A lot of us, pet parents, as the picture clearly shows, love to hug our dogs, but please make sure that you are doing this properly or your dog, yes your own dog, can bite you. A hug to us, humans, just means a physical expression of our feelings and we enjoy doing it, but to a dog a hug means invasion of personal space and dominance. If you enjoy hugging your dog, like most of us do, please be aware of the following:
- A dog sees a hug as a sign of dominance
- Hug your dog after your daily walk. Both of you will be tired and he’ll be less likely to fight back your hug because he is too tired to do it
- Do not surprise your dog. Allow him to see where you are coming from so he does not get fearful of your movements
- Praise him after you hug him. You could even offer him a treat so he can associate a hug with a treat and as such this would become a pleasant experience
Aside from being careful, and this is very important, please be gentle when hugging your dog. If you have a pit bull like Kingston, the beautiful boy in the picture, that is very affectionate and craves attention and hugs and weighs around 70lbs. then I’d venture to say, yes hug him. Do not hug any dog that you know for sure does not like such attention regardless of the breed. Now, if on the other hand, your dog is a little dog barely weighing 10 lbs., I beg you to please hug him gently. A 70 lbs. dog and a 10 lbs. dog need to be handled differently. Yes, dogs are adorable and I do understand your desire to show him affection, but do it carefully and gently. Cynthia is famous for hugging our dog, Alex, hard. A few times when she hugged her too hard, Alex whimpered in pain, and let’s not forget that she weighs 45 lbs. therefore she is not a little dog, but she never has attempted to bite her. Instead she walks away from Cynthia and comes straight to me with a face that I’d venture to say is telling me, “Ouch! Could you please tell her that it is ok to hug me, but to be a little gentle because I am a skinny girl and her hugs hurt me?”
If you pay attention to the picture, I think Alex is actually relieved that the object of Cynthia’s affection happens to be Kingston and not her.
By the way, I am not advising pet parents not to hug their dogs. Au contraire, show your dog how much you love him, but please do it nicely, that’s all.