People have been hugging and cuddling with dogs for as long as we can remember and nothing can ever change that. However, it won’t harm to know if our best friends take our warm gestures of love and affection in good sense.
Well, to understand why a dog would like or hate a hug you first have to reckon that we are talking about an animal, domesticated but an animal nevertheless.
Many dog behaviourists and experts around the world assert that in general, dogs don’t like hugs, cuddles or kisses.
However, it is all a personal or behavioural trait and a dog may behave in a way different from another.
Dogs may dislike or even hate being hugged for more than one reason
An unwilling dog may not fancy a hug
Do you remember yourself as a kid or other kids, making a face, pulling themselves to one side when being hugged without their will? We bet you do.
It is the same with dogs – a dog who is unwilling to hug at a particular moment for any reason will not like being hugged.
A moody dog may not like being hugged
Dogs, just like humans, are moody and at times, just like humans do, tend to be in a do-not=touch mood. A dog may not like being hugged if he is not in the mood or worse, having a mood swing (yes, they do and you should know that).
Hugging can send intimidating signals to a dog
In a dog’s world, body language and gestures speak a lot. You must have seen dogs fighting sometimes and how they tend to be more expressive with their posture, stance and facial expressions among other things, before they get into an actual physical confrontation.
Dogs tend to show dominance over another dogs in many ways and one of those ways is when they put their limbs or front legs on another dogs to pass a message of superiority or complete dominance.
When we hug or put our arms around our dogs, they can get confused about our actual intention and may express it in simple body gestures like standing stiff, closed mouths and not looking directly into your eyes.
While most of the dogs won’t mind being hugged, their body language can tell what they feel.
So, do dogs like or hate being hugged or cuddled in general?
Well, whether a dog likes hugs or not differs from case to case and over generations of domestication, dogs have adapted to human hugs as a show of love and affection. A majority of dogs like hugs as much as we do but some dogs don’t like them much but go with the flow.
Now, whether dogs like to cuddle or not also depends on factors like their temperament, character, upbringing or the mood at a particular moment. While some dogs love to cuddle some may simply comply without participating and in rare cases, snap back, especially at stranger.
So, the fact is that some dogs love being hugged, cuddled and kissed and others love belly rubs and body scratches, though they may let hugs and cuddles pass too.
However, look out for the following hints that can tell if a dog likes to hug or cuddle or even kiss.
Signs or hints that a dog doesn’t like hugs
- Stiff body posture
- Tense facial expression
- Closed mouth
- Minimal or no eye contact
- Face turned towards another direction
- Escape mode (longing to run away)
- Tail pulled down
Signs or hints that a dog likes hugs
- Relaxed body posture
- Happy facial expression
- Open mouth with tongue out
- Eye to eye contact
- Face turned towards you
- Leaning on you
- Wagging tail
Make strangers aware if your dog doesn’t like hugs much
Always warn strangers to avoid physical contact, especially hugging or kissing your dog if you notice any of the signs that your dog doesn’t like being hugged or kissed.
It helps avoid any situation where your dog might suddenly snap out of nervousness or fear, if not anger.
Can dogs be taught to like hugs and cuddles?
Like everything else, dogs can learn to like being hugged or cuddled or kissed. It becomes important to teach dogs to take hugs and embraces in a positive and friendly manner to be able to socialize with other humans too.
Most importantly, it is very important that dogs likes hugs in families with small children and active social lives.
Simple steps to teach your dog to like hugs & Cuddles
- Introduce your dog to hugs, slow and steady, like lightly putting your arms around him
- Keep talking sweet things, mostly gibberish, while you hug or cuddle him
- Give him a treat while you hug him, making him aware that it hugging earns goodies
- Rub his back while you hug
- When you hug your family and friends, include him too
Remember one thing, a pet dog is a family member and at the end of the day, we are meant to love him in a way that he likes and not us alone. So, even if your dog doesn’t like to hug, cuddle or kiss he is family and loves you in his own way.