A dog’s sweet spot is much more than where he loves to be petted.
Rascal, AKA The King, loves to be pet on the top of his head with long strokes moving across his ears with a little bit of pressure. He’ll put his head in your hand or anyones hand for that matter, when he wants to be pet. If I see that something is causing him duress I move in and stroke his sweet little head and the look I get melts my heart. We are so in tune with each other. He just has to give me a look and I know. He needs a little TLC right now. Happy to oblige.
Knowing your dogs sweet spot can help calm him in stressful situations whether he’s too excited or aroused, a little nervous about something or senses you are upset about something which can make him anxious.
Oscar, the Labradoodle was an emotional mess when I rescued him at 5 1/2 months old. His sweet spot is his belly. He does this very cute thing when he’s needing some mommy love. He’ll roll over completely exposing his belly while rubbing his front feet over his eyes. I loved this silly act so I embellished it by saying “Are your shy?” as he puts his feet over his eyes. So, sometimes your dog will do something that’s very endearing and you can use this by capturing the behavior, giving it a name, thereby helping them offering the behavior when they need it in times of stress.
Timber, also a rescue (all my animals are, even my two horses as weanlings) was petrified of people, dogs, sounds, you name it. Her world had the biggest monsters ever and at 8 lbs. she sure was vulnerable. I did a capture with her as well to find her sweet spot. She would look at me with her big eyes and run to my side. I would say “Oh, are you ok?” and she’d blink in appeasement. Together we knew that when she was uncomfortable she’d run to me asking to be held. This was all she needed. A minute or so of being held was enough. I could put her down again and she’d take a deep breath and shake it off. All was well in the world again. For Timber, her sweet spot started with the phrase “Are you OK?” If she needed to be held she’d blink in appeasement asking to be held.
All dogs sweets spots are different and if we pay close attention they will tell us. This can be life saving as stress can lead to health issues just like it does in humans.