Love The Right Way: Don’t Hug Your Dog!

Love the right way: don't hug your dog!

Living beings have different ways of expressing feelings.  We humans are in the habit of hugging those we love, but that doesn’t seem very pleasant for our pets. Although it’s affectionate, we recommend that you don’t hug your dog. In this article, we tell you why.

Dogs hate hugs

That’s what you read. Maybe you didn’t realize it, but every time you wrap your furry one in your arms, instead of showing all your love, you’re bothering the animal. If you like, check it out for yourself. Notice how the dog feels, what his eyes look like, and what his ears are.

According to a study by British Columbia University Psychology professor (and dog expert) Stanley Coren, pets, especially canines, don’t like hugs. No way.

This is not to say that the animal doesn’t love us or doesn’t like our contact, but that it doesn’t feel comfortable under your embrace. This happens, as we told you at the beginning of the article, because each species has a different way of expressing its feelings.

Dogs don’t understand hugging

hug person dog

Dogs are not able to understand that a hug is synonymous with affection and relate the act to the lack of freedom or difficulty in movement that may be linked to some imminent danger. As Coren explains in an article published in Pshycology Today, pets are stressed and unhappy when you hug them.

The reasoning is quite simple: when we wrap the animal in our arms, we are preventing them from running away if there is any kind of problem or threat.  It’s as if they feel trapped in our arms. To reach this conclusion, the professional and a group of colleagues analyzed about 250 photographs showing dogs being hugged by their owners.

The researchers indicated that 8 out of 10 animals were extremely uncomfortable with this situation. Specifically in 81% of the images the dogs showed at least one sign of anxiety, discomfort or stress, while 8% looked happy, and the other 10% had an ambiguous or neutral attitude.

Coren’s argument is valid and worth considering: “Dogs are cursorial animals (runners). This means that they are prepared and adapted to run in case of danger. Therefore, when they feel that they are imprisoned or that they cannot move freely, they start to get stressed.”

How do I know if my dog ​​doesn’t like hugs?

Studies can be very detailed and straightforward, but we need to verify the results with our own eyes or experience. Perhaps you’ve wondered why you’ve never noticed the discomfort your dear dog feels when you hug him.

This is because, generally, animals don’t usually show their feelings so clearly. An irrefutable sign would be showing teeth, trying to bite or bark. But it is very rare for the dog to behave in this way.

Dogs hate hugs

We should pay attention to “microgestures”, subtle cues that can help us detect the true feeling of our pet  when we hug it. Canine signs of stress or a sense of danger (both experienced when receiving a hug) are:

  • lower the ears
  • Close your eyes a little or completely
  • Turn your head away from the person you are hugging
  • Avoid eye contact
  • lick the muzzle
  • keep your tongue out
  • Move the body into escape position
  • let the tail between the paws
  • ragged breathing
  • Stretch the front paws to “separate” from the hug
  • Raise the muzzle (as if seeking fresh air)

So the next time you want to tell your pet how much you love him, instead of hugging him, pat his head or chin, say a kind word, go out to play in the park, or offer him a snack.

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