Facts about the animal kingdom

Do Dogs Like to be Hugged?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: July 22, 2019
Do Dogs Like to be Hugged?

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It’s completely normal to love your dog so much that sometimes you just want to hug and squeeze them. However, for dogs, this hugging sensation isn't as nice as you may think. While for us, hugs are a gesture of love and affection, for dogs it can result in the appearance of stress and anxiety.

Have you noticed that when you hug your dog they may try flee from your grip? For more about, ‘‘Do dogs like hugs?’’, keep reading this AnimalWised article.

You may also be interested in: Do Cats Like to Be Kissed?


  1. Do dogs like hugs?
  2. Do dogs like cuddling?
  3. Do dogs like kisses?
  4. Do dogs like to be petted?

Do dogs like hugs?

Unable to communicate verbally, dogs use signs of appeasement and body postures to help them express themselves. These indications are predominantly used for dogs to communicate with each other, but as a dog owner, it is also important to be able to understand them.

When you hug a dog, it will most likely react in a couple of different ways. Be careful that you don’t insist on hugging your dog too much, that it results in them biting you. The most important thing is to respect the signs that your dog presents to you and to be considerate of its space. Below are some gestures which may suggest that your dog is feeling stressed or uncomfortable:

  • Lowering their ears.
  • Turning their face away.
  • Avoiding looking at you.
  • Triying to turn their back to you.
  • Rotating their body.
  • Closing their eyes.
  • Constantly licking their snout.
  • Trying to escape.
  • Yawning.
  • Growling.
  • Showing their teeth.
Do Dogs Like to be Hugged? - Do dogs like hugs?

Do dogs like cuddling?

You may be wondering, why do some dogs really not like hugs? Well, pychologist Stanley Coren published an article in the journal Psychology Today, where he affirms that dogs do not enjoy being hugged. In fact, he also presented a series of 250 random photographs of people hugging their dogs, where 82% of the dogs showed signs of appeasement. [1]

Coren goes on to explain how dogs have a very fast reaction and functioning capacity. Dogs need to be able to escape running when they feel threatened or cornered. This means that when you embrace them, they feel blocked and held back and in turn feel that they do not have that ability to escape.

Do dogs like kisses?

Loving your dog is the best thing you can do to strengthen your bond. However, when showing your dog affection, you need to make sure that you do it in such a way that you do not cause fear and/or stress in your dog.

To show your dog that you love him or her: you can caress your dog, brush its hair or play with it. If you really want to hug your dog, there is a way in which you can do so, without overwhelming your canine. Follow these steps on how to embrace your dog correctly:

  • Approach him/her calmly and make gentle movements so that you do not alert your dog.
  • Make sure that your dog can see you approaching.
  • Allow him/her to smell your hand, keeping your palms open.
  • Sit quietly by your dog’s side.

Practice this manipulation in a progressive way. In some cases, awarding your dog treats through the use of positive reinforcement, can be very helpful. The aim of this exercise is for your dog to associate your hands with something positive. Gently pass your arm over your dog’s back and caress gently. You can also scratch your dog calmly, without squeezing.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, do dogs like kisses?

Do Dogs Like to be Hugged? - Do dogs like kisses?

Do dogs like to be petted?

Now that we’ve confirmed that most dogs don’t like hugs, you may be wondering, ‘‘What do dogs like?’’ Well, when it comes to petting, for example, there are ways to pet and offer your dog affection without making them feel threatened. We recommend petting your dog dog on the chest area, shoulders, neck and top of the head. When betting your dog, avoid sensitive areas like the legs, tail, paws, ears and muzzle.

For more, read about the benefits of petting a dog and what not to do to your dog.

If you want to read similar articles to Do Dogs Like to be Hugged?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Do Dogs Like to be Hugged?