When any animal lover sees a dog, their first thought is, “A cute, cuddly, warm, furry fuzz ball. Time for DOG HUGS!”
Most people think pooches enjoy hugs as much as people do. And think doggies recognize hugs as a sign of affection.
It is normal to assume puppies think, feel, act and react like their human companions. We easily imagine our pets view the world like we do.
The hard truth – some dogs don’t love hugs.
Our tail-waggers don’t think like people because they aren’t people. They’re canines.
Fido isn’t going to remember and feel remorse about a mess made hours ago like a human child would.
Yet, majority of owners assume this.
If your pooch ever causes damage to your house, they aren’t trying to “lash out” or “get back at you” for something you did. Pups don’t think like that.
Are We Saying Don’t Hug Your Dog?
Of course not!
But be aware many of our furry friends don’t like dog hugs.
A hug means something different to your fur ball than it does to a person.
To them, it could as a sign of dominance. This comes from the dominance one larger animal shows over another by standing on top of them.
Also, smiling can be a sign of aggression to canines. This is especially true if the human hugging them is unfamiliar.
By hugging a pup, you also cut off their most natural and instinctive method of escape – fleeing.
Though they don’t consciously think you mean harm, dogs have an instinct of flight over fight. For thousands of years, when confronting a larger predator the response is to escape. Yet, your pooch can’t flee when you embrace them.
Of course, not all dogs dislike hugs.
Many will tolerate without complaint. Especially because they know hugging humans are not a threat to them.
Some pets may even enjoy the attention. (Like the beach-going fella above!) But hugging a strange animal isn’t recommended.
Avoid bringing your face close to an unfamiliar hound’s face.
You may like it, but new animals could interpret this as another sign of dominance or aggression. At best, it will likely cause Fido discomfort.
Teaching Your Pup to Enjoy Dog Hugs
Our canine friends may never see hugs as an affectionate action like humans do. But, we can teach dogs to enjoy them.
Consider accompanying your dog hugs with treats, praise, scratches, and belly rubs!
In fact, this is a theory used by trainers all over the world. They call it counter conditioning.
To follow this training model, reward your puppy when you see he doesn’t like something. Do the same when your pup seems uncomfortable in certain situations.
In time, your pooch should begin to associate the act, once disliked, with enjoyment.
So, what’s the Point?
The point is not whether dogs like hugs. The bottom line is this: man’s best friend does not feel, think, act, or react like “man” does.
A good pet owner knows how to interpret their pup’s behavior and act accordingly. But, these domesticated animals do understand many facial expressions and body language.
And, they do love their humans a lot so they may learn hugging makes you happy and learn to love it too.