Dogs often signal they want the base of their tails scratched in quite literal ways, turning their backs to you or wagging their rear from side to side. If your pet seeks out some tail-wagging affection, you've probably wondered why scratches here feel so good to him.
Most dogs have a difficult time reaching the base of their tail to scratch it themselves. It can be similar to the way you might need a friend to scratch hard-to-reach areas of your back when an itch develops. Some dogs may seek out these base of the tail scratches to soothe an itch they just have not been able to reach.
Dogs evolved as social creatures -- and for many, humans have taken the place of their canine pack. Touch was one of the prime ways that packs of dogs communicated, and dogs still seek to communicate in this way. For many dogs, belly rubs and rump scratches communicate affection and love. Indeed, rump scratches are one of the highest pleasure zones for dogs, along with the belly, the underside of the chin and the chest.
Too much of a good thing can be cause for concern. Your dog may have allergies, skin infections, fleas, mites or other pests that are causing him to seek out rump scratches. If your dog is seeking scratches several times a day or is scratching himself excessively in other areas, make an appointment with your vet to ensure there are no underlying health concerns.
Not all dogs enjoy rump scratches. For some, the pressure so close to their hips can be painful. If a dog moves away from you or growls at you when you try to touch the area, don't persist in trying to deliver a butt scratch. When scratching this area, avoid pulling on the tail, as that can cause Fido pain as well.
- PetSpeak: You're Closer Than You Think to a Great Relationship with Your Dog Or Cat!; Editors of Pets
- The Bark: The Short Tail of the Rump Scratch
- WebMD: Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images