Canine Body Language – To Hug or Not To Hug

Dog do not naturally like to be hugged. Some learn to enjoy it because of the relationship that we build with them, and they just want to be touched.

Others find it constraining and will only tolerate being hugged by their families, but not enjoy it. A dog may tolerate or enjoy a hug from a loved family member, but may not be comfortable with a stranger hugging him/her. Hugging a strange dog, or one who is uncomfortable can be dangerous because our faces are right at teeth level if the dog should be pushed beyond his/her tolerance and bites. Never hug a strange dog or one you don’t have a very strong relationship with. If you hug your own dog, watch for signs of discomfort. Don’t assume the dog loves the hug. Check out these pictures. You can easily see which dogs are happy with hugs and which are not.

This dog is enjoying the hug. Ears, eyes, mouth relaxed and smiling.1014371_537615129618912_1881240853_n

This dog is not happy at all. Ears back, whale eyed, head held high. To make the dog more comfortable, she needs to move away and give him/her some space.1013698_537615186285573_2123704866_n

This dog is also enjoying the hug. Eyes are squinted closed, closed mouth smile. A dog’s ears can be back in pleasure, or in fear. You need to look at the rest of the dog. The dog is clearly loving the attention.7252_537615166285575_2005172415_n

Look at this dog’s eyes. S/he is not happy. Ears are also back and mouth closed.1004426_537615199618905_1081552543_n

What is this dogs expression telling you.  Enjoying the hug, or not?


What about this dog?  Loving it or uncomfortable?222418_537615329618892_1825124760_n

And this one?934995_537615172952241_332733982_n