Don't laugh, but dogs really are like us... some demonstrative, some distant, some needy, others uncomfortable with little if any shows of affection (let's call these essentially British in nature).
And in answer to the recent 'don't hug your dog' research, I'd like to offer my last two dogs as an argument that you MUST give your dog what they need and demand no more, no less, just like a baby who's being goo, goo'd by annoying but well-meaning aunties. No one likes their cheek being squeezed by a hyperventilating womb, but we babies tend not to growl or bite when overwhelmed, however we do scream, turn puce and sometime projectile vomit.
But why does this article sound a little like the parenting specialists who prescribe NOT going to your screaming baby as it's simply testing you? My old beloved dog Victor was a very male beast (and yes, they are that different...the sexes I mean, just like us) who wanted admiration, a quick back rub, some squeezes and a kiss and then was most happy moving over to the other side of the room to luxuriate in our admiring glances. I knew he didn't go in for hugs, and that if he wanted extended shows of affection, he'd seek me out. Yes, I wanted a big cuddly teddy, and that's what he looked like, but that wasn't him and I respected that.
However my present dog Doris is the most affectionate, tactile and all round demonstrative pal one could ever have. She'd be absolutely the wrong companion for an emotionally shut down humanoid, (someone with a kitchen that looks like a coroner's morgue) but with me she's found her match. Seriously, when my husband gives her the first morning rub, she emits sounds that would normally be expected in the "bedroom". She's a shameless cuddler, lap sitter and leg leaner, very typical of the Labrador breed I know, but more so, and has been since she came into the world, wrapped around her sister like spooning piglets (who's exactly the same and owned by one of my best friends).
I just made a quite hilarious music video which features Doris who, in a real-life Wallace and Grommet style, comes across as the smart one out of the two of us. Viewers have asked me "how on earth did you get her to do that", about her furrowed brow as I make a total fool of myself and the final beautiful moment where stretched across my lap she gently paws me as if to say "I know you're acting like a total tit but I still love you..." Anthropomorphic you might say, but honestly this is just who she is and why I'm the luckiest person to have such a creature in my life. So yes I'm sure dogs have become very good at giving us what we want, for food and affection etc, and it's still about the personality of the dog, nature and nurture. It's NOT a human, so don't expect that. But if your dog, like mine, loves lying on you anywhere, anytime, whilst tending to look very deeply into your eyes what would you or for that matter any animal psychologist suggest? Wearing a strait jacket perhaps?
I once remember getting an animal behaviourist over to help with puppy Victor's barking when we ate dinner. He trained us in less than 5 minutes, but before leaving did let it slip that personally he'd hate it if his dogs didn't jump all over him when he walked through the door. I've never forgotten that, it's up there with my other favourite theory... "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". Right now I'm 6 thousand miles away from my girl and am looking forward to Face Timing her with her new family of kittens who also love to curl around her. She's in dog heaven and so am I just looking at her with them. Amazing...I've been vindicated by kittens!
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