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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.
Read more about Hugging Your Dog Stresses Him Out at PetGuide.com.
 

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My dog hugs me; I'm okay with that.

But agree, manhandling any living critter against his or her will is not going over well.
 
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So it was a preliminary investigation using 250 photos from a google image search, 80% of the dogs showed signs of discomfort in the photos. But imagine all the stock photo that would have been in there! Dog with unfamiliar human or just being held for a photo would stress them out. In fact, the emeritus professor who wrote it said that most media outlets are taking the findings out of context and giving them too much weight. The point of studies like this are to look for further areas that need investigation, not to provide results that can be applied to the general population.

Edit: dogs autocorrected to gods hehe.
 

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I have owned a lot of dogs in my life, and I think it depends upon the dog. I had some that would tense if you petted or handled them much and others that the more you hugged the more they leaned in and wagged their tails and got playful about it. Still the 'don't hug me' dogs outnumber the 'love to be hugged' ones 5 to 3.

Loved hugs: Ernie, Harper, and HaHa
Didn't like hugs: *Sampson, Hey You, Shilo, Lacey, and Jaya

*Sampson had an exception to it... If I was laying on the floor she would come lay down next to me and seemed to really relax when I put my arm around her. But otherwise she didn't like being held onto all that much.

I don't think basing the hugging is bad information based upon Google photos can be deemed accurate. So many of those those photos might have been staged with a dog being in an unfamiliar environment and/or being hugged by someone they didn't know.

Stormy
 

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Using google photos is not accurate. I have plenty of pictures of my dogs that could come across as them feeling a certain way when in fact is was an action shot that caught the angle of the camera that way at that particular time. Plus, on dark dogs "whale eye" is much more noticeable even when they're not giving whale eye. I have plenty more to say about this "study" just don't have the time right now. Just wanted to say what a crock of ****...what kind of study will be accurate with pictures taken off the internet, lol.
 

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I also agree that the study is pretty ridiculous. As to whether or not hugging your dog stresses them out, I believe it completely depends on the specific dog and also their relationship with the person hugging them.

Bandit, for example, freezes as soon as one of the kids tries to hug him. They swoop onto him and throw their arms around him. He hates it and I've been working on them with it. If Bandit is curled up sleeping next to me I will throw my arm around him and I will even curl around him at night if the BF is working late because it gets cold in our room and he's completely fine with it.

Sadie loves to be held and hugged by anyone. I believe that stems from how she was raised and because she is a pretty kid-proof dog in general.

Molly will not be held. Anyone, including my mother whose her "person" above all others, she will not let hold her. She gets fidgety, will use her paws to try and push you away and will huff over to the other side of the room if you even try. However if you just allow her to come to you and settle in, she's a huge cuddler but she wants it on her terms.

I believe that the overall message to take out of this is to watch your dogs reaction and learn what they are comfortable with.
 
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Question: If hugging your dog bothers them, Howcome the like to cuddle up next to you? Or put their head on your shoulder or lap?

What's a better alternative to hugging?
I think it really depends on the dog. Ours, if you lightly hug her, she will wiggle in closer and push against you more, but I would guess she would not like being hugged roughly.
 

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lol, this study was so stupid. The guy analyzed 200 random photos or something on the internet.

The picture in the article was a Beagle, too. Anyone with a Beagle can confirm they often make some kind of pout face or "sad" face which is why Beagles are usually overweight because people tend to keep giving them food to make them happy. My Beagle lets me use him at a pillow but will also make a "stressed" face if I were to pick him up.

Other than that, I agree with everyone else who said it depends on the dog. It doesn't matter how great of a person you are..you can have 10 dogs and one of them might not like being hugged and coddled.
 

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I have always wondered if hugging a dog might challenge a dog's innate sense of fight or flight even though there is no perceived threat anywhere to be found, more just a reaction to a deeply rooted behavior many animals possess. Some dogs are fine with it, some dogs tolerate it and some dogs display their obvious discomfort. The trust and bond between human and dog probably plays a role in this as well.

Another factor which I believe is important is when a person might choose to hug their dog as to whether the dog will feel comfortable or not.

I believe certain types of confinement and the lack of maneuvering room in a dog's world perks their instinctual flight or fight response and hugging a dog might do the same but to a much lesser degree, just causing a slight bit of discomfort.

Overall, I am in the camp with it depends on the dog.
 

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My problem isn't that the study is bad, it's actually not terrible as an exploratory study used to identify areas requiring further investigation. My problem is that the reporting on it suggests that the results can be applied to all dogs when that isn't the purpose of the study.

I'm also in the depends on the dog and situation boat.
 

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This study would've been interesting if we saw the pics that were studied..and then everyone could post what they see in each picture. It's more fun to see 50 different opinions on one picture than one person's opinion on 50 pictures.

Another thing worth mentioning, many people ruin their dogs and kids with cameras. My mother has done it with her last 2 dogs. She misses out on many good pictures because the dog is sick of having a phone aimed at it's face. That stressed out, irritated and no eye contact could be because of the camera in it's face and clicking noises the person is making.

And, who knows what is going on behind the camera. Dogs feel stress and there could be a lot of tension, yapping, screeching and drama going on in the room while someone is trying to snap the perfect shot of someone hugging a dog.
 

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People are different in that regard also. I remember when I was very young, my Aunt Janet would always hug me and my sister. She was a nice person, and kind, but was very large and wore too much cologne and the big bosomy hugs were not a treat.
I think whether a person or a dog enjoys that sort of physical contact varies from person to person or dog to dog and depends on the context.
But these sorts of controversial articles sell print.
 

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Hugging my dogs

I love to hug my 2 dogs, one of them would happily have cuddles all day but the other one, he is a Chihuahua and is 14 years old, very strong willed and knows what he wants, so I will give him a little stroke and if he wants a cuddle he comes up to me and climbs up my legs for me to pick him up. I think it is important to let our pets have choices, they are living beings not cuddly toys, even if they look like teddy bears sometimes :)
 
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