MENU

Good Question: Why do dogs twitch their legs when you rub their belly?

BMO_6477_01.new.01_frame_254.png
Why do dogs twitch their legs when you rub their belly?

(KUTV) It's a busy weekend for the cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Utah. The annual super adoption is underway.

All the animals are packed up and making the trek to the PetSmart in Salt Lake City with one goal: to find a home.

The Humane Society hopes that a Saturday pricing special, $50 adoptions on all dogs, puppies and kittens and $10 adoptions on all cats more than seven months old, will entice animal lovers to adopt an animal so that none need to return to the shelter post-event.

Many pups would likely tell you that a “good home” is one where they will get plenty of scratches. But not all dogs just take the rubs and grin; some flail wildly.

It prompted 2News viewer Julie to write to Get Gephardt asking, "why do dogs kick their legs when you rub their bellies?"

According to Deann Shepherd with the Humane Society, it's an involuntary reflex.

"Like when you tickle somebody and they just react, it can be a little annoying after a while whereas we think, ‘oh they really enjoy it,’ and keep doing it," she said.

Similarly, not all animals that show you their belly are looking for scratch, she says.

‘Sometimes dogs, if they don't know you well and are a little bit nervous, they will roll over and expose their bellies. It does not necessarily mean that they want you to come and rub their belly."

Though, clearly, some enjoy the scratches.

And now we know why dogs flail their legs while getting scratched just right.

Thanks, Julie, for the good question.