Why Does My Dog Shake When I Pet Him?

Dogs are generally sweet creatures and you might wonder why your dog shakes every time you pet it.

Sometimes, understanding their behavior can be extremely difficult that’s why it is essential to learn about them.

Because when you do not understand your dog, you may misinterpret their actions and overreact when you shouldn’t.

Why does my dog shake when I pet him

You might have been petting your dog, and suddenly you notice it shaking.

A good knowledge on your dog’s behavior will keep you from unnecessary worry in such situations.

Reasons Why Your Dog Shakes When You Pet Him

1. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It On Its Fur

Dogs like to play with you as their owner.

However, they have a preference for how they would like you to do that.

And sometimes, dogs do not like it when the fur on their body is ruffled.

Like humans, when someone ruffles your hair, you may not like it.

So, you tend to arrange your hair immediately after it is ruffled.

The same applies to dogs.

Regardless of how much they love their belly being rubbed, they love it a certain way.

They also like you to rub their fur in the direction it is growing.

So when you rub its fur in the opposite direction, it is expected to shake when you pet it.

It is just to arrange its fur, so you should not worry.

2. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It Because It’s Tired

Dogs will always create time to play with you.

They will always let you pet them too, regardless of how sick they are.

However, they can sometimes get tired after a while.

Even as humans, you can get tired when cuddling up with someone you care about.

Yes, you love them, but sometimes it gets a bit too much that you decide you want your space.

With dogs, they will always give you minor little signs when they are tired.

They will not growl because they do not want you to think your actions are terrible.

They will simply turn their head away from you, hold their shoulders down or place their tail between their legs.

This is not personal; it is just that your dog has had enough already.

So if you ignore the early signs, your dog will try to shake you off when petting it.

3. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It Because It Is Excited

Then confusion about the signals you get from dogs is precisely why you need an extensive understanding of their behavior.

When petting your dog, it shakes, which can be read as wanting you to leave it alone.

However, most times, the dog is just excited it is being played with.

This excitement makes it shake when you pet it to reduce the excess energy in its body.

This does not mean you should stop; it is not something you should worry about.

It is healthy for dogs to shake when you are petting them.

This helps them regulate their body’s energy level and keep their body warm.

4. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It Because It Wants Attention

Earlier, we discussed that dogs always want some form of your attention.

They do not mind sitting with you while you read or watch a movie.

Often, your dog makes you care for it more when it shakes while petting it.

It must have happened a couple of times when you pet your dog, and suddenly decide to leave.

The dog must have been shaken a bit, which caught your attention.

You probably thought something was wrong with your dog and wanted to check it out.

Dogs always notice even the smallest gestures and the reasons behind them because dogs are very intelligent creatures.

It would have noticed you did not leave because you thought it was sick.

Now it is just using that same situation to blackmail you into staying.

When you notice this, it will seem cute to you.

Nevertheless, this is not the sort of behavior you should be encouraging.

It would be best if you did not let your dog blackmail you.

It shows you have a weakness it can exploit when you are supposed to be the alpha dog.

If you keep letting it happen, your dog might challenge your authority.

My dog shakes when I pet him

5. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It Because It Might Be Cold

Dogs hate cold.

They do not like the excess cold, so you can almost say they prefer to be hot.

Your dog can shake while you are petting it due to cold palms.

It is simply trying to let you know your hands are too cold.

Some dogs will get up and leave.

It can sometimes not be your fault; it can just be down to the weather.

It does not mean anything you should worry about, just not a good weather condition to pet the dog.

6. Your Dog Shakes When You Pet It Because It Is In Pain

As much as your dog wants you to play with it, it also wants you to respect some boundaries.

You might not know that it has sustained an injury or is feeling pain somewhere.

However, when your hands go close to the injured area, it will try to shake your hands off.

It is hoping you will understand and just let that area be.

When you do not leave it alone, your dog could gnash its teeth if it is slightly aggressive.

It could even bark a little.

This is not a sign of wanting to hurt you; it just wants you to let that area of its body be.

“Yes, I appreciate you rubbing my body and all, but I have an injury. Can you leave it?”

7. It Might Be Stressed/Scared

Humans are not the only creatures that get stressed.

Sometimes dogs get stressed from playing other games like throw and catch and long walks in the park.

Dogs do not like being touched when they are stressed.

They mostly like to be left alone – so when it shakes while you are petting it, it wants you to stop.

However, sometimes it might be that it is scared.

When you have an anxious dog, this can be the issue.

Regardless of how much it wants to be touched, there is always that fear that could bother your dog.

When you pet it and something it does not like passes by, it is natural for your dog to get anxious and shake you off.

Therefore, you should observe your environment too.

Comfort is vital for your dog, especially a K-9, so ensure there is nothing around that can scare your dog or make it anxious.

8. Your Dog Is Already Old

If you are petting your old dog and have noticed that it’s shaking, perhaps it might be simply due to old age.

This shaking can be attributed to the weakening of your dog’s leg muscles.

If you think that your old dog is shaking excessively and unnecessarily, you might consider bringing your pet to the vet to verify if it’s still normal or not.

What To Do When Your Dog Shakes During Petting?

These situations are nothing serious.

When you experience any of these situations, just let the dog be.

It will not be an issue for someone with extensive knowledge of dog behavior.

Other Medical Condition Why Your Dog Might Be Shaking

As a pet owner, you will know if your pet is still shaking normally or not.

If it’s already out of the ordinary, you might want to look at it closely, especially if you think your dog already needs medical attention.

There are medical reasons why your dog shakes, not just when you pet it but regularly.

Perhaps your dog is shaking due to distemper, a contagious virus common to puppies and unvaccinated dogs that affects the nervous system and your dog’s respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.


Your dog shakes might not be related to any of those mentioned above.

It could be that the dog is sick and needs medical attention.

How you observe the whole situation and how your dog reacts to some things should tell you that.

Always keep your dog relaxed and not expose them to too much cold.