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Dr Pete
Dr Pete, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Melbourne, Australia)
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My dog always wants us to rub his rear end. He will back his

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My dog always wants us to rub his rear end. He will back his rear end right up to us, then turn around and stare at us until we rub his rear end. He likes his hips and the rear of his upper back rubbed. Sometimes he is really obnoxious about it!

He is a 4 year old australian cattle dog (red heeler) and german shepherd mix. I thought that maybe he could be suffering from hip dysplasia, but he doesn't show any other signs or symptoms of that. He has no range of motion limitation and he takes very long strides, not short bunny hops as most dogs who suffer from hip dysplasia will exhibit. He has no problems going up or down stairs either.

He is a bit overweight, so I'm wondering if this could be a weight issue. He is currently 90 lbs. We do have him on Science Diet light (3.5 cups per day) and on an exercise program of walking and playing fetch.

I don't know, maybe he just really likes his rear end rubbed...haha! What do you think?

Hi

This is quite common in dogs. Unless you’re seeing any evidence of hind leg or lower back pain (lameness, difficulty rising, crying) we can put this down to him getting pleasure out of being scratched in that area. From what you’re saying his joints seem to be in good health. Yes….watch his weight!

The area you’re describing is called the lumbar area and this is the most common site for itchiness in dogs. The itchiness can just be a part of his characteristics but it’s important to make sure that he’s not suffering from any skin problems that are causing him to be itchy. We need to consider the following:

  1. Allergic dermatitis. Fleas feature high as a cause of skin allergies in dogs. Look at the skin over his tail base and look for the fleas themselves or tiny black grains that are flea droppings. Other allergies will often predominantly affect that area too. So these can be pollen allergies, food allergies, etc. Science Diet is excellent nutrition. However if he seems to be itchy generally you could try a low allergy diet. Your vet will probably stock this.
  2. Seborrhea. This is like dandruff and there can be a lot involved in causing this including nutrition and allergies. You would see flakiness of the skin. There are special shampoos available at vets if this is the problem and often medications and supplements are also required to control it.
  3. Infection. This would be fairly obvious. You would probably see thickened and perhaps weepy skin, possibly with a bad smell. Of course he would need to see a vet for this.

So if he has no signs of fleas, no dandruff or hair loss and the skin looks healthy it may just be a part of him. I’d suggest obtaining an oatmeal shampoo (pet outlets) and don’t encourage him by scratching him there.

I hope I’ve been of help.

Kindest regards, Peter

Dr Pete, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3009
Experience: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Dr Pete and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much for your reply! A lot of what you said makes great sense. He doesn't have any fleas, skin irritation or dandruff whatsoever. In fact, his skin and coat seems to be quite healthy.

I suppose that I will just chalk this up to him just liking his rear end rubbed a lot. :)

Dr Pete gave you a good medical explanation for possibilities but there are behavior reasons too.

The fact that your dog is backing up to you, staring, and demanding that you scratch him may be a sign that he thinks he can boss you around and 'make' you scratch him on his 'command'.

If that is the case changing how you work with him may be a big help in reducing these demands for attention.

The nothing in life is free program is a good way to change who your dog sees as the leader in your relationship without any violence. You can read about it here

http://www.paws.org/cas/resources/fact_sheets_dogs/nothingfree.php

While its nice that you can reach to scratch his back where he can't, it should be your choice to do that not his.

Hope this helps you!