Sorry, Dog Lovers, But Dogs Don’t Like Hugs

You may think you’re doing your dog a favor by hugging him but the truth is that dogs don’t like hugs!

Not only do dogs dislike like hugs, they hate them! According to study led by Stanley Coren, dogs only put up with it because YOU like hugs so much.

The truth is that your dog gets stressed out every time you hug him.

In Psychology Today, Coren wrote that it seems very likely that when we hug a dog, we’re actually raising their levels of anxiety and stress.

Dogs Don’t Like HugsPhoto: marcelua/Instagram

But why? Basically, when you hug your dog, you make him feel like he’s trapped and unable to run away from danger.

Coren notes that in times of stress or threat, “the first line of defense that a dog uses is not his teeth, but rather his ability to run away. Behaviorists believe that depriving a dog of that course of action by immobilizing him with a hug can increase his stress level.”

Read: Dog Communication: Understanding The Canine Language

Take a look at photos of dogs being hugged and see them for yourself. Do the dogs look like they’re enjoying this display of affection?

Coren adds that there are also subtle indicators that a dog is stressed and anxious. When your dog is feeling stressed and uneasy, he may:

  • Lower his ears,
  • Turn his head away from your face,
  • Make whale eyes or show the white edges of his eyes,
  • Lick his nose and lips,
  • Do the hugger’s face.

So no, dogs don’t like hugs. And no, your dog is not returning your love by licking your face. He is simply asking to be let go.

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Dogs Don’t Like HugsPhoto: itsmochajones/Instagram

Coren looked through 250 random photo samples of dogs being hugged to see if he could find any signs of distress. He found that in 81.6% of the photos, the dog being hugged was showing at least one sign of stress and anxiety. This shows that majority of dogs don’t really like hugs.

Hugging dogs may relieve your stress but will you still do it knowing that dogs don’t like hugs?

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