Dogs may be man’s best friend, but it often looks like man is unwilling to reciprocate. While our courageous canine companions are undoubtedly loyal and would do anything to protect their human overlords, the situation doesn’t often look like the reverse is applicable. No, humans could treat their dogs better.
Having a dog
Even if you think you’re doing a great job and that you are the best master in the world, there undoubtedly times when your furry friend is asking him or herself what exactly they did wrong to deserve what you’re doing to them. This is because dogs are social creatures, and some of our gestures are interpreted very differently by them.
So while you may not want to send any mean-spirited or confusing messages to your dog, you’re probably doing that all the time. For example, a recent study published in Psychology Today shows that dogs actually hate being hugged. This may sound like something assumed or just made up, but no, dogs actually don’t like being hugged at all.
Hugging our canine friends
Stanley Coren, a professor with the University of British Columbia, is the one behind the study. He looked at 250 random pictured of owners hugging their beloved dogs and analyzed the facial expressions, body posture, and other indicators in order to see how dogs feel about being hugged.
The results are as sad as they are unpleasant for our pets. Apparently, as many as eighty percent of the dogs in the pictures showed at least a few signs of anxiety and discomfort when being hugged even by their most beloved of owners. But Coren didn’t stop there. Instead, he analyzed the signals suggesting that the fluffy companions weren’t enjoying themselves.
Signs of anxiety
One of the most obvious and common signs that a canine friend is feeling uncomfortable is when they turn their head away. Partially closing their eyes while doing so, slicking their ears back, licking their lips and slightly showing teeth are also signs that your animal is feeling anxious and that you should stop doing whatever you’re doing.
The reason behind this is that dogs are curiosity animals. This is a term used for animals that are usually fast runners. This means that if confronted with any sort of challenge, their first instinct is to run away. Hugging them reduces their ability to move and makes running away impossible, greatly raising the animals’ anxiety levels.
Of course, just like humans, dogs are individuals with their own different preferences, behaviors, and habits. So, just like some humans are overly clingy, some dogs also do that. If you do want to hug your dog, you can do so in a mirror, or have someone take a picture of you doing so. That way, you can look at your furry friend for signs of anxiety and you can tell whether they like it or not.
Image source: Pixabay