Why Do Dogs Do Tippy Taps? Explained

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Why do dogs do tippy taps? They do it on their own and training usually has nothing to with it. This article explains why they do it and when.

Dog doing tippy taps is probably one of the cutest things that dog owners are privileged to experience.

In humans, any behavior similar to tippy taps in dogs is a sign of happiness. But… Does it mean the same thing in dogs?

In a way yes, because dogs will do tippy taps mostly when they are excited, happy, or even relaxed.

When you notice this sort of movement in your dog you should not be worried if it happens only from time to time.

Now that you know that tippy taps in dogs are something that your dog enjoys doing, let’s learn more about tippy taps in dogs in general.

What Does Tippy Tap Mean?

Do you know what a tippy tap means?

If not (even if you did), did you know that tippy taps aren’t only a dog-specific activity but rather a frequent occurrence across the animal kingdom?

The tippy taps are the paws movement of the animal, commonly seen in kittens.

This sort of behavior is something that associates kittens with the motion that they link with nursing time.

The motion of this manner is something that comes with the nursing time when kittens were feeling comfortable feeding from their mother.

Another reason why cats may do tippy taps is linked to the smell glands on the pads of their paws.

Since glands are located on the bottom, on the pads, kneading could be an effective technique for them not only to calm but also to claim an area.

Does it work identically for dogs? Well, for dogs this works a bit differently.

Let’s elaborate on why dogs do tippy taps.

Why Do Dogs Do Tippy Taps?

When it comes to tippy taps in dogs, you should understand that little research is done on this topic.

This should not come as a big surprise since tippy taps aren’t something that is considered to be disturbing in dogs or any sort of underlying health issue.

Still, little research done so far did manage to provide some sort of information and a better understanding of why dogs do tippy taps.

All in all, dogs do tippy taps when they are most excited, happy, or relaxed.

Some of the other common reasons why dogs might be doing tippy taps are relaxing, or even self-soothing.

Do not forget that dogs are experts when it comes to body language.

Since they cannot communicate with humans through language, they have mastered body language.

This is why dogs will have a certain sort of movement for different emotions.

Let’s have a quick run through the most common movements in dogs that stand for certain emotions:

  • Excessive scratching will usually stand for stress, as well as nose licking
  • Abnormal panting is usually an indicator of fear, anxiety, or some sort of stress
  • Pacing is a common indicator of stress or some sort of anxiety
  • Erect ears with a forwarding stance usually mean that your dog is suspicious
  • Continous barking commonly means that your dog is scared of something
  • Strong barking with active movement or standing forward means that the dog is angry
  • When a dog tilts its head to the side it usually means curiosity
  • Dog rolling over on back stands for happiness and safety
  • If a dog wags his tail while down on its front legs it means that he is ready to play
  • When a dog licks someone it means a friendly vibe with the person

Knowing your dog’s normal body language will help you notice faster when he is in sort of trouble, or when an underlying medical problem occurs.

That being said, you should understand that tippy taps may also be a learned behavior.

Dogs are great when it comes to picking up when they do something good.

Thanks to training basics dogs react more than well to body language. This is why training them with treats is successful.

Dogs are massive foodies and they love treats, which is why treats should always be included in the training process.

No dog should ever experience any sort of harsh handling, but only positive reinforcement methods.

Since dogs are great at picking up human emotions, they will notice positive reactions for people when they do tippy taps.

They may notice that you are relaxed when they do it. This is something that may be confirmed if they get treats when they do tippy taps.

Offering them treats is something that is considered to be part of positive reinforcement making it more likely for dogs to repeat certain actions.

This is why tippy taps can be a learned behavior. Tippy taps can also be a sign of frustration in dogs.

Anticipation is something that can also be overwhelming in dogs and while anticipating something, they may become frustrated so they may use tippy taps to get rid of anticipation.

In a way, tippy taps may be seen as a displacement activity.

In some dogs, tippy taps may be a call for playtime.

Some dogs naturally prance when they walk, which may be how they interact with other dogs. Tippy taps can therefore be interpreted as requests for games and enjoyable playtime.

As mentioned earlier, dogs may tippy tap when excited, but only due to happiness.

This sort of movement may be seen as a way for a dog to balance between a command or training.

If you tell your dog to sit and he knows that the following command means getting a treat, he may be too excited.

As a result, the dog may try to cool down his excitement by performing tippy taps.

This movement may also appear when they are super excited to see some people but know that they are not allowed to jump on them. It can be seen when a dog wants to do zoomies.

Why Do Dogs Do Tippy Taps – Conclusion

The truth is that dogs do unusual things.

Some may have more sense than others while others are just more adorable than others.

This is why tippy taps are one of the most popular movements in dogs. Seeing them doing this isn’t only cute, but it is also an indicator that – in most cases, a dog is happy. And everyone loves to see a happy dog.