Sorry, Your Dog Hates Hugs

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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.


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