We love our dogs, there is no secret in that. But, is it possible you’re loving your pup the wrong way? According to an observational study of photos of owners hugging their dogs and showing how much they loved their pets, it appears dogs don’t like to be hugged.

Phhht! What do these scientists know?

You’re probably thinking, "What do these researchers know? I hug my Dog all the time and he loves it!"

However, Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, would disagree with you. He said animal behavioralists have compiled ample evidence about the non-verbal cues of dogs and what they mean.

It appears that dogs, while being your best friend, also need their space. In other words, they are no different than your two-legged friends. Dr. Coren published the results of his study in Psychology Today.

There are certain facial expressions and body language cues most behavioral animal researchers recognize as being signs of a dog being stressed or suffering from anxiety. These signs include:

  • Turning the head while being hugged
  • Averting their eyes away from the source of stress
  • Lowered ears
  • Flattened ears
  • Licking a person’s face
  • Raising one paw

These are all well-known signs among researchers who study animal behavior.

There’s ample evidence of dog’s warning signs

Dr. Coren examined 250 randomly chosen photographs off the internet using Google images.

Of the 250 images, he found 204 where the dog was exhibiting one or more signs of stress. The owners were happy enough, showing off their pooch, but the dogs did not appear to be enjoying the situation.

It’s important dog owners understand these animal signals because they are the only signs we have of knowing how a dog feels.

If you don’t pay attention to them, the results can be disastrous.

This is why you need to pay attention

Dogs will fight when forced, but they prefer to avoid situations where they feel stress or anxiety. If they are being hugged, especially by somebody they are not familiar with, they could bite. This is the nightmare of every dog owner.

A hug that is too forceful or quick could be interpreted by the dog as a hostile act. This is possible even with somebody who the dog knows.

There are many resources available online to teach you some of the behavioral characteristics of dogs. These will not only help with your dog, but it will also help in judging strange dogs you encounter.

Nobody is saying don’t show love and affection for your dog, but dog behavioral specialists are saying to pay attention to the dog’s mannerisms. Especially when the person interacting with your dog is a stranger or overly enthusiastic, such as kids.