Our dogs love a good cuddle. But the one thing that always gets our dogs in a good mood is an ear scratch. They seem to absolutely adore these moments and we see it as they go into a trance of contentment. We’ve all had those nice bonding moments with our pups. They usually play out like this: us sitting on the couch, our dog jumping up to join, and us reaching over and gently patting their heads before we move to the scratch behind the ears. It’s something that our pups immediately melt over and they can’t seem to get enough. I have a friend with a Jack Russell who adores having that spot behind her ears massaged. If she sits beside you on the couch you are obliged to scratch her behind the ears for a good hour – she will gently pat your arm with her paw if you dare to stop before she’s had her fill. It’s quite cute. But what is it about the ear rubs that gets all dogs into an instant state of bliss?
Besides the fact that they’re getting our undivided attention, there are certain nerve endings in your dog’s ears that are quite sensitive. Whenever these nerves are stimulated by touch, they send a signal through their body. This releases endorphins that are the “feel good” hormones. Naturally, these will send your dog into a state of calm. The nice thing is that rubbing your dog behind their ears doesn’t just help them relax, it can also help you too. Studies have shown that petting a dog can have significant health benefits for humans, such as reduced anxiety thanks to the release of endorphins as well.
Of course, the key is to give a successful ear rub is to start at the base of the ears and then work your way out. You can gently massage your dog’s inner ear folds, as well as gently squeezing their ears in a circular motion. It takes several tries to figure out the precise massage technique that works for your dog – every pooch is different!
So, next time your pup is insistent on ear scratches, think of it as a win-win for the two of you. How often to you give your dog an ear scratch? What are your techniques? Let us know!