/Hugs and kisses: Are they really good for your dog?

sad dogs

Cuddly furry dogs are cute, aren’t they? As such, this misleads the world to automatically assume that these furry cretins are one of the best huggable stress-relievers. And hey, dog owners even take pictures of these squeezable moments to immortalise the love. But is it truly a good thing for your pets?

The Research

Based on Dr Stanley Coren’s research from University of British Columbia, the stress level of dogs tend to increase each time they’re hugged.

Yes, hugged!

From a random selection of 250 pictures of people hugging dogs from online websites such as Google images and Flickr, his analysis showed that most hugs were unwanted, stating that these were pictures of “happy people hugging what appeared to be unhappy dogs”.

Camera Stress Points

When the camera is on a pup, our furry friends tend to avoid interactions with the hugger; turning away and ‘yawning’. You may even notice that their eyes closed and their ears pinned back against their head. Sniffing excessively can be a sign of discomfort as well.

stress dog
Those pinned ears aren’t a good sign, folks.

Their tails would droop, and God forbid it descends beneath their hind legs. Oh, and word to the wise: If you see dogs abruptly closing their mouths and proceeding to lean back, we suggest you make a run for it, as it’s usually a sign of aggression. In other words, you may lose a hand.

aggressive dog
Hey hey, careful of those jaws!

Unfamiliar hugs?

The level of stress differs from dog to dog, as well as the situation they’re placed in. Strangers are not advised to hug them, especially when aren’t familiar with the  It will be okay if the dog only resists, but you do not want the dog reacts aggressively by biting!

What causes these reactions?

As evolution would have it, dogs are naturally more adapted to running fast – All part of their fight or flight reflex. In instances of threat and danger, they defend themselves by either attacking the aggressor or fleeing for safety. Needless to say, these hugs can make dogs feel trapped (even if we see it as affectionate), propelling their urge to escape from their huggers.

The Solution

Fret not, your dog’s discomfort from being hugged and constantly on-camera doesn’t indicate any level of hatred or ire. Akin to humans, every dog has their own way to express affection, unhappiness and camera-shy tendencies.

happy dogs