Science says dogs hate being hugged

Sorry dog owners, your favorite furry companion probably doesn't like your hugs. Sure, humans enjoy hugs — more than a few studies have found them to be a developmental necessity — but dogs aren't humans, and, frankly, hugs freak them out. Why? When a dog doesn't like something, it runs away; it can't run away when you're hugging it, though, so your affection is perceived as something akin to shackles around the paws.

If you pay close attention, you might notice that your dog doesn't look happy when you're hugging it — maybe it was panting and looked content and you went in for a hug, and when you did the panting stopped, and its eyes got big, and its ears went back.

Depending on the dog and how familiar it is with you and the environment, it may even start whimpering. Worse case scenario? You're going to get bitten. Behavioral specialists who deal with dogs have long advised that owners refrain from hugging them — there have been many instances of people getting bitten on the face, but very few educational campaigns and studies into doggy stress hugs.

Over at Psychology Today, Stanley Coren detailed this issue and used pictures of dogs being hugged (found on the Internet) as examples. Of the 250 images he looked at, 81.6-percent of them showed signs of stress in the dog. A little over 10-percent of the pictures were indeterminate, and only 7.6-percent indicated the dog was okay with being hugged.

SOURCE: Psychology Today