Your dog might actually hate your hugs
Are you the type of person who locks your dog in your room so they spend some quality time with you? Well I am that person. I also love to express my love by hugging them and kissing them. Well who wouldn’t love hugs right? That’s what I thought as well. Recent studies have found that your dog might not actually be much of a hugger.
“Dogs are technically cursorial animals, which is a term that indicates that they are designed for swift running”, Dr Coren wrote in an article for Psychology Today. So by hugging them we will be depriving that course of action as they will be unable to run away or move simply because you are invading their personal space. This might actually increase their stress levels and studies imply that if they become more anxious they may be aggressive and bite. So, I actually went back and checked my Instagram (most of the pics are of me smothering my dogs with hugs), surprisingly they don’t really look very pleased, not aggressive but I could clearly tell that they were tad uncomfortable.
Now this doesn’t mean that all dogs hate being hugged. Many dogs might actually be comfortable and love your hugs. However you shouldn’t ignore their indicators when they actually don’t like being hugged. If they are trying to avoid eye contact, turning their head away, licking lips or yawning/ howling be cautious these are not the signs of joy.
Canine Behaviourists recommends ‘calm stroking’, treats and loads of praises instead of hugs/cuddles. It’s hard not giving them constant hugs because as humans that how we show affection but if that makes your pup uncomfortable you might want to rethink cuddling your fur ball.
Dogs love affection and interacting with their humans, however there are times that we need to respect their personal space and boundaries. After all they will still be keen to listen to our boring stories, make us laugh and simply make our life amazing. Just don’t HUG them if they are showing signs that it makes them feel uncomfortable.
Post by Ran Rodrigo
Ran is the Blue Wheelers resident blogger. She is also the proud pet parent of two very naughty but lovely rescue dogs named Teddy and Mishka.