There’s no doubt that we love our pets around here. Dogs , cats , bunnies and all sorts of (appropriate) animal friends definitely become beloved family members that we like to shower with affection. But you know what? Your dog isn’t as keen on one thing that you’re definitely doing to them. Your dog wants you to stop hugging ‘em. They hate it. Hate. It.
This may be hard to believe if you have a super snuggly pup in the fam, but new data published in Psychology Today suggests that our pups may just be putting up with us and in fact become stressed when we embrace them. See if any of these canine stress signs sound familiar when you wrap your arms around your dog: ears down, half moon eyes (YES, PUPPY DOG EYES), head turned to avoid eye contact, submissive eye closure and lip licking. Sure, you might think Rover is just losing himself in bliss over being close to you, but that’s probably not it. Even when we think our pups are enjoying our embrace, closer inspection and a knowledge of dog stress signals might show us otherwise.
How can that possibly be? Well, our dog friends “are technically cursorial animals, which is a term that indicates that they are designed for swift running. That implies that in times of stress or threat the first line of defense that a dog uses is not his teeth, but rather his ability to run away. Behaviorists believe that depriving a dog of that course of action by immobilizing him with a hug can increase his stress.” This stress can lead to bites as the dog reacts instinctively, not actually intending to be a nipping jerk.
So the next time you want to show your dog some love, you may want to keep your paws to yourself.
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(Photos via Getty)