Dogs: To Hug or Not to Hug?
Bodhi HATES Being Hugged
Seems like the answer is “No. Hugs can stress your dog out.”
A recent blog post by by psychology professor Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia has got the internet buzzing about hugging your dog.
According to Dr. Coren, dogs don’t like to be hugged. If Bodhi is any indication, that’s true. He HATES being hugged.
The New York Times reports:
Dr. Coren looked at 250 images on Google and Flickr that show people hugging dogs. About 81 percent of the photos showed dogs giving off at least one sign of discomfort, stress or anxiety, he said. The rest of the photographs showed dogs that appeared comfortable with their hugs or exhibiting neutral or ambiguous responses.
NPR has this insight:
Dogs 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 level and, if the dog’s anxiety becomes significantly intense, he may bite. For that reason, certain websites, which try to educate children and parents in order to reduce the incidence of dog bites (such as Doggone Safe), make a point about teaching children that they should not hug dogs.
You can read in detail about Dr. Coren’s findings by clicking on this link to his recent blog post.
And for a somewhat contrarian view click here for a story from the Boston Globe.