What a fun, or Can dogs laugh? And are they ticklish?
I'm sure you know it - your pet lies down on his back next to you and stares at you. That's a clear signal that he wants you to scratch his belly. Often, when being scratched, he would be so happy, that he would wag his tail, sway from side to side or start kicking his back leg. In these situations, you may have wondered: Are dogs ticklish?
Most dogs react positively to being stroked and scratched - do they experience the same feelings as humans do when being tickled? Do they like it or are they uncomfortable? And on which part of their body are dogs ticklish the most? Let's find out.
Are dogs ticklish?
The answer is yes! A study conducted by Stanley Coren PhD, DSc, FRSC in an article for Psychology Today magazine discusses how animals can actually be ticklish and can even laugh while being tickled, just like humans. But it's a different kind of laughter; we all probably know that you can't get the classic laugh out of a dog. It's more of a breathy sound, without barking, where the dog's mouth is slightly open and therefore resembles a smile.
Dr. Marty Becker, MVDr. at Vet Street stated that he tickled his dog's sides, chest and belly while researching the dog's tickling. A healthy dog usually responds to these touches with an uncontrollable movement of the hind leg, often dubbed "starting the motorcycle" by dog masters. This reflex, combined with the aforementioned dog laugh, is a reaction to tickling.
Dogs enjoy this attention, especially if they feel generally safe and are not injured or exhausted. But beware: If you tickle a dog that has a full bladder, an accident can happen. After all, that's what happens also to people when they're being tickled, right?
On which part of the body is the dog ticklish the most?
Basically, it can be everywhere. According to the Caroline Springs Veterinary Clinic in Victoria, Australia, dog feet are surprisingly even more sensitive and ticklish than human ones. This explains the fact that many dogs are unable to tolerate having their claws clipped in peace. Often they don't mind the clippers themselves, but it simply tickles them.
To find out on which part of his body is your furry friend ticklish, stroke him gently from head to tail. Then stroke his belly and behind his ears - dogs love that! Did you notice that touching one particular spot triggered a reaction? Did the dog start wagging his tail or kicking his leg? This may mean that's where he's more sensitive and that's where it tickles him.
It is important to remember that, like humans, not all dogs enjoy being tickled. If your dog turns away from you, pulls his ears back or his "smile" disappears, stop touching him and let him know he is safe.
So what is it like then? Can dogs be ticklish? Can they laugh? Yes, they can! Before you start to tickle your dog, make sure he's in the right mood. If he's not feeling well or is tired from a long hike, let him rest. You don't want to be touched in these situations either. But if your furry buddy makes eye contact, rolls around and invites you to play, leave all the work aside and get on with the fun!