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I’ll be the first to admit that I hug my dog – not frequently (I’m not much of a hugger in general) – but enough to be troubled by the news that hugging your dog actually stresses him out. According to a recent report, hugging your dog may cause your his stress level to increase, and even though you might feel better, your dog certainly doesn’t.
The idea of hugging your dog is widespread, with books such as 'Smooch Your Pooch' gracing many a bookshelf. The book talks about how kids should hug and kiss their dog anytime they please. The book was so popular, while being so incorrect, that the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) released a statement explaining that they strongly advise parents to avoid purchasing the book, as the information it contained could cause children to be bitten by dogs.
I'd guess that dogs aren't so different from humans in this respect. A hug CAN be an oppressive, restrictive, manipulative gesture that makes you want to freak out. It can also be a very comforting gesture. A good owner senses the dog reaction and behaves in step.
I have one dog who curls up next to me in bed and nuzzles to get a hug. But she'll wiggle out of a hug given when she's not in the mood.
Kids should be discouraged from hugging dogs, at least not until they are mature enough to read body language and respond appropriately. Hugging a dog that doesn't want to be hugged can be a good way to get bitten in the face.
Last edited by sandgrubber; 05-05-2016 at 11:36 AM.