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Do dogs not like hugs?

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Do dogs not like hugs?

January 21st is National Hug Day. But before you celebrate this show of love by throwing your arms around your dog, let’s consider a question: Do dogs like to be hugged?

Experts who study dog behavior believe that, in general, dogs don't like to be hugged. However, every dog has a unique personality. Some dogs may be less likely to be hugged than others, while some may actually enjoy hugging.

Let’s be honest, the closest thing our furry family members do to a hug is “stand.” As primates, we are wired to express affection through hugging. Even chimpanzees do it! But dogs show affection in other ways because their legs are not designed to wrap around another dog or person. Hugging is indeed a foreign concept to our canine companions. When you wrap your arms around your puppy, they may be thinking, why do my humans do this? Just like we have a problem with dogs sniffing each other's butts when they meet. Even though humans and canines have been closely related throughout evolutionary history, there are still some primitive instincts and forms of communication that we don't share, and cuddling is one of them.


The closest thing our furry family members do to a hug is "standing," where one dog puts its legs on another dog's back or shoulders. This is not an aggressive behavior but one that shows competitiveness or dominance. It's very common for dogs to do this during a fight.

So, how do you know how your dog feels when you give them a loving hug? The best way is to observe their body language while hugging them. It's important to note that just as dogs have their own unique personalities, they also have their own ways of expressing emotions.

If you have a dog that doesn't like close contact, he may not like being held or squeezed. In this case, it's best not to try cuddling because just like us, small things can make our pets anxious. However, it can be worrying if they start exhibiting unwanted or obsessive behaviors - but don't be too concerned if all they do is run away from your embrace. Since you know your dog's personality best, you can probably take a guess at what types of interactions your dog will tolerate and which ones will upset them.


Sit next to your dog normally. You can try and observe several times to find out whether your dog likes hugs or not. You can start by sitting quietly next to them and then slowly and carefully put an arm around their back or shoulders. Reward your dog when they show a positive response, such as staying calm or leaning toward you. Continue to put your arms around them further or, using both arms, give them a hug.

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