Science Questions

What does scratching my dog's tummy do?

Tue, 15th Apr 2014

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Question

Adrian asked:

Why does my dogs leg always go berserk when I scratch his belly in the right place?

 

Regards

 

Adrian

 

 

Answer

Helen - Well, I think you might have gathered from me earlier in the programme, DogI'm actually a cat person. So, I really donít know.

Chris - Do cats do that because you know what heís getting at? When you rub a dogís tummy, his legs starts to go.

Helen - I think that you can get that point. There was a point in a cat where you can get that back leg thing where it looks a bit like a rabbit

Chris - What is that all about?

Helen - I donít know actually. I really donít know. Sorry, Chris.

Chris - Does anyone else knows what this is all about?

Ramsey - I would just assume you were hitting a nerve like bashing your knee and making your foot kick out.

Chris - One theory is that this sort of reaction, if you look at where your tickly bits are, they're also your most vulnerable bits. And so, some people have argued that itís a way of drawing your attention to where your vulnerable bits are so that when you're fighting, you can defend yourself because you learn these various manoeuvres to avoid getting those bits exposed. So, if you make it fun because when you're tickling someone and sort of going for the vulnerable bits, you learn to not make those bits accessible so that when you do need to do something that isnít play fighting, you know how to best defend those bits. It seems plausible, doesnít it?

Ramsey - Yes, it is. Especially lots of litters of cats and dogs play fight all the way through their little years and stuff and so, it certainly seems plausible.

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