Do Dogs Like Hugs?
Do Dogs Like Hugs?

Do Dogs Like Hugs? Everything You Need to Know About Dog Hugs

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Most humans recognise a hug as a sign of affection and close friendship. That is exactly why we feel this strong urge to hug dogs out of love. After all, they are the best type of best friends. As pet parents, we love greeting our pawsome pals with dog hugs. However, do dogs like hugs? In an IAMS™ survey*, 83% of dog parents say their dog likes hugs too. Is this true? We’re going to try and get an answer to this question.


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Do dogs like hugs?

The short answer is no. Dogs do not like hugs. Now, let’s look at a bit of an explanation to this. 


Some dogs enjoy canine cuddles, but usually only with their owner or household members. Otherwise, they don’t care about it. “Hugging is too much and overwhelming for many dogs and should be discouraged if the dog doesn’t know the individual very well”, advises James Serpell, B.Sc., Ph.D., Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.


So, why don’t dogs like hugs? To understand this, we may need to look at what a dog really feels when you try to hug it. 


What do dogs feel when you hug them?


Here is what your pooch probably experiences when you try to engulf it in an embrace:


  • Unnatural behaviour

Hugging is human behaviour and not dog behaviour. These animals are just not physically built for that kind of interaction. We stand upright, so we face people. Dogs are on all fours, making hugging an unnatural act for them. Hence, they prefer a friendly sniff.


  • Dominance

To dogs, a hug comes off as dominating behaviour; it feels like someone is trying to assert control over them. It can be stressful, especially if done by a stranger.


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  • Lack of freedom

Since ancient times, a canine’s first instinctive defense has been to run away from danger. And hugging makes them feel trapped and confined. As humans, we too feel awkward when a person we barely know gives us a long and tight hug, right? Dogs somewhat feel the same. To some extent, they would also want to escape.


How to know when your dog is uncomfortable?

Sniffing is a dog’s way of expressing love. However, we humans definitely don’t regard sniffing the same way. And no matter how much we love our canine companion, we do feel a little uncomfortable with this gesture. Similarly, your pet might find hugs discomforting. Don’t worry. A dog’s body language will give you all the signs you need to know about their comfort level. But in order to understand these signs, you must learn to read them. So, let us understand some signs that indicate your dog is uneasy. 


  • Your dog will look away

Dogs try to avoid anything that stresses them out. So, if your dog looks away when you enfold them in your arms, they don't like hugs. Your furry friend might also open their eyes wide while looking away and this allows you to notice their whale eyes. Whale eyes are when you see the whites of a dog’s eyes. Now, that is another indication of stress and discomfort.


  • Your dog stiffens

Dogs are generally flexible when relaxed. If your dog gets stiff when you wrap your hands around them, you should probably set them free. Your dog might also lower or tuck their tail under the belly out of stress. Moreover, you must also pay attention to your pet’s ears. Lowered ears are a sign of a stressed dog.


  • Your dog yawns

It’s no news that we yawn when exhausted. However, if your pooch yawns during dog hugs, they are getting stressed out. It is their way of conveying that they don’t like something.


Signs that your dog likes hugs

Every dog is unique. While most of them feel uncomfortable with hugs, some might like being embraced. Here’s how you can confirm if your furball doesn’t feel suffocated when you hug them:


  • Your dog wags their tail

Tail wagging can mean several things. However, you know your dog is happy when they give you a full-body tail wag. Slow, relaxed wags mean that your dog feels composed and at ease.


  • Your dog puts their paws on you

Placing the paws on the hugger signifies that your dog welcomes this form of attention. A dog’s paws can do more than just walk and dig holes. It is one of the most effective modes of communication for them.


Alternatives to dog hugs

Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t want to hug it out. There are plenty of healthier ways you can show them you are still their best friend:


  • Pet them or give them a good, relaxing brush
  • Take them on walks or play a game with their favorite toy
  • Give them their favourite food or treats
  • Tell them they are a “good boy” or a “good girl'. They never get tired of hearing that.

If you're looking for the perfect dog for you, try our Dog Breed Selector today and enjoy a lifetime of tail-wagging joy.

FAQs on Do Dogs Like Hugs

  1. Do dogs know hugs are affectionate?
  2. Dogs do not generally recognise a hug as an affectionate gesture. However, they learn to accept hugs from their owner.


