Ok, so to some of you it might sound stupid.. but yeah, I actually looked this up! I've never owned dogs before. I've always owned cats. I know what cats like. Cats like to be scratched under their chin, or behind their ears. On top of their head is okay. The very end of their back, at the edge of their tail, that's one of their favorite spots. Most cats don't like belly rubs, but some do. Generally if you pet a cat on the belly it starts playing with your hand, biting and kicking it. That's what cats do, and I know all this.
But where is a dog's favorite place to be pet? What don't they like? These things, I don't know. So I did a search.
Here's the first thing I clicked on: http://dogvotional.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-to-pet-dog.html
This enlightened me a bit. Well, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it did tell me things I didn't know, such as how dogs feel about being pat on the head! I think these are very good pointers for people who don't know dogs too well, like myself. And a lot of it is very true. Now that I have my own dog, I also feel like I do not want people just running up to pet him. He's a jumper and a biter. People can't just come up to pet him because he could hurt them. It is smart to ask first and not feel bad if the owner says no! It's not because they don't like you, it's for your safety, or the dog's safety, or both.. because in most places if a dog bites a human the dog is put down.. which is so sad!
So if you don't know much about dogs but like petting them when you see them in public (or your kids often want to pet dogs they see, like mine do!) please read that blog post to keep yourselves, your children, and the dog safe!