Humans might need to hug their dogs from time to time, but dogs aren't necessarily thrilled with the idea.
An article out from Psychology Today talks about "Doggy De-stress Days," when dogs are brought to schools or colleges so stressed-out students can give them a pat or interact with them. Those canines don't mind a pat on the head or a little attention, but they don't always take kindly to hugs.
The article says we humans tend to equate dogs with our own kind - but they're not. Dogs are designed for swift running, meaning when they get stressed out or threatened, they rely on their ability to run away from the threat. If we deprive them of that outlet, the dog's stress level goes up.
That's why dog safety websites teach kids not to hug dogs.
The article explains a study of 250 pictures posted online of people hugging their dogs. It concludes that nearly 82 percent of the photos are of "happy people hugging what appear to be unhappy dogs."
Other signs to watch out for that indicate stress in dogs:
- Turning their head away from whoever or whatever is bothering him
- Closing his eyes
- Half-moon or "whale" eye (where you can see the white portion of the eyes at the corner or rim)
- Lowered ears or ears slicked against the side of the head
- Lip licking or licking someone's face
- Yawning or raising one paw
- Baring teeth
- More here