Are Dogs Ticklish And What Is A Tickle Spot? – How To Tickle a Dog

Is the dog in pain? Building a bond and bond with your dog is about finding ways to play and have fun together. And for us, being tickled is often an instinctive part of that. Consider our approach to meeting human babies – as soon as we’re sure their parents won’t mind, we tickle their cheeks to try to giggle and make a connection. But what about puppies and dogs? Is the dog tickled? And if not, why don’t dogs tickle? Is tickling in dogs and does it make dogs giggle? This article answers all of these questions and explains how to tickle a dog.

Can dogs be tickled?


In 1897, psychologists G. Stanley Hall and Arthur Allin published in the American Journal of Psychology and coined not one but two wonderful new words to describe the feeling of being tickled. The first, knismesis, is the very mild tickling sensation that gives us goosebumps. For example, knismesis is the feeling when an insect lands on our skin and makes our skin tickle and twitch. Importantly, knismesis doesn’t make us laugh.The second type of tickling sensation is gargalesis (I told you these are beautiful!). Gargalesis, aka the heavy tickling sensation, is the feeling when the fingertips touch our ribs or the soles of our feet and send us down to hopeless laughs.

Can you tickle a dog?

Yes and no. Or maybe yes and maybe. Knismesis is common in mammals, including dogs. Scientists have come to the conclusion that it is a natural reflex response. In fact, it’s easy to imagine how that ticklish feeling would be an advantage. It is possible to spot insects that land on the skin, or parasites such as fleas, and brush or scratch them away. But as far as we know, dogs do not undergo gargalesis in response to a strong human tickling effort. Our laughter is generally in response to something going on in our heads – a joke, a happy thought. Gargalesis is the only time when physical contact makes us laugh. Even stranger is that we often don’t really enjoy the tickling sensation that makes us laugh. And we can’t tickle ourselves. This leads scientists to believe that it is also a natural reflex response. At Washington State University, Jaak Pankseep, Professor of Neuroscience, is building evidence that rats experience something, if not the same, as gargalesis. But to date, there is no evidence that tickling causes a response like gargalesis in dogs. However, some dog owners are adamant that their dogs laugh when tickled. Recent studies are providing a possible explanation for this.

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Dog laughs

When you are tickling your dog, they may make a gasp sound to convince you that they are smiling. Patricia Simonet studied the sounds dogs make, and one distinct sound she found was a rapid, rapid exhalation. She describes this as dog laughter because dogs only laugh when they’re playing and it’s different from the normal panting sound. These dogs also showed increased social behaviors towards other dogs – like bowing and lip licking. So you believe your dog laughs when tickled? You’re probably seeing their jokes – especially if they’re laughing at you, too.

So do dogs tickle?

We excluded gargalesis in dogs. But we still have knismesis, so let’s look at some more of that. All dogs can sense it and do they like it? Read more: No Retcon Link’s Left-Handedness, Nintendo | Top Q&AN Now here’s another fun thing about tickling (because let’s face it, everything about tickling is inherently a bit funny). We still do not fully understand the neural pathways that control knismesis. Include, for example, how it ends. Have you ever felt an insect crawling through your skin and still felt a tickle from it seconds after it disappeared? We don’t know why that time delay occurs. We also don’t know why some of us are more prone to tickling than others, but it can be safely assumed that the same is true for dogs. Others may convulse at the slightest touch. And still others will fall anywhere in between.

Where is the dog tickled?

A slight tickling sensation begins at the nerve endings below the surface of the skin. Those nerve endings are all over our bodies – and our dogs -. But we rarely see tickling all over. So how can we distinguish which areas are prone to tickling and which are not? My sister has that really tickles the places where we find ticklish are the idiosyncrasies that make us all different and unique. And the same is true of our dogs. Your dog may have pale ears, and your neighbor’s dog may have an itchy tail. Every dog ​​is different.Do dogs tickle?

