Why do dogs’ hind legs move when they are scratched in certain spots?

Dogs’ hind legs move when they are scratched in certain spots for the same reason a person get shivers when someone touches his back or shudders when fingernails are scraped down a chalkboard.

It’s a reflex. Some experts say it’s a method that dogs’ wild ancestors once used to scare away predatory animals looking for a dog-sized lunch.

Others say it exists to keep a dog from drowning—, when nerves get stimulated on the sides of its body, a dog begins to “paddle.”

Whatever the original reason, this reflex has provided hours of entertainment for some pet owners, though it isn’t much fun for the dog.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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