Three Signs To Stop Petting Your Dog

fearful dogs Mar 13, 2023

We all love petting our dogs, and often they love to be petted. But especially if you have a sensitive dog, it's important to recognize when they need a break from petting. 

Earlier, we talked about signs that you shouldn't (or should) START petting your dog. In this blog, I'll talk about a few signs to look for that indicate that your dog might want you to STOP petting them.


"Stop Petting" Sign #1: Lip Licking

Dogs might lick their lips for lots of reasons, but lip licking can be a sign of stress. Check out the video for examples of my own dogs doing some nervous lip licking. This behavior can be very quick, so it might take practice for you to start noticing it in "real time."  Try videoing your dog while someone is petting them, and reviewing video later, as a starting point. 


"Stop Petting" Sign #2: Looking At Or Licking Your Hand

This sign is one I often see misinterpreted by our clients. If you're petting a dog and they turn and look at your hand, or start licking the hand you're petting them with, stop petting to be safe. In the video below you can see my dog Jasper doing a very pointed "turn and stare at the petting hand" behavior, when I'm annoying him by petting his rear end for too long. 


"Stop Petting" Sign #3: White Of Eyes Showing

Some dogs always have some white of their eyes showing, because of the structure of their face. But if your dog isn't one of these, white of the eyes showing is a sign you can use to detect stress.  This is a subtle sign and many dog parents need some practice to start seeing the change in their dog's eyes. In the video below you can see a couple example of the white of a dog's eyes showing when they're uncomfortable. 


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