A new study suggests that dogs don’t like hugs and by hugging a dog you are actually putting your pup under a great amount of stress. A confining hug goes against the dog’s instincts to run, claims the study published in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, who is a professor of psychology and neuro psychological researcher.
As Coren argues hugs are stressful for dogs, but some dog owners are debating his findings. Cohen came to this conclusion after he studied photos of dogs being hugged and noting the signs that indicate stress in a dog. The study consisted of scanning 250 Internet photos of people hugging their dogs for known visual signs of stress in dogs, reports MSN News on April 26.
Those signs included the dog turning their head away, showing the whites of their eyes and slicked back ears. 82 percent of the dogs being hugged in the photos were found to show at least one of these signs, which indicated they were feeling stressed in this research.. Only 8 percent of the dogs seemed happy with being hugged and 10 percent appeared neutral.
Coren reports that the first line of defense in a dog when feeling a threat or stress is to run, not using their teeth. “Dogs are technically cursorial animals,” said Coren. This is a term that “indicates they are designed for swift running.”
According to Fox News on April 26, the study also suggests: “The data shows that while few dogs may like being hugged, more than four out of five dogs find it unpleasant.” If this research is true, then this would seem to indicate that dog owners everywhere are putting their dogs in unpleasant circumstances daily via a hug? Really? Should you all go home and apologize to mans’ best friend?
The random Internet photos of dogs being hugged were just pictures. The circumstances under which the pictures were taken were not noted and this alone could make a huge difference with the outcome. These pictures were taken randomly from Google Images, so if you have a dog and you are hugging your buddy in a picture online, you may be part of this study!
Unless these pictures were all selfies, there was someone else in the area taking the picture and that alone might be a distraction to a dog. How can you indicate that the stress signs reportedly seen in these dogs were caused by a hug? Were the dogs being hugged in the quiet of their own home or in a noisy city park?
The breed of these dogs were not mentioned, which should be an important factor in the findings. If the 250 pictures of dogs being hugged were all Golden Retrievers, this study’s outcome might have been extremely different. What were the ages of these dogs? A dog that is a year old is not going to be the best hugging partner, but that same dog at 10-years-old might love that hug.
Even if some of these pictures were selfies, the camera alone can distract a dog. As “Fox and Friends” offered up on Wednesday morning, as many others out there are thinking, “my dog loves to be hugged!”