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Why You Shouldn’t Hug Your Dog

 by lucy on 11 May 2016 |
25 Comment(s)
We all love our dogs and, as we do with people, often show our affection by showering our precious pets with hugs. Few of us stop to observe our canine companions’ reactions to these displays of affection, but if we did, most would notice our dogs lip licking, yawning, pawing or displaying other nervous signs. The truth of the matter is, dogs don’t like to hug it out like people do, and your pet likely interprets a warm embrace as confusing, if not threatening, behavior.
The simple science behind why dogs don’t like hugs from their humans comes down to one thing: Dogs don’t hug each other. Dogs are pack animals by nature and when another dog places his paws on your dog’s neck or drapes his neck overtop your dog’s shoulder, this is considered a social threat. Your dog doesn’t recognize an embrace as affectionate behavior, then, but instead feels he is being pinned down. Dogs show their affection through other behaviors, such as licking, physical proximity and playing. So, while your canine companion may not return your warm embrace, he could be showing his adoration in a multitude of other ways.
Signs your dog is uncomfortable hugging it out include tensing up; putting his tail down or ears back; turning his head away; closing his eyes or opening them wide; raising a paw; or trying to move or duck away from the unwanted affection. Because hugs can be confusing for our canines, you dog might also display displacement behaviors, which include lip licking and yawning. If your pet shows any of these behaviors when being showered with affection, it is a clear sign he is uncomfortable and you should stop. Dogs may try to bite children who try to hug them, especially when the child is excited or screaming. And while some dogs may enjoy hugs from their trusted owners, an embrace from strangers can send shivers down their spines. The best way to know how your dog is feeling is to observe his behavior and reactions to an event.
Receiving hugs can be confusing for our canines. After all, why would their most trusted humans lock them in a threatening embrace? Instead, owners should shower their companions with affection in ways that translate well to both species. Like humans, dogs enjoy being near to those they love, so allow your pet to sit next to you on the couch or in your lap. Spend time engaged in activities you both enjoy, such as playing with a favorite toy, visiting the local park or gentle grooming. Shower your dog with touch, which will affirm your bond with him. If you receive a few slobbery kisses in return, you’ll know your dog feels the same way.



