Do Dogs Like To Be Hugged?

    hugging dog

    Does my dog like it when I hug her? Does she look way or do her ears drop? Does she lean in and give you licks and a snuggle or cuddle back? Many question is dogs like to be hugged. They even question if it is safe to hug a dog. Let's review the signs of a dog who may or may not liked to be hugged. 

    Dogs are designed for swift running. The first line of defense for a dog is to run not bite.  Animal Behaviorists believe that depriving a dog the ability to run by immobilizing him with a hug can increase his stress level and, if the dog's anxiety becomes significantly intense, he may bite.  On the other hand, if your dog leans into you and snuggles up, it's safe to say your dog likes hugs just fine.  

    Dogs provide many signs of stress that an owner can see when they hug their dog.  Do you know the signs?

    Signs Your Dog Does NOT Like Hugs:

    • The dog's ears are lowered
    • They have their eyes closed
    • When the dogs head is turned
    • They are licking their nose
    • They are licking their lips
    • They let out a big yawn

    These signs mean “step back a bit, I’m I little nervous”.  If he tries to gets up and walk away (or leaps away) when you lean in, it's safe to say he doesn't like them at all. If his ears drop immediately and he turns away, he does not enjoy it.  Try ear scratching, belly rubs and petting instead to show love. 

    Another important thing to remember is that each dog is different. You may be sitting there saying, "My dogs love my hugs!" You may be right.  Some dogs might enjoy hugs from anyone. Some might enjoy hugs from their family only.

    Signs Your Dog Like Hugs?

    • Your dog leans into you
    • Your dog appears to snuggle with you
    • Your dog licks you

    If your dog leans into you and snuggles up, it's safe to say he likes hugs just fine. If he is relaxed and his mouth is open and not licking, he probably doesn't mind the hug.

    Can You Teach Your Dog to Tolerate Hugs?

    Yes.  Our furry family members love to learn, especially when a reward is involved, so it’s possible to use positive reinforcement to teach them that hugs are good and not a threat. Teaching a dog to tolerate hugs can be beneficial in situations when you may need to hold them still, like during a visit to the vet or groomer. Also, if you have small children around your home, it can be helpful to get your dog used to having arms around them. 

    Here’s what you can do to teach your dog that hugs aren’t so bad after all:

    • Sit beside your dog. Then, slowly and carefully wrap an arm around their back or shoulder.
    • Reward your dog with a treat when they show positive responses, like staying calm or leaning into you.
    • Continue wrapping your arm farther around them, or use both arms, and give them a treat each time you move in closer.
    • Eventually, the cycle of embracing and treat giving should help your dog associate hugs with something positive.

    It’s important to remember that some dogs may really like hugs from their human family, but not from new acquaintances. It’s the same way we like close physical contact from friends or family, but we might feel awkward or freaked out if a stranger gets too close to us. Watch out for warning signs that your dog is uneasy around strangers to prevent any mishaps.

    I've had many dogs in my life and some hated hugs, some enjoyed them and some tolerated it. I am just so happy the dog I have now loves hugs as much as I love hugging her.