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Why Does My Dog Roll Over To Show Me His Belly?

Written by: Amber King
| Published on July 25, 2017

Your dog does a lot of cute things to get your attention, and rolling onto their back to show you their tummy is a prime example of why you can never be mad at them for long. Whether that tummy is pudgy, skinny, furry, or hairless, having your dog roll over at your feet is an invitation you’re powerless to refuse. Once the rubbing starts, it’s obvious your dog enjoys it, but have you ever thought about why?

Dogs expose their bellies for a few different reasons, and their desperation for belly rubs is only one of them. Here are a few basic reasons why your dog rolls over for pets.

Image Source: Flickr/Melissa

They Trust You

Your dog may not know a lot about anatomy, but he does know a lot of his important parts are located in his belly. It’s instinctual for an animal to protect their vital organs when they’re being threatened,  but when they roll onto their backs, they’re doing the exact opposite. Your dog showing you his belly is a sure sign he feels safe when you’re around. He’s not worried that you’ll sink your jaws into his exposed abdomen, and he’s fairly confident you’ll protect him if something jumps out suddenly to attack him.

Image Source: Flickr/mbtrama

They’re Giving You Better Access

The biggest reason why your dog shows you his belly isn’t a secret at all. It seems that belly rubs simply feel good, and without words, your dog wants to show you exactly what he wants. Having their belly rubbed is a kind of comfort. It’s soothing and allows them to relax, so they roll onto their backs to give you better access to their favorite spot. If you think this is what your dog is doing, feel free to oblige and give them all the belly rubs they want.

Image Source: Flickr/Eileen

They’re Being Submissive

While most dogs enjoy having their bellies rubbed, rolling over to expose their mid-sections isn’t always what it seems. Another reason a dog might do this is because they’re showing you they’re submissive. This doesn’t exactly mean they feel threatened by you, but they’re not 100% comfortable with you. If they lick their lips or tuck their tail between their legs while they roll over, they’re being submissive. In this case, patting their belly isn’t the best course of action. Instead, sit down next to them and talk in a soothing voice without looming over them or making movements that could be confused as threatening.

The best way to understand your dog’s behavior is to get to know their personality. Spend time bonding with your pup, and you’ll get used to knowing how his mind works. If your dog likes belly rubs, giving his underside a few minutes of your attention is a great way to get on his good side and strengthen your relationship.

Featured Image Source: Flickr/ngader

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