Tami - Comment
Tami11 May 2016Reply
both my dogs are huggers, my boxer wil lcome and shove his nose under my arm until I give him a big and my shar-pei will actually gently rise up on his back legs and hug me. I know for some dogs this is a threat but dogs now a days are less apack animal and more the child
monkey - Comment
monkey12 May 2016Reply
Bullshit! Dogs love hugs
Hilarie - Comment
Hilarie12 May 2016Reply
LOLOLOL!!! My thoughts too ;)
leena - Comment
leena12 May 2016Reply
They sure are huggers, my liltte dog puts his head over my shoulder and i wake up with his head on my chest
Dougie Fresh - Comment
Dougie Fresh12 May 2016Reply
Your dog is trying to kill you... RUN!!!
Jo - Comment
Jo12 May 2016Reply
SOME dogs love hugs - I have one that will NOT allow you to put your arms around her, she will bolt - but affectionate in loads of other ways. I find one arm around them & rub their chest is liked far more than a two armed hug. Each are different, each have their own likes & dislikes.
don Chorizo  - Comment
don Chorizo 12 May 2016Reply
My JRT, whom I adopted when she was three months of age is an ok hugger but prefers a massage to her neck and back.
My other dog (terrier mix) was adopted from a shelter and seldomly allows many people near him, let alone give a hug.
As other people have posted in their respective comment it all depends on the dog and its upbringing.
rem1 - Comment
rem112 May 2016Reply
I do have a Chocolate lab who does not like to be hugged she will accually growl, not bite never has ever, not show teeth either just a low growl. Another lab of mine will turn his head. But I do have tow other labs and a GSD who all three like it.
Kathy - Comment
Kathy12 May 2016Reply
I call bullshit on this on, too!!! My dogs and cat love to be hugged and cuddled.
Chase Sheridan - Comment
Chase Sheridan12 May 2016Reply
I fear the author of this article has only dealt with emotionally compromised dogs, because every dog I've ever met in over 50 years, has delighted in being hugged, and most will seek out hugs...
Susan - Comment
Susan12 May 2016Reply
No dogs don't like hugs! It is not natural to them, maybe yours have learned to like them??
Jo. - Comment
Jo.12 May 2016Reply
We have 2 dogs, Toy Poodle & Maltese. Our Maltese loves tummy rubs & having me romp with him but doesn't like to be picked up. He doesn't mind a little hug as long as he's standing on his own feet but isn't cuddly & prefers his own bed. Poodle loves to be hugged, cuddled, kissed & sleep snuggled up to me. Just like humans they have different personality's.
Jean Brewer - Comment
Jean Brewer12 May 2016Reply
Some dogs like it really well and some dogs don't. Just like with people, they have their own personalities. Out of my 6 dachshunds, 4 liked it, 2 didn't. I'm guilty, I would still hug those two every now and then quickly. (-;
Shelley - Comment
Shelley12 May 2016Reply
I have a mini dashund who loves hugs and loves to cuddle, and a shih-tsu who doesn't, he does cuddle on his terms-he has to come to me! I think it depends on the dog! LOL!!
Collette - Comment
Collette12 May 2016Reply
Two of mine lke hugs and snuggling any time they can get it. Tori puts her paws around our neck and gives kisses. Bonnie is too busy.... But at night he is a snuggler. Not every dog likes that, some do to a certain degree and some live for the close affection. Every dog is different.
Anna Zink - Comment
Anna Zink12 May 2016Reply
My dogs were rescues, and not only like hugs, they actively ask for them. My girl dog barks at me until I hug her. The boy climbs onto my lap, flips over until he is resting on my shoulder, and sighs contentedly. Any dog I have ever had sought hugs, and one of them actually hugged people, including the vets who had saved her life. Maybe it has something to do with having been pound puppies. Also, I have always let the pets initiate the hugs. Animals really appreciate having been rescued.
Karen Baxter - Comment
Karen Baxter12 May 2016Reply
I believe if a dog really trusts and knows you they can be quite comfortable with all physical interactions. Just like they can with each other if they know and trust the other dog. My dogs wrestle and pin each other down in play just as a litter of pups would but if a dog they didn't know tried that wouldn't go well. I thinking hugging is the same. Its a trust thing.
Dorothy Ebers - Comment
Dorothy Ebers27 May 2016Reply
This is complete and total stupidity and BS !!! Aand it is also upsetting to think some people really think this !!!!!! i see our dogs hug each other--they will sleep close in an embraced manner- we have some that hug us ! they love being hugged and held and loved ! So if you treat your animal so sterile-- hate to see how you want us to treat children next !! I own Siberian huskies,Australian Shepherds and have a Siberian/Timber wolf mix !! they ALL love to be hugged and demand it with their actions ! I will continue to hug and love on my dogs ALWAYS !!!!!
lara - Comment
lara05 Jun 2016Reply
I think the article is using the term 'hug' just to mean an embrace that threatens to pin the animal with your closeness -- though there are all kinds of ways to hug as everyone points out. Our dogs all seek snuggles and belly rubs and kisses now -- but when they were young and new to us they would sort of punch and kick out if they were lying on their backs and we tried to 'smother/hug' them! Now that they trust us they LOVE being smooshed and kissed on! It helps if you giggle and use a happy voice whenever you romp with a new pet -- they can tell by your voice/tone that it's all in fun.
james perri - Comment
james perri07 Jul 2016Reply
This is completely bullshit, my dog love(d) to be hugged. She would kiss my in return.
Beverly - Comment
Beverly08 Jul 2016Reply
Now this is just CRAP!!!!!! Obviously this writer/s is not an animal person. Please go and do something a little more intelligent..........
Jo. - Comment
Jo.08 Jul 2016Reply
I'm 70 yrs. old & had dogs all my life. Just like us they have different personality's. Some love to be hugged, kissed & cuddled, some don't. They aren't all alike any more than we are.
Jodi's Mom - Comment
Jodi's Mom09 Jul 2016Reply
My dog loves my hugs; I'm her alpha-mommy.
2Much - Comment
2Much09 Jul 2016Reply
I believe the author is talking about a close embrace with the dog not a rub on the back. My wife continues to try and hug her dog only to have her gulp and occasionally growl at her. I am waiting for the worst to happen eventually and then one of them are going down the road.
Gerry K - Comment
Gerry K11 Jul 2016Reply
Bad for me or not!
It will be a cold day in Hell before I stop hugging dogs!
Ed Bailey - Comment
Ed Bailey14 Jul 2016Reply
They would probably rather get sniffed or licked as they do with other dogs.
Pablo - Comment
Pablo14 Jul 2016Reply
What? Who wrote this article and how did he/she come up with this nonsense? Unbelievable? Garbage!
STUART - Comment
STUART15 Jul 2016Reply
we have bichon/shitz and he loves his hugs has soon has I get home he in my arms suggling this is complete bull shit and and who ever wrote this should hav a dog
Klaus's Dad - Comment
Klaus's Dad21 Jul 2016Reply
Complete, unadulterated BULLSHIT. Author must be a self-proclaimed dog-whisperer who has mistaken her cat for a dog, an over-zealous animal activist who hasn't pooped in over two years, or a democrat.
Anita - Comment
Anita22 Jul 2016Reply
I think they have dogs and cats mixed up. Some dogs don't like hugs, but more dogs like hugs than do cats. Our 3 cats, when hugged, climb out of the grip, and up on to the shoulder, where they perch like a parrot. Or, alternatively, they will climb down the back, sometimes with claws (ouch).
Dee - Comment
Dee23 Jul 2016Reply
We had a lab for 16 years, he was very smart and affectionate but didn't love to be hugged. Looking back, seems he may have been tolerating our hugs. Lol. Thanks for the article, explains why some dogs just simply dont care for hugs.
Bon Bon  - Comment
Bon Bon 28 Jul 2016Reply
Dogs are always going to love your hugs. And they are going to love your loving care for them but they will always love your heart and soul so who ever wrote this is is what to the author you are loco and you are just bull butt pee pee
Mor Mor  - Comment
Mor Mor 30 Jul 2016Reply
Have had 5 golden retrievers in 40 years. .all huggers.

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