Sorry, Your Dog Hates Hugs

Mint Images/REX/Shutterstock
We’ve all had moments when we needed a hug from a dog. Maybe it’s a stressful finals week or maybe you’re getting over a breakup, but the dog is key. Unfortunately, the dog doesn’t feel the same way about you. So says a recent article in Psychology Today.

According to author Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia who often writes about dogs, that’s because dogs are cursorial animals. They’re designed to run quickly either to prey or away from a threat.

“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,” Coren writes.

Coren studied 250 random photographs of dogs and found some disturbing results.

“In all, 81.6% of the photographs researchers scored showed dogs who were giving off at least one sign of discomfort, stress, or anxiety,” Coren writes. “Only 7.6% of the photographs could rate as showing dogs that were comfortable with being hugged. The remaining 10.8% of the dogs either were showing neutral or ambiguous responses to this form of physical contact.”

Anecdotally, this seems true. Dogs generally want to do their own thing. Although sometimes when you’re trying to work on your laptop, the dog will come and sit on you which makes it very difficult to trypijepae type.

Advertisement

More from Mind

Your birth control is supposed to bring you peace of mind, but could it be affecting your mental health in a negative way? A large new study suggests a ...
As told to Amelia Harnish I never imagined I’d be a person who left college the same day I arrived. For me, venturing off to school had high stakes. ...
No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...