Study: Hugging Your Dog Stresses Him Out - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Study: Hugging Your Dog Stresses Him Out

I’ll be the first to admit that I hug my dog – not frequently (I’m not much of a hugger in general) – but enough to be troubled by the news that hugging your dog actually stresses him out. According to a recent report, hugging your dog may cause your his stress level to increase, and even though you might feel better, your dog certainly doesn’t.

The idea of hugging your dog is widespread, with books such as 'Smooch Your Pooch' gracing many a bookshelf. The book talks about how kids should hug and kiss their dog anytime they please. The book was so popular, while being so incorrect, that the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) released a statement explaining that they strongly advise parents to avoid purchasing the book, as the information it contained could cause children to be bitten by dogs.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 11:16 AM
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I am not troubled at all. My dogs love to be hugged and partially lifted off the ground (front half) while I rub their chest and kiss the face. When I stop they get crazy and bump up against me for more.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 11:37 AM
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It's interesting to note that a full body hug can be part of the evaluation for therapy dogs. Some dogs are really stressed by it. My Goldens have seemed to enjoy hugs, even from strangers.

Gracie, Sunfire's Amazing Grace, RN, CGC, CCA, Pet Partner therapy dog, 9/12/2013
Zoe, Rockwall Nantucket Breeze, BN, CGC, Delta therapy dog, 5/4/2008 - 10/28/2013
Zeke, our introduction to the world of Golden Retrievers, 6/12/1997 - 12/18/2007
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 11:47 AM
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Jess doesn't really like to be hugged, I can see it on his body language. My son's golden, on the other hand, can't get enough.
Typical scene of me house sitting for them is Angus spooning with me on the bed while Jess sleeps on the floor beside us.
They're all different.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 05:22 PM
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I think it is pretty much bull. My dogs have always loved to be hugged.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 05:59 PM
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Bailey is a hugger. He seeks out hugs from anyone willing to provide them. My flattie/golden cross, Gracie (who is a therapy dog) loves hugs, especially from children. Goldie, who was also a therapy dog, was not so keen on hugs. She tolerated them but you could see she did not enjoy it. Jack, our coonhoud, does not like hugs and will walk away. Our Corgi, Rina, took it a bit farther...she would growl if hugged. In my experience it depends on the dog and we have learned to respect the space of those who don't want hugs. In the case of Bailey, however, if he doesn't receive a hug from DH the minute he walks into the house Bailey believes he has been punished and will go sulk in a corner until the hug is provided.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 06:04 PM
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There are studies of this that. But I do think the article overall might reach into the common sense of which some new dog owners might lack.

I'm glad it mentions reading signs but view it overall as a queue for new dog owners with toddlers.

I've had or known dogs that either love hugs or not. Some wriggle away and others beg for more.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 10:14 AM
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The so-called "study" that all these recent articles have been based on was one guy looking at a couple of hundred photos ON THE INTERNET and making observations about that split second caught in time. It's hardly a scientific study.

That said, in my very first puppy class, my trainer had us, one by one, go in to hug our puppies so that we could observe what the pup did. Many displayed stress signs - and he did it so that we would have that knowledge if we were going to be around young kids with our pups and we could know that our pups may not want to be hugged by little kids (or adults, for that matter). It's true that some dogs do not like being hugged. Shala displayed no stress and she actually loves being hugged and often comes to me and snuggles in.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 10:22 AM
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Sweet girl is right. This was not a peer reviewed study, but casual observations by a retired professor who gleaned pictures off the internet. No solid conclusions can be made from it.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 10:35 AM
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Craziness. My dog will nudge your arms until you hug her!
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