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  #1  
Old 03-07-2003, 10:11 AM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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Petting dogs...what is it about the leg jerking?

You've all seen it...you're scratching or petting a dog near the forelegs, and their hind legs starts twitching uncontrollably.

I'm assuming there's some nerve connection...is this comparable to a human's funny bone? Is there any evolutionary purpose to this?

I'm sure it doesn't hurt the dog. My husband was petting our dog, and she promptly buried her head in the couch cushion, closed her eyes, and let her hind leg jerk away.

I just find this a very funny phenomenon, and I'd be happy for any insight into it.
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2003, 10:13 AM
Incubus Incubus is offline
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Sometimes I see cats do this too. Or they start doing 'nipping' gestures with their mouth.

I think it probably is caused by the dog associated an itch being relieved with leg motion "If I move my leg like this, the itch goes away."

who knows, maybe the dog isn't smart enough to know its someone else doing the scracthing and not them.
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  #3  
Old 03-07-2003, 11:24 AM
BottledBlondJeanie BottledBlondJeanie is offline
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I only have a bit of info to add. My dog has 2 distinctive 'spots' that make her back legs go... one is on her upper chest...near the breastbone. The other is essentially her belly button...God I hope it's not cruel...she seems to enjoy it...and I do too. I always humm "start me up" when I do it to her...
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  #4  
Old 03-07-2003, 11:25 AM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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It's the happy button, and you've hit it.
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2003, 11:47 AM
Velma Velma is offline
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I can't find the spot on my current dog, so not all of them do it. She does love to have her tummy scratched, though. My last dog would start up practically before you even touched him. He also did this thing where if I ran my nails down his spine, the skin on his back would all bunch up by his shoulders - it looked really weird. I would guess it's just a reflex.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2003, 12:08 PM
Bearflag70 Bearflag70 is offline
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My brother made up a term for that action. Our family now calls it ferumba (fer-UM-ba).

Examples:

Look at that dog ferumba.
When I scratch here, the dog will ferumba.
That dog is ferumba-ing.
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2003, 12:18 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Isn't that just the canine analog of being tickled? I suppose if dogs could laugh, they would.

Velma is correct -- like humans, not all dogs are ticklish.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2003, 01:28 AM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bordelond
Isn't that just the canine analog of being tickled? I suppose if dogs could laugh, they would.
Mine do, when I tickle them.

Seriously.

I've got two dogs. When I roll them on their backs, and tickle their bellies, they grin, and them make an irregular panting sound, that sounds like quick exhaled bursts. Both of them respond the same way. If I'm tickling one, the other will join in and start nudging away too!
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2003, 06:14 AM
GuyMontag GuyMontag is offline
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Changing species--I've seen quite a few cats that seem to start involuntarily grooming themselves when you scratch a particular spot. Strangest thing.
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2003, 06:21 AM
Another Primate Another Primate is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bordelond
Isn't that just the canine analog of being tickled? I suppose if dogs could laugh, they would.
When I'm tickled, my arm or leg moves to stop the tickling. But the dog's leg just floats out there. So I don't think that's it.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2003, 10:12 AM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Ever have a REALLY good back scratch? One that makes you tremble? I know I have twitched (my arm, usually) when my SO gives me a good back scratch, especially near the shoulders. I think this is something like what dogs feel - it just feels so good, and motion is sort of involuntary during it.
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2003, 10:40 AM
sugaree sugaree is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Incubus
Sometimes I see cats do this too. Or they start doing 'nipping' gestures with their mouth.
Quote:
Originally posted by GuyMontag
Changing species--I've seen quite a few cats that seem to start involuntarily grooming themselves when you scratch a particular spot. Strangest thing.
Dogs have kick spots; cats have lick spots. I've never seen a kitty kick. I'm going to start looking for this.
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  #13  
Old 03-08-2003, 12:30 PM
Rhum Runner Rhum Runner is offline
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I have seen the same thing in horses. Usually up near the withers there is a spot that a little scrath will result in the horse twitching and/or stretching out his neck and curling his lips. They seem to enjoy it. Got to watch out for a horse's leg kicking around though.
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2003, 09:04 PM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mnemosyne
Ever have a REALLY good back scratch? One that makes you tremble? I know I have twitched (my arm, usually) when my SO gives me a good back scratch, especially near the shoulders. I think this is something like what dogs feel - it just feels so good, and motion is sort of involuntary during it.
I wonder if that has something to do with it. A dog will scratch that portion under their foreleg with their hind leg. Maybe someone else scratching there triggers the hind leg to twitch.
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  #15  
Old 03-08-2003, 11:28 PM
civilize civilize is offline
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Petting dogs...what is it about the leg jerking?

Find the nipple line it works every time. Dogs and bitches
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  #16  
Old 03-09-2003, 07:17 AM
Texican Texican is offline
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"Dogs have kick spots; cats have lick spots. I've never seen a kitty kick. I'm going to start looking for this."

Cats have a kick spot too. One of my friends could get my cats' hind legs to going, but I could never find the spot myself.
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