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Dogs don't like hugs?

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  • Dogs don't like hugs?

    According to this article dogs don't like hugs. I don't understand what the credentials mean (Stanley Coren, PhD., DSc., FRSC) or how they relate to animal psychology. I read that he has written some psychology books referencing other books which are dedicated to educating people how to teach children how to behave around dogs.

    I have seen many dogs who don't like the affection that humans are giving them, but I have seen many that do. I had a bias feel reading this article almost as if this is the beginning of PETA or HSUS trying to make movements into their dog plans just like they have been trying with reptiles. Checking to make sure the mind control chemicals haven't worn off my tinfoil hat...

    What do you all think?

  • #2
    Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

    After reading the article I think it would be safer to say that dogs don't like hugs from strangers.

    OTOH my GSD's regularly climb on my lap of their own volition, lean against my chest, and wash my face while getting hugs, luvvies, and doggy scritches.


    • #3
      Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

      Hey, that's an interesting article! IMO it's a complicated subject though, from the standpoint of the dog, as some are submissive by nature and some are dominant. You'd expect the more dominant dogs to resent the
      'intrusion' of being hugged, especially by what they might consider 'inferior pack members'. In my experience, dominant dogs like to think that interactions are "their idea" and under their control...and one can see how
      easily hugs might violate their personal space. Some are also apt to misread (ie. resent!) the accidental eye-contact when in close contact, so it helps to be aware of that. But that said, I once had a very 'dominant'
      Italian greyhound who loved nothing better than hugs, as she was essentially a "heat-seeking missile". Guess you could say she "used people"...and "spooning" was even better! (LOL)

      But thinking about all the dogs I've known, loved & hugged, I think that it mostly comes down to how much interaction you actually have with your dogs, no matter their personality type. I mean, how many people do
      you know that have dogs but leave them alone in the yard most of the maybe those are really the ones showing more discomfort with being hugged? And also, it comes down to your dogs understanding that
      YOU are their leader, no matter what other ideas they may have started with. And it comes down to how well YOU communicate with your dogs, just as it does with snakes. All the dogs I've had in my life were rescues,
      by the way.

      When I had the most dogs, a pack of four large shelter rescues that included 2 Dobermans (one of which was badly abused by previous owner) & 2 shepherd mixes, the one that had been abused actually was the "alpha"
      dog in my "pack", and she loved me. She'd have easily bitten someone in self-defense though & had to be muzzled for the took a long time for her to accept men at all, as they'd been her abuser, and
      had someone tried to adopt her that had clumsy children, it's hard to say if she'd have behaved or not...she may or may not have understood children to be friendly 'puppies'? But she had no such challenges with me, &
      I could do 'anything' with her. All 4 of those dogs were pretty hug-able, and all had different 'issues'. Of the shepherd mixes, one was a very submissive dog that rolled over & pee'd when approached, while the other had
      been roaming & was fairly shy. The other Doberman (a big male) had known & loved a family that abandoned took a while for him to relax & accept me, mostly he was stand-offish, not quick to commit to being pals.

      The real key to hugging a dog is not to spring it on a strange dog that doesn't know you....& it's certainly preferable that you know something about the dog & are able to read their body language...just like with snakes, lol!

      Of the 2 dogs I have now, the smaller one is a terrier mix who thinks he's the boss. He demonstrates that by jumping up on ppl, leaping into laps without waiting for permission...I remind him that I'm the boss, but I doubt
      he'll quit trying... He had several owners in his past that gave up on him, mostly because he "misbehaved" when they left him alone all day! (ppl are SO stupid!) A dominant dog feels it should be "up to them IF & WHEN
      you're allowed to leave the pack,, ALL dogs are social and NEED company. He's worked out nicely here...he & my bigger dog are great buddies, never any fights. They play, share toys & kiss each other.

      My bigger dog, who doesn't have a dominant bone in her body, actually reacts strangely to hugs: she gets hyper, like it's a game! even though she's now a 'senior', she's playful. It appears that she really doesn't "like"
      hugs so she immediately distracts people into play-games that she prefers. She's a very good 'kisser' though...LOL! And she likes to stand close & lean on me.

      I think dogs are a bit like us...complex personalities, many with "baggage" of previous treatment, and body language that we should certainly be paying attention to...after that, it's a "conversation" like any other: both
      the human & dog interacting make adjustments to each other based on how they're perceived, so not 'rushing' things is important. We all have different social skills...dogs too!


