Think your dog lives for nose smooches and belly rubs? Not even close. Here’s what your dogs really, really enjoy (and what they hate).
Pats, rubs, and butt scritches (and skip the hugs)
Dogs are love-sponges when it comes to physical affection, but there is one point where they draw the line: hugging. Being wrapped in a warm embrace actually makes them feel anxious, according to one (slightly controversial) study in Psychology Today. “While we may think it’s sweet and comforting, pets often feel trapped and scared during hugs, particularly when humans pull pets into their faces,” explains Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, a pet behaviorist and training manager at Camp Bow Wow. That’s just one of 50 secrets pets want you to know.
Your dirtiest, stinkiest, sweatiest clothes
Your dog’s favorite smell in the whole world is… you. And the more of your body odor on something, the better—as evidenced by the number of times dogs have embarrassingly dragged out their owner’s dirty underwear. “Dogs have much stronger noses than ours, and for them, a shirt covered in your scent is one of the most comforting objects in the world,” says Meg Marrs, a dog care expert and senior editor at K9 of Mine. “Next time your dog is anxious about being left alone or is staying at a kennel, leave them with that sweaty shirt you wore to hot yoga.”
Toys of their very own
Just like you love your things, dogs really like to have things that belong exclusively to them, says April Olshavsky, AKC-accredited Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and Certified Trainer. This includes their food bowls, dog bed, and especially their toys. What about when your things suddenly become their things? “When a dog chews up your shoe, he may be trying to tell you he needs more toys or attention,” she says.