Is there a dog tickle spot?

You may have identified a particular dog tick on your furry friend. You’ve noticed that your dog reacts in a very specific way if you scratch or tickle a certain part of their body. It varies from dog to dog, but there’s usually a spot on their back, sides, or belly that causes one of their legs to twitch rhythmically when you scratch. Their response makes it seem like it’s figuring out your dog’s ticks. So what’s going on? You’ve discovered your dog’s scratching reflex, that’s why!

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Dog barking: the dog’s scratching reflex

The scratching reflex is when nerve endings under the skin receive signals and send them straight to the leg muscles through the spine, completely absent in the brain. It’s a bit like being tickled, in that it’s an involuntary response. This is the same type of response as the knee-jerk reflex in humans – when a strong knock just below the knee bone causes us to straighten our leg. . Just as veterinarians use the knee-jerk reaction to test our reflexes, veterinarians can use the scratching reflex to check for signs of spinal damage in dogs. In a minute we’ll be looking at how you can use his signs to tell if he’s having a good time.

Is the dog’s paw tickled?

Does your dog’s paw twitch and pull out if you pick it up? Perhaps wiping their feet after a muddy walk turns into a game of speed and quick reflexes to get the job done. When this happens, it’s possible your dog is feeling a tickling sensation on their paws. They jerk their legs out involuntarily – like when someone tickles our feet. But not all dog paws are tickled. Just like our feet, some dogs are more ticklish than others. Read more: Why you must wear headbands forever If tickled toes make it difficult to clean your dog’s paws, a dedicated paw cleaner like this one from Dexas can help. useful to you. It has received good reviews from owners whose dogs have resisted the feeling of having their feet cleaned.mudSo we’ve seen that most of the reactions we get when we tickle a tick in dogs are involuntary reflex responses. Now you may be wondering if dogs like to be tickled and how to tickle your dog to keep them entertained.

Do dogs like to be tickled?

Tickling, as we’ve seen, is a fun old business. It makes us giggle, but many of us will say we don’t like the feeling. Especially as we get older. Charles Darwin believed that tickling had an important social component. When I play with girls, I like the feeling of being tickled. But if someone I’ve never met tickles me without warning, I’ll be startled and probably feel quite annoyed by it. And most likely your dog too. A playful tickle from someone they know as part of a game or during grooming, can produce a happy tail wag. But catching them without knowing it can startle us and make us more uncomfortable.

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How to tickle a dog

The actual mechanics of how to tickle your dog is hardly rocket science. But just like humans, not all dogs feel tickled equally. And a ticklish feeling that begins as a pleasure can turn into a rather sudden annoyance. Our dogs cannot verbally tell us when their patience has run out. So it’s up to us to look for behavioral signs that indicate they’ve been tickled. Watch for signs of arousal or lack of interest, such as flinching or shrinking during the tickle or shaking off afterward. And when your dog starts to lose interest, always call it a day and give them some space.

Is the dog tickled?

So what is the conclusion? Tickling is made up of two components, a light tick called knismesis that makes us shiver and a heavy tick called gargalesis that makes us laugh. Dogs feel mild tickling, but don’t respond to heavy tickling in the same way that we do. Their sensitivity to tickling and how they perceive it varies from dog to dog. Finding dog tickles is the fun and satisfying part when you feel like you know them better than anyone else in the world. You’ll soon learn what they like and how to tickle them to keep them entertained. Just be sure to observe their behavior closely during tickling games and respect signs that they are not interested or are losing interest. Do they tickle in a surprising place? Please let us know about your dog tickling experience in the comments section below. This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019


  • Bering, J. 2012. Rats laugh, but not like humans. Scientific Americans.
  • Harris, CR 2012. Tickling. Elsevier. Encyclopedia of Human Behavior.
  • PetMD. Can dogs laugh?
  • Smith, CS 2010. The little dog laughs. Function and form of dog play. International Association of Animal Behavior.

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