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Experts Say That Hugging Your Dog Is Bad For Them And We Are Not Happy About It

If you own a dog, puppy, or forever-a-puppy, then you know they are more than simply a pet, or animal that hangs around the house. They are a part of your family, and should therefore get the same love and respect for being part of your home unit.

This means that you want to show them the same affection you would a small child, but apparently the occasional pat on the head or belly rub is about as far as you should go to showing that care, for their sake.

Because even though our doting canines may appear to enjoy the embrace, often times it is more patience than enthusiasm.

"I've never seen a dog who — when you hug them — they stand up and wag their tail and they're so excited." says dog-cognition scientist Dr. Alexandra Horowitz. "They do something else. They deal with it, you know?"

Many dog owners have butted heads on this issue for a while now, and it's understandable why they may have strong feelings on the subject. Everyone wants to show their dog love, especially since we can't just tell them. But what is so bad with hugging?

So why do people think dogs don't like being hugged?

"[It's] because of what they look like when you're hugging them," says Horowitz. "They pin their ears back, they lick their lips (sort of air licking). Or they yawn, which is another stress behavior. Or they move to get away. Or they show this kind of whale-eye posture — you can see the whites of their eyes. They show behavior that's like, 'This is uncomfortable.'"

It makes sense. You're much bigger than your dog and putting them in a hold may seem threatening or constraining to an animal who doesn't really understand the concept of a 'hug', per se.

So at best, if your dog loves you, they will put up with your 'weird squeezing,' but they're not thrilled about it. So how should you show your affection?

Still make sure to pet and cuddle with your dog, this is the sort of social attachment behavior that they understand. Playing with them is also important. Dogs love to play, run around, and generally stay active, and rewarding them with it is healthy both emotionally and physically.

The best rule to follow is this: when does your dog look their happiest?

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