4 min read


Why Do Dogs Make Noises When You Pet Them



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Make Noises When You Pet Them




As you sit on your couch relaxing at home, your dog comes up to you and nuzzles her head into your side. At first, you look at her and pat her head. Your dog then begins to whine a bit and pushes her body up against your leg, asking you for something a bit more. As you sit up, you begin to realize that your dog wants to be petted. As you rub her ears, she begins to make noises. As soon as you stop, the noises dissipate. As a pet owner, it is best to know why your dog does what she does so you may better love and care for her. 

The Root of the Behavior

Canines communicate with their outside world through many different avenues. A common avenue is when your dog makes noises. These noises can mean a wide range of things, depending on what is occurring in their life at that moment. A few common noises are when puppies are near their mother and their littermates or when your dog wants something and is sad that he is not receiving it. Yet, most times, the noises people refer to are happy moans and sighs. Specifically, when you pet your dog, you will realize that they will begin to make noises and adjust themselves for their own absolute pleasure. If you are petting your dog and they are enjoying it, you will notice that your dog’s moan or sigh will fade out to a low pitch or it will remain the same throughout their moan. If not, it will become high at the end of their moan. You can also tell by seeing if their eyes are open or closed. Closed eyes would mean they are in a moment of pure bliss and open eyes may mean that their moan is indicative of something less than pure joy. Most times, your dog is simply making a noise for enjoyment, but there are also times where your dog will make a noise to tell you that you may be bothering them or they need something other than attention. Your dog may pull back or their voice will become high pitched. You will usually be able to tell if your dog is bothered by your petting. Other times, your dog may come to you and they may be making noises at first when you are petting them, but their reasoning for coming to you may be for a different need. Yet, most times, your dog will not want to sit there for long if they truly want to go for a walk, be fed, or show you something that is hurting them. As an owner, it is important to spot what your dog needs and how they are acting. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

Dogs make noises, specifically to communicate with their outside world. More importantly, they make noises to communicate their needs and feelings to their owner. You should allow your dog to make these noises whenever they need to. Most times, your dog’s moans are of excitement and pleasure because you are rubbing them. Your dog, in a way, is providing you feedback on the love you are giving. It is also important to allow your dog to make noises that are high pitched and a bit more emotional. This can give you an indication of how they are feeling and what their needs are. It is important to make sure our dogs are happy and healthy at all times. We don’t want our dogs in pain when we are petting them and we don’t want to not know our dogs' other needs when we are petting them. You may also be able to determine how your dog feels after you pet them. Sometimes, your dog will moan and paw you, asking for more. This is an obvious indication that their moans are of pure enjoyment. Your canine wants to communicate with you and as an owner, it is best to perceive and react to their noises in the best way you can. From this, everyone can have a wonderful experience. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

This behavior is a normal trait of canines and most dogs will moan. Yet, depending on the personality of your dog, they may show their communication in a different way. Your dog may moan and growl if they are upset or hurt by something, but their way of showing pleasure could be different. Your dog may bug you for a belly rub consistently or rub their head against your side and paw you. This can be another indication of communication instead of the normal moans and sighs most dogs use for communicating joy. If your dog is not making noises when you pet them, do not worry. That can also be a completely normal behavior of canines. 


Dogs are beautiful animals that love to be loved, cared for, and cherished in all ways that they can be. As owners, it is our job to interpret our dog’s needs and emotions, so they are happy, healthy, and in the best condition they can be. We want our dog to feel satisfied with his life and understanding his dog talk is a good way to do that. This will make life easier for everyone involved. 

By a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel

Published: 02/28/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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