Your dog despises your hugs, so please don't give them to him
So, if a kind stranger tries to embrace your dog, watch for symptoms of discomfort and interfere
There's no doubting that dogs are adored by their owners. We make tiny sweaters for them, feed them gourmet snacks, kiss their wet noses, and even put them in our bubble baths (I so wish that was not a personal reference). While embracing your dog makes you feel wonderful by releasing the hormone oxytocin, your dog has a very different reaction.
Your dog despises your hugs, so please don't give them to him.
Oh no. Through my computer, I can feel the internet's daggers. It's not that your dog dislikes being stroked. It's your method of assaulting your pet that needs to change.
The rationale is evolutionary, according to Dr. Stanley Coren, a canine behavior expert at the University of British Columbia. Dogs, according to Dr. Coren, are cursorial animals that have evolved expressly to sprint like gazelles. Horses, wolves, kangaroos, ostriches, and even some spider species are among the cursorial animals.
When a cursorial animal is stressed, its first line of defense is to flee rather than attack. As a result, that evolutionary mechanism is hindered when you hug your dog in a restrictive embrace. As a result, your dog's cortisol levels rise, the stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands.
Unfortunately, many dog attacks occur when the dog is backed into a corner with no way out.
You're thinking: "My puppy loves my hugs," maybe. But please do me a favor... Go embrace your dog and then have a buddy take a picture of you two together to capture that lovely moment of affection. This is what Dr. Coren investigated in a non-peer reviewed study on how dogs react to hugs.
While you're cuddling your dog, look for the following symptoms of misery (Note: I was able to locate these signs in practically every creative commons image search for "hugging dog").
If you don't have bacon in your pocket, dogs will lick their lips as a stress warning. Yawning and lifting one paw are two other stress cues. Researchers at Tufts University discovered that when a dog licked their lips or yawned, more salivary cortisol was secreted.
The turn of the head
Remember when your obnoxious uncle or aunt would move in for a full-on smooch when you were a kid? To avoid the drool, you probably turned your head to the side. Your dog, on the other hand, is politely doing the same.
To ease into a greeting, most dogs move their heads away from other dogs as well. A direct look is aggressive and intense to canines. Your dog's head turn could be a signal to you to slow down, hussy. At the very least, give me some foreplay before you suffocate me.
Ears pinned down
To gauge a dog's level of attention, most dog trainers look at their ears. A dog's ears pushed forward indicates that it is paying attention.
Because dogs lower their ears when they are unhappy, afraid, or nervous, this one is more difficult to assess. The longer the dog's ears are pulled back, the more nervous and afraid it is. Keep an eye on your dog's ears the next time you leave. You'll undoubtedly notice that his ears are drooping.
According to Coren's research, while being hugged, 81.6 percent of dogs had at least one distress indication, with many displaying multiple signs.
Of course, I'm referring to dogs who were coerced into participating in a photo shoot they didn't want to be a part of. I'm guessing the models in the above images aren't the dog's owners. Would you like to be hugged by an unknown stranger while bright lights flash in your face? Dogs use nonverbal signs to express their discontent, just like we do. A dog may warm up to its owner's cuddles yet become frigid when embraced by a stranger.
To be clear, I am not advising that you cease showing your dog affection. You might want to loosen your death hold a little. Dogs enjoy being touched, but they also enjoy being touched in a way that permits them to flee if necessary.
So, if a kind stranger tries to embrace your dog, watch for symptoms of discomfort and interfere. You may need to explain that your dog, like many humans, is not a hugger.