Dogs like belly rubs because they feel good. A dog’s brain has a specific neuron that reacts to the stimulation of hair follicles. Rubbing or stroking a dog’s belly creates this reaction, making a belly rub especially satisfying.
A dog showing his belly is a submissive behavior. When a dog offers his belly for a rub, it shows vulnerability and trust. Some scientific research suggests that dogs offer their bellies as a plea for more petting.
Although most dogs enjoy this form of petting, a belly rub should not be forced. A dog should be loose and relaxed during a belly rub. A hunched body or tucked tail indicate anxiety.