We know that dogs love to have their bellies rubbed, but there is research showing that they might not like to be hugged.
We’ve all done it - hugged our dogs. Maybe we needed a hug after a tough week or stressful situation. Or Maybe we thought they were sacred and grabbed them tight to hold on to them. And while that embrace may have been comforting for us, a recent article in Psychology Today claims that your dog probably didn't feel the same way.
According to author Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia because dogs are designed to run quickly either to prey or away from a threat, they don’t like the feeling of being hugged and confined by us. Behaviorists believe immobilizing your dog can increase their stress level and if the dog's anxiety becomes significantly intense, they may bite.
To make this claim, Coren studied 250 random photographs of people - adults and children - hugging dogs, taking note of the animal's appearance and expression in each picture.
The research determined that in 81.6 percent of the photographs researchers scored showed dogs who were giving off at least one sign of discomfort, stress, or anxiety such as lack of eye contact and lowered ears, generally suggesting they are feeling stressed out by the affection.
According to the research, just 7.6 percent of the photographs could rate as showing dogs that were comfortable with being hugged. The remaining 10.8 percent of the dogs either were showing neutral or ambiguous responses to this form of physical contact, the research claimed.
So, while you might enjoy hugging your dog, next time think about how they feel about it and let their body language determine whether or not it’s something you should continue.