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?