Hugging Dogs and Humping People

No Hugging No Humping
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Dogs Don’t Like to Be Hugged – People Don’t Like to Be Humped
(explained below)

Recently I posted an article that stated what I’ve been saying for years; “Dogs don’t enjoy being hugged.” I’ve seen so many comments pertaining to this post that I thought I’d write a post to make my position clear.

For those people that have criticized this statement I’d urge you to read the second half of the title of this post. Do people like to be humped? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But I can’t imagine anyone would like to be arbitrarily humped by any one at any time they feel they want to. Would you? What if your friend introduced you to someone and they started humping you or placed you in a headlock and nuggied you? And what if your friend stood by and did nothing?

See: online dog training

To be clear, this article was written by someone who arbitrarily took photos off of the web and analyzed the “signs” dogs were giving and, based on that, deduced that dog’s are uncomfortable being hugged. As the critics grew they suggested that perhaps a scientific study should be done to arrive at a conclusion. I can tell you that a scientific study will do nothing but confuse the issue more. My concern with the “scientific community” when it comes to dog behavior is it is always a sterile lab or experimental setting. I can tell you from experience in the real world (where dogs live and die) that most dogs are uncomfortable being hugged / confined.

Yes, I do hug my dogs, but that being said, I still stay with my point that most dogs don’t enjoy being hugged. Do my dogs enjoy being hugged? Probably! They are my dogs and I am hugging them. They have a clