepy.
My yellow lab Buddy loves to be scratched under his chin. His back legs will start to thump when I get the right spot. However, he doesn’t want me to stop, and sometimes I’ve scratched him raw with my fingernails (or a comb)…but he loves it. Do they make anything for a dog to rub his chin on to relieve his itch?
My dogs name is Caroline and she likes being scratched in the chest
Quick question: my dog is a Jindo mix, and when I scratch a certain spot on his back (well, these days it’s all of his back), his back legs seem to go weak, he sticks his nose in the air, eyes closed, ears back, and licks the air compulsively. Sometimes, one of his back legs starts to tap/make scratching movements. A) is this normal? and B) is it hurting him? He doesn’t snap, and when I stop he just sort of looks sleepy and slightly worried.
Sounds like it could be “scratch reflex”
my dog got a scrach on his ere
My dog cuddles is the oldest out of my families three dogs and I am the only one who gives her scratches and runs because I know all the right places 🙂 She absolutely LOVES me rubbing her belly and if your hit the right spots her leg goes nuts I sometimes use my nails (gently of course) and scratch it just like I would scratch my own skin she loves it! She also likes in between her legs (where they join to her stomach) and I also tickle her back (not tickle like you would tickle your friend) its more like to help her relax you run your hands or nails (softly) over their back all around not only does cuddles like it but it feels nice for my hands too (because of her soft fur) My mum and grandpa use to tickle my back when I was little to help me go to sleep. My other two dogs (Timmy and Milly) both just like a simple belly rub (no belly scratches or anything) but Timmy really loves behind his ears it makes him go to sleep and Milly enjoys it sometimes to 🙂 Great blog to! xx
Cuddles sounds absolutely adorable! I love it when the rear-leg goes nuts. 😀
As for tickling, all my dogs are very ticklish when I touch the pads on their rear feet. Sometimes, I wipe their feet to dry them, and they get all twitchy. I wonder if most dogs have ticklish feet. Do your dogs have ticklish feet as well?
Thanks for sharing your dogs’ favorite scratch zones with us!
Molly May says
5 year old shih tzu loves the scratches on head in circular motions as well as in between the eyes. Do that for about 1 minute and she’ll start to slouch wherever she is. Too cute.
LOL – that is absolutely too cute!
My Shiba likes the in-between eye scratching as well although not as much as his tummy rubs. 😀
My 5-yo shiba/pom-x gets the belly rub and chest scratch. She’s also a sucker for the ear-rub, a gentle massage of the muscles at the base of her ears. If I combine that with a little rub of her face and gentle pull of the fur on the side of her head (where it’s longer because of the pom genes), she pretty much loses all sense of “vertical.” 🙂
LOL! That is awesome.
Very interesting with the gentle fur pulling – reminds me of how some people like playing with their mustache. I will have to try it out with my Shiba and see how he likes it.
Reptar used to love belly rubs but he’s slowly outgrown them. He’ll rollover as if he wants a belly rub and after a minute or so of it, he just wants to go back to playing. His favorite spot seems to be behind his ears and his neck area. He’ll fall asleep while I’m doing this. It’s a great way to calm him down at night!
What a beautiful image.
Dogs are too awesome. If only people were more like dogs. 😛
BIG HUG to Reptar. Btw. is he back to a regular eating schedule? Would also love to see more Reptar pictures.