      • #4
        Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

        I'll add that many "scientists" can't see the forest for the trees...they've been brain-washed to be so "objective" as to reject anything that might be construed as anthropomorphism (ascribing "human traits" to mere
        animals? GASP!) in part because humans see themselves at the top of the food chain, "in God's image" and as having dominion over the entire animal kingdom...we don't like to admit that we're animals, and it's not
        "convenient" to think that we should respect them much less allow them any rights. It's way more "convenient" to think that animals are just here for us to consume or use as we see fit... But with more advanced
        studies, scientists are now starting to admit that animals DO have emotions & thoughts etc...there is so much evidence that they can no longer deny it, and they are no longer laughed out of the room by their peers.

        I don't think it's a conspiracy, though you are correct that a few looney groups like PETA don't think ANY animals should be owned.

        This also reminds me that for YEARS the books about snakes put forth the opinion that you shouldn't handle them, and well, you KNOW how I feel about that? LOL It might not be 'natural' to handle a wild animal,
        but neither is it 'natural' to confine them in a "box" for life while we stare at them. (face-palm!)


        • #5
          Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

          The conspiracy is not that PETA and HSUS want to remove all pets. That is their expressed goal. The conspiracy is that they have the power in the government to outright ban reptiles, but they are only trying hard enough to keep getting more money and line their pockets from the people too blind to see what they are supporting while draining money from people trying to protect their rights. Why is a group like USARK with maybe a few dozen grand a year able to fight off PETA and HSUS with a combined few hundred million a year?

          I agree that animal personalities are much more complex than we tend to give credit. I am curious what those credentials are and why that gives him any significant voice in this field. From what I can tell, PhD. == 8+ year research degree, DSc. == Doctor of Science (Psychology) , FRSC == Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Where is ethology, zoology, biology?


          • #6
            Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

            Degrees mostly mean that you're completed training in a particular field...they don't necessarily mean you "think outside the box" or even that you try. What's more, there are many for whom a degree gives a
            false sense of omniscience. Many years ago I met a professional herpetologist in California & in the course of our conversation I happened to mention that I've found tiny sheds from the tongue tips of the rattle-
            snakes I was keeping in or near their water bowls...the look on his face was PRICELESS. Some years later I saw that mentioned in a book...point being, that no matter our training, we can all learn from each other
            and it doesn't require a degree to be observant. For some people a degree makes a better blindfold...


            • #7
              Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

              A rule I read once for dog interactions made a lot of sense to me: To see if a dog is enjoying the attention, stop. Does the dog move away or closer? Pretty easy way to judge. I certainly wouldn't hug a strange dog, most aren't big on being confined, or leaned over and it's rude behavior as far as dogs go and also when you are that close to a dog you can't really read its reaction. But I do annoy mine and hug them and would say only one of my 3 dogs "likes" hugs, but it's dependent on the situation, if she was eating or playing then she probably wouldn't appreciate me smothering her, if we are cuddling on the bed or floor and she came over for lovings then it's rewarding and enjoyable and she's all for it.


              • #8
                Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

                Originally posted by GoingPostal View Post
                But I do annoy mine and hug them and would say only one of my 3 dogs "likes" hugs, but it's dependent on the situation, if she was eating or playing then she probably wouldn't appreciate me smothering her, if we are cuddling on the bed or floor and she came over for lovings then it's rewarding and enjoyable and she's all for it.
                I understand and agree with this. My dog would let me hug him and he would sit with me for maybe 10 minutes or so, but I would always let him have the option to leave. The only times he would come to me to be sheltered was during thunderstorms when he was scared. He would come and sit under my feet where I would gently pet him with my feet as I continued with working on my computer. On occasion I would hold him against his will for a little, but would always release him if he got scared or stressed instead of just annoyed. It is all down to reading them. They are companions, not objects.


                • #9
                  Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

                  I LOVE this thread!

                  I have had dogs all my life and each one had/has a distinct personality. Some liked to be held/hugged and others didn't. I think it depends on the relationship with the particular animal. At one time I had a Malamute/Wolf mix that was one of the most labor intensive dogs I have ever had. He would challenge the pack order from time to time and I always had to be very aware. He was also the most loving dog most of the time and would want to sit next to me on our deck and lean into me. I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting just like that when he was alive. I miss those times so much!

                  I had a Standard Poodle that absolutely adored me and was always 'under my feet'. Wherever I went, Ace went too. Sometimes he would even hold my hand in his mouth as we walked which I felt was strange but it was very comforting to him.

                  Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest


                  • #10
                    Re: Dogs don't like hugs?

                    Originally posted by zamora View Post
                    ....Sometimes he would even hold my hand in his mouth as we walked which I felt was strange but it was very comforting to him.
                    That would be fun to see...a dog walking their human!?