Why Your Dog’s Leg Shakes When You Give Him a Good Scratch

Dog Legs
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Does your dog have a funny habit of shaking his legs whenever you give him a good scratch? Here are the most common reasons for this behavior.

It’s the Scratch Reflex

The scratch reflex is an involuntary body response to protect the dogs from sources of irritation including fleas and ticks. Of course, you giving your dog a good belly scratch or belly rub isn’t really an irritation, but it can trigger the same nerves that causes the scratch reflex. If your dog is enjoying the scratch then you don’t really have to be concerned about stopping, even if your dog’s legs start to shake temporarily.

Your Dog is Telling You to Back Off

While unlikely, it’s possible that your dog isn’t enjoying the scratch. The leg kicking and shaking could be a sign to back off. It all comes down to the body language. If the dog’s ears are pointing backwards, their mouth is shut, and the muscles feel tense then it would probably be a good idea to stop the scratching.

The reason your dog might be telling you to back off isn’t necessarily because he hates you or is scared of you. The area of the body where you are scratching might just be sensitive. The dog might also have an injury around the area you weren’t aware of. Ultimately, body language is key to understanding more about your dog’s leg shaking behavior. Use it as a compass to determine whether he is enjoying or hating the scratch.