LIFESTYLE

Don't Hug Your Dog: Experts Say It Really Stresses Them Out

Stop doing it, for the sake of your pet.

26/04/2016 17:07

After a long day at work, sometimes all you want to do is go back home and have cuddles with your beloved pooch. 

But research suggests that while you enjoy it, it might be making your dog really stressed.

Canine behaviourist Stanley Coren explains in Psychology Today that dogs have various ways of telling us they aren't happy being hugged, but we're not reading the signals properly. 

As a result, our pets might become extremely anxious and fraught when we hug them. And it can increase the risk of them lashing out. 

PeskyMonkey via Getty Images

According to Coren, dogs are cursorial animals, which means they are built for running. So when they feel threatened or trapped, they will try and run away.

If you deprive a dog of its ability to run away by hugging them, it can increase stress levels and, if it becomes anxious enough, it might even bite.

Coren says that there are various signals to watch our for if a dog is stressed. These include:

- Baring its teeth

- Turning its head away from you

- Closing its eyes or showing a 'half moon eye', which is where you can see the white portion of the eyes at the corner or the rim

- Lowering its ears or slicking them against the side of its head

- Licking its lips or licking a person's face

- Yawning

- Raising one paw

If you want to show your pet some affection after a long day, a belly rub and a few treats should do the trick. 

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