  3. I like hugging my dog. But do dogs like being hugged?
  4. Your dog might not look at hugs the way humans do. For most dogs, hugs are discomforting.


  5. Do dogs feel love when you cuddle them?
  6. Yes. Dogs like cuddling because they love you. If your dog cuddles you, you are a part of their pack.


  • How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies

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    Bringing a furry friend home is one of the greatest things you will do. If you are someone who has been longing for a furry companion, you should wait no more... however, only if you are confident that you can take complete care of this four-legged angel. Puppies need love and care, so as their caregivers, you need to help them grow into happy and healthy dogs.

    Stay by your pet’s side throughout its growing stage. This is that time of its life where you need to do more than just provide food, love, and fun times; you must understand dog nutrition, follow the vaccination schedule, and potty train your puppy. Sparing some time and energy to provide your pet with basic puppy care can help you build a loving relationship with your pooch. So, let us explore a few things you can look into while nurturing a puppy. This basic puppy care guide will also keep you informed with what to expect in the first few months of being a caregiver.

    • Bringing your puppy home

    Wondering what to know about taking care of a new puppy? Let us start with the most basic things like puppy proofing your house. That is right. Puppies and babies fall in the same category: delicate and fragile! You need to be careful about their surroundings and make sure that there is nothing hazardous around. Puppies are naturally curious. Make sure they do not encounter things like chemicals, electrical cords, harmful houseplants, valuables, and especially breakables. You also need to get necessary pup supplies like a feeding bowl, collar, leash, and more. Set up a cosy corner for your puppy to rest in!

    • Feeding your pooch

    Choosing the right puppy food is of paramount importance. You must pick out puppy food that is specifically formulated for growing puppies as it needs the right kind of nutrients to grow stronger. So, avoid adult dog food if your pet is still a pup.

    Not sure when to make a switch to adult dog food? Well, it totally depends on the breed size. If you have a small or medium breed dog, you can switch to dog food once it turns 9 to 12 months old. If you have a large breed dog, continue feeding puppy food until it turns 12 to 24 months old. Apart from that, make sure your pup always has access to fresh and clean water!

    This is what a typical puppy feeding schedule would look like: 

    • 6-12 weeks old: Four meals per day 
    • 3-6 months old: Three meals per day 
    • 6-12 months old: Two meals per day 

    At IAMS™, we offer a range of puppy as well as adult dog food that nourishes your furry friend with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients. Our products are made with premium-quality ingredients to ensure that your dog enjoys every bite of its food.

    • Vet visits and vaccinations

    Taking your furry friend to the vet is the most important part of taking care of a puppy. Your dog’s first visit to the vet will help you learn about your dog’s overall physical health. Vet visits will also keep you informed about the vaccination schedule.  In fact, it is recommended to make a list of all questions that you may have. This list should include topics like: 

    • Vaccination schedule 
    • Spaying or neutering 
    • Potty training 
    • Basic obedience training 
    • Any symptoms 
    • Diet and nutrition 
    • Deworming
    • Socialisation

    Puppies should meet a variety of different people, dogs, objects, and situations – all in a positive way. The most important time for pups to socialise is between three and 12 weeks of age, however, it should continue throughout a puppy’s development. As pet parents, you can take your pooch to puppy classes as it provides a great opportunity to socialise puppies.

    • Potty training

    You can get started with potty training from the day one. This will help inculcate basic bathroom manners in your dog and will save you from cleaning the floor every time your pooch excretes. So, pick a bathroom spot outside your house and take your pup to the same place whenever it is potty time. Praise it right after it is done. You can also reward it with treats. However, under no circumstances must a puppy be yelled at since it may ignite fear.

    The best way to train is to reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour. It is never too early to begin training a puppy, but owners must remember that very young puppies become tired or distracted easily so training sessions should be kept to a short duration.

    • Oral care

    Dogs are prone to losing tooth, bad breath, and periodontal diseases. Moreover, they are good at hiding their dental pain. Hence, owners should introduce some form of oral care for their puppy as early as possible. Consult your vet to ensure that you pick the best dental care option for your pooch.

    • Exercise

    Amounts of exercise should be controlled for puppies during growth. They should not be forced to exercise beyond the amount of time they would engage in with another puppy of the same age. Moreover, your furry friend must be allowed to rest when they need to. So, instead of offering a one long playtime period, go for two short walks.