It is inevitable to resist hugging our pets due to their fluffy appearance (especially the little ones). They are so irresistible that we just have to give them many hugs! Unfortunately, according to a new study, dogs hate hugs. Want to find out why?
The study was conducted by Psychology Today and aimed to show the emotions that dogs had when they were hugged. How was it performed? They simply took pictures of around 250 dogs when they were hugged by their owners. These photos showed the animals’ body language which clearly showed their feelings.
The importance of dogs’ body language
Dogs cannot talk like humans so they use other ways of communicating, either with humans or other dogs. A dog uses body language as a form of communication, where it uses looks and gestures to express its feelings. We can also notice if the animal is stressed or has anxiety through its body language. What are the ways in which a dog shows discomfort through body language?
The ears are tilted back
When a dog’s ears are tilted back, it is a sign of discomfort, nervousness and fear. It does not like anything and this is the way it shows it.
If the dog’s ears point backwards with the mouth open and the tongue out, there is no doubt that your dog is stressed. You should release him and leave him alone if he does this.
If your dog shakes when it is hugged, this is because it feels scared and uncomfortable. Your dog wants you to stop what you are doing because it does not understand what is going on.
To roll up into a ball
If you call your dog and it rolls into a ball in a corner of the house and looks at you from the side, it needs to be by itself. A hug is definitely not a good idea.
The dog screws up
If your dog screws up, it wants you to stop, regardless of whether you have it in your arms or not. Let it be.
Now that you know the meaning of body language, let’s now look at why this study showed that dogs hate hugs. The photos of course showed all the gestures that the animals made when the owners hugged them.
The study showed that dogs hate hugs, as 81.6% of the dogs show any of the above signs of anxiety, fear and nervousness when they were hugged.
Only 7.6% showed no discomfort when they were hugged (maybe the breed, the time with the owner or the special bond formed between them can affect this).
About 10% of the dogs were neutral when they were hugged.
The difference in percentage was quite large, which led the researchers to establish that dogs hate hugs. What reasons does the author of this study give us to explain why dogs hate hugs?
Stanley Coren showed that dogs are fugitives. This means that their bodies, brains, instincts and impulses are designed to run and be in motion. A hug makes a dog immobilized, which makes it feel trapped and unable to do what it really wants: to move and run.
So if you love your dog, do not hug it. Ironically right?