I know I must have written “DOGS DO NOT LIKE HUGS” about 10 times during dog bite prevention week. All the while I was writing this I knew that while dogs don’t like hugs from strangers, and MOST dogs don’t even like hugs from their own handlers, there are some dogs who enjoy hugs. I wanted to get a picture of Shayne being hugged because she really is a dog who likes hugs (from anyone who she likes). She is quite the anomaly but I love it about her.
Shayne is leaning into the hug, her eyes are a softly closed, her ears are in a neutral state, she has a huge smile on her face, her face is very relaxed, and although it’s 90F outside, she’s not panting. She is so comfortable being hugged and cuddled and really does enjoy it… I had to have this photo taken 4 times because she kept flopping into me and curling up like a baby cradled in my arms trying to fall asleep…
Rio, on the other hand is NOT a cuddle bug (except at night when he snuggles close under the blanket… even when it’s too hot!). He tolerates the fact that sometimes I want him to snuggle and even offers it on occasion but he’s not terribly comfortable with it and only does it because I like it. He is my demo dog during orientation for my classes and on one such orientation a family had brought a young boy (maybe 7). During the orientation I let Rio mingle and say hi to everyone (with their permission) because he is so calm and gentle with people (which is why no one believes me that he’s a monster!). Well Rio came to the 7yr old and before I knew it, the kid just full-on wraps his arms around Rio’s neck and practically hangs there.. Rio shot a look at me and licked his lips. I calmly told the boy that dogs don’t like hugs and to, instead, pet his chest. I jackpotted Rio after he released his grip. I was impressed… for a dog who doesn’t even liked being hugged by me, he was really good with this kid.
This isn’t an entirely accurate photograph… he was spying squirrels in the yard, but he was stiff, ears back, tightly closed mouth, and leaning away from the hug. He’s really not pleased to be hugged (partially because I interrupted his squirrel watching to take the photo) but he tolerates my antics and lets me get in a squeeze though he’d rather I didn’t.
So yes, most dogs DO NOT LIKE HUGS even by their own handlers… there are indeed some dogs who enjoy the embrace and try to get hugs every opportunity they can!