Should You Hug Your Dog?

Should You Be Hugging Your Dog?

Posted May 27, 2016 in Tips

It can be hard to resist giving our adorable pup a hug whenever we see them. But experts are saying this may be making your dog miserable.

Dr. Stanley Coren, a canine expert and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, did a recent study analyzing images of dogs being hugged by adults and children. He found that there were indicators that the dog was stressed and anxious.

Some of the signs of stress that you could be missing when you hug your dog include the dog folding its ears down, half-moon eyes (when the white portion of the eyes at the corner or rim is viable), or turning its head away to avoid eye contact. These are all signs of anxiety. 81.6% of the photos showed the dogs expressing at least one of these signs of discomfort.

Corey Cohen, a companion animal behavior therapist in Pennsylvania, disagrees. He said when he hugs his dogs, he can feel their muscles relax, breathing slow, and even sometimes show a smile.

Some experts say that it just depends of the level of trust the dogs has with the human. If a stranger is hugging the dog, they are more likely to be stressed, just as humans would be anxious if a stranger hugged them.

So next time you want to give your dog a hug, give them a pat, stroke, or maybe a treat instead. They’ll be happier because of it!

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