A cluster of nerves located under the skin makes up the dog sweet spot. When you scratch your pet's tummy and hit this spot, these nerves get activated and send a message to the hind leg, via the spinal cord, to start kicking in an attempt to dislodge the source of irritation.
What's really strange is that even though it's known as an irritant and the action happens in order to stop the irritation, the dog actually likes the scratching. So find a different spot that doesn't cause their leg to kick and they'll enjoy it much more.
“Dogs shake or kick their legs when you scratch them because of something known as the scratch reflex. It's a completely involuntary reaction, which explains why your dog may look as puzzled as you do when it starts to happen.
It's called the scratch reflex, and according to Animal Planet, it's what dogs do when something is irritating them. Under your dog's soft belly skin, there's a complex network of nerves. Those nerves communicate with the spinal cord to send a message to the leg that it needs to move.
Siracusa added that these glands in the feet also produce pheromones, meaning that dogs may be leaving these smelly substances in the soil and then widely dispersing them through their vigorous kicking. This could provide a powerful chemical signal to other dogs that they've been there, Siracusa said.
0:012:56If you've ever been scratching a dog and seen them do that kicky leg thing it's truly adorable whenMoreIf you've ever been scratching a dog and seen them do that kicky leg thing it's truly adorable when this happens we usually assume that we've hit some sort of magic scratching spot but it turns out
The kicking motion is involuntary caused by nerves, connected to your dog's spinal cord. The nerves relay a message to his leg muscles to kick and jerk in an attempt to get rid of an irritant. Subconsciously, your dog's body is thinking your ruvley belly rub is a flea or an itch he needs to scratch.
It's an involuntary response, much like the one that occurs when the doctor taps below your knee (the “knee-jerk” reflex). Our reflexive kicks are similar to our dogs' kicks. Nerves under the skin connected to the spinal cord relay a message to your dog's leg to kick without it having to pass through the brain.
Kicking back legs or front legs is considered normal sleeping habits for healthy dogs. There is no malice in their action. Dogs respond to calm bedtime routines the same way people do, so try to create a peaceful environment when it's time to lie down to prevent sleep-kicking in your dog.
Some dogs naturally bark or growl while kicking their hind legs. The combination of the kicking and growling are similar to a bull's behavior right before he charges. However, your dog will not charge, he or she is just leaving a note behind to let other dogs know they have been there or that it's their territory.
Animal Planet describes the strange action. “Dogs shake or kick their legs when you scratch them because of something known as the scratch reflex. It's a completely involuntary reaction, which explains why your dog may look as puzzled as you do when it starts to happen.
All dogs love attention, in any way they can get it—petted, scratched, or snuggled, it really doesn't matter. So what is it that makes your dog kick like a budding karate enthusiast when you find that one magic spot? It's actually a reflex—something your dog can't do anything about.
The real reason to why dogs do this is to mark their territory. Canines have scent glands in the back of their feet, and when they kick against the ground they are trying to leave behind their scent. Dogs who are dominant will do this with the goal to warn others dogs to stay away unless they want trouble.
Sometimes when dogs feel threatened, they try to assert their dominance by kicking their back legs. It's unlikely that your dog curled up next to you and kicked you because of this. In a situation with unfamiliar people, loud noises, or anything potentially upsetting, this might cause kicking.
Scent Marking Dogs have scent glands in their paws, so they use scratching to disperse their unique odor and mark something as their own. Their incessant fussing at that new memory foam mattress bed may be a sign that they really love it and don't want anyone else laying a paw on it!
Feeling Insecure or Threatened. Sometimes when dogs feel threatened, they try to assert their dominance by kicking their back legs. It's unlikely that your dog curled up next to you and kicked you because of this.