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Once Labradoodles are sufficiently secure to lie on their backs - and in today's pet-loving families, it usually doesn't take very long - they find all kinds of good reasons to do it.
In hot weather, for example, dogs often lie on their backs as a form of climate control. They curl up to keep warm and stretch out to cool off.
Labradoodles have less hair and more nerve endings on their bellies than on their backs, so exposing their bellies to the air probably feels very good.
Getting the sun is another reason dogs lie on their backs. Apart from their noses, the belly is the only place that isn't covered with thick fur.
Labradoodles don't think about sunburn, and the sensation of direct sunlight is pleasant. It's almost like heaven to a dog.
Many Labradoodles lie on their backs simply because they know it gets them noticed.
When they have reason to believe that a belly rub is on the way, or they hope to invite one, they'll roll over, splay their legs apart, and put their bellies in the most "petable" position.
When your dog rolls over on his back in front of you, he's usually asking for your love and attention. If he gets a belly rub by doing it, you can bet he's going to be smart enough to do it again soon.
Now that you understand your Labradoodle's reason behind laying on his back, take the hint! A Labradoodle who's lying on his back should look happy and relaxed.
If his sides are heaving and his tongue's hanging out, he's probably too hot for comfort and is trying to catch a breeze. It's not the best form of air-conditioning, however.
Most Labradoodles prefer to lie belly-down on a cool surface when they're hot.
One way to help them get more comfortable is to hose down a shady area in the yard where they can lie down and cool off.
Indoors, encourage your dog to make himself at home in the kitchen, bathroom, or another area that has tile or wood floors, which are much cooler than carpet.
Don't forget sunscreen! Dogs who spend a lot of time lounging on their backs in the sun sometimes get sunburned.
Veterinarians recommend applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. It's fine to use human sunscreens as long as they don't contain zinc oxide or PABA, which can be harmful should Labradoodles lick them off.
If your Labradoodle is already sunburned, you can apply an over-the-counter anesthetic spray, such as Solarcaine or Lanacane. Anesthetic ointments are helpful, too.
It's worth taking care of the irritation because, otherwise, Labradoodles will scratch the area, which may get infected.
But overall, when your dog is on his back and is obviously looking for a rub, then give him what he wants. Belly rubs are one of the best opportunities people get to bond with pets.
Labradoodles don't initiate many of their interactions with their owners. Here's one situation where your Labradoodle actually gets to ask for what he wants and receive it from you.
Rubbing your Labradoodle's belly does more than make him feel great. It's also an effective way to remind him of your parental authority.
Because lying on their backs is such a submissive position, every time you give your Labradoodle a belly rub, you reinforce your position as the head of the house in the gentlest, most effective way possible.
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