Are dogs ticklish 1

Are Dogs Ticklish? New studies [2021]

Some, but not all, dogs are ticklish. In most cases it manifests itself as an involuntary twitching of the legs. However, there is no laughing or screaming.

The touch activates nerves under the skin that are connected to the spinal cord. These in turn send a signal to the corresponding muscles, causing a twitch.

Basically, tickling in mammals can manifest itself in 3 different forms:

  • Involuntary laughter
  • Involuntary screaming
  • Involuntary twitching

While you usually see a combination of all three forms in humans, tickling in dogs usually only manifests itself with an involuntary twitch.

Dogs can laugh, but it usually only manifests itself through forced exhalation. According to studies, they also show joy through barking, howling and growling. [1]

How strong the tickling is also depends on the individual mood and the corresponding location.

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Where are dogs ticklish?

Dogs are most likely to have the underside of their paws tickled. To be more precise, on the hair protruding from there.

Dogs with long hair in their ears - such as a Siberian Husky - are also often tickled by them. They then usually scratch behind their ears with their paws.

The same goes for bearded dogs. Here, stroking the side of the whiskers is enough to trigger an involuntary shake of the head.

People, on the other hand, are more often ticklish on the back, armpits and neck. This is not the case with dogs. Our dog “Alex”, for example, is only ticklish on the paws.

In addition, just like humans, dogs are not always ticklish. Because it depends on the mood. When there is anger or sadness, there is usually no twitching.

Why aren't some dogs ticklish?

Even with humans, this question has not yet been fully clarified. Some dogs are simply said to have less sensitive nerves on their skin. The research on this is still ambiguous.

The exact reason for the tickling is also still unclear, by the way. However, there are several theories:

  • A) Tickling could be a function of building a social relationship.
  • B) Tickling could be a relief after a harmless touch. [2]

Incidentally, this phenomenon can only be observed in some mammals. Reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish aren't ticklish.

How can you tickle your dog?

It is best for your dog to be completely relaxed - such as when sleeping, for example. Then just sneak up and stroke the hair below the paw.

In this video it is shown:

Do dogs like to be tickled?

Here, too, there are individual differences - just like us humans. My dog ​​“Alex” and my two previous Labradors weren't really a fan of it.

I know that because after the 2nd or 3rd time they hid their paws under their muzzle. Tickling is then no longer possible.

Other dogs, in turn, lie on their backs and enjoy the extra attention of their master.

Even with humans, opinions are very mixed. According to studies, only 32% like to be tickled, 32% have a neutral opinion, and 36% don't like it. [3]

However, you should not tickle the following signals:

  • Low growl
  • Tense posture
  • Gnash teeth
  • Rigid fixation of the other person
  • Stand up fur

In this case, your dog will feel threatened by the touch.

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