I saw a while ago articles about dogs not liking to be hugged, and thought, "That's rather a "one hat fits all" judgement on dogs." I then saw this article a couple days ago You probably shouldn't hug your dogs, regardless of how adorable they are
I actually think it is okay to hug your dog, and this is not about hugging, it's about the type of hug. Dog-cognition scientist Dr. Alexandra Horowitz states, "The reason we say they don't like being hugged is because of what they look like when you're hugging them, They pin their ears back, they lick their lips (sort of air licking). Or they yawn, which is another stress behavior. Or they move to get away. Or they show this kind of whale-eye posture — you can see the whites of their eyes. They show behavior that's like, 'This is uncomfortable.'"
The same behaviour we all but display when we get an over long or a bit tighter hug than we are comfortable with. I think we all know someone who is perhaps a little bit over vigorous in the hugging department. I feel a dog being happy with touch and hugging, will also have a lot to do with imprinting from a young age. A puppy reared being used to being touched and close handled by humans, is more likely to be more comfortable with hugging, just like a human being reared with more hugging, than another who is rarely hugged by their parents.
In the photos above of our daughter Molly with Sasha and Blottie, both pups we reared, and their Mum's were reared as pups with us. They have known Molly since birth, and Molly was lying on the ground first, and the two dogs then sought her out, and Sasha was first spooning, but then turned over, looked Molly in the eyes, and cuddled into a hugging position with her. The key here is looseness, the dog is not being held tightly and can move away if it wants to. This has to be taught to your children. I don't think all dogs, don't like hugging, I think it is down to imprinting as a puppy, the mood they are in, and the type of hug. They don't like being hugged to tightly, feeling constricted, and as someone who is partial to a bit of hugging, I can't say, "I'm comfortable with being hugged by someone like a boa-constrictor, and I feel like their lunch."
So I'm not going to stop hugging my dogs, but I will adhere to the three rules of hugging. No holding, no squeezing, and no longer than 3 seconds (unless like Sasha above, they fall asleep in mid hug).
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!