Science Says Don’t Hug Your Dog. Find Out Why.

We all love our dogs like they’re our children. As such, one of our favorites things to do is smother them with hugs and kisses. However, new research suggests that despite our good intentions, we may be doing more harm than good to the dog emotionally.

Animal behavior researchers recently performed a study in which they examined and observed dog behavior in response to human hugging through photographic evidence. The primary data was pictures people had uploaded online of them hugging their dogs.

The results indicated that roughly 80% of the dogs observed in pictures demonstrated subtle signs of stress, including looking away and what they referred to as “half-moon eyes”, lowering their ears, licking their lips, and yawning.

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The explanation behind the canine response to hugging is rooted in evolutionary biology. When a dog feels threatened, their first response is to flee the situation. When being hugged, the dog feels constrained and unable to run away should a threatening situation arise.

So, as much as we love to hug our dogs, the recommendation of animal behavior experts is to stick to good old fashioned petting.

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