It’s a mixed bag when it comes to opinions on whether or not dogs like being hugged.“Experts in dog behavior believe that, in general, dogs do not like being embraced. However, every dog has a unique personality. Some may dislike hugs more strongly than others, and some may actually adore them,” the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance’s website explains.
Some people even say that their dog loves to hug them.While them putting their paws around us might seem like a hug, that might not exactly be the case.“The closest thing our furry family members do to a hug is something referred to as ‘standing over,’ which is when a dog puts their leg over another dog’s back or shoulder,” the website writes“It is not an aggressive behavior but thought to show competitiveness or control. It’s common to see dogs do this while they’re roughhousing.”
The ASPCA writes that hugging is a naturally foreign concept to dogs, unlike primates who are wired for affection and hugging.They say that dogs that like to hug have been socialized to do so.
“The only dogs that accept hugging are those that have been properly socialized while pups to ignore their own normal response and those that ‘shut down’ out of fear when put in this vulnerable position,” pet expert Amy Shojai told Country Living.
It is possible to teach your dogs to tolerate hugs by using positive reinforcement to show them that hugs are not threatening.
“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,” ASPCA reports.
First, calmly sit next to your dog and slowly wrap your arm around its back or shoulder.
Then reward them with a treat when they show a positive response, like being calm or leaning into you.
Next, wrap your arm farther around them or use both arms. Repeat the rewarding process as you move closer
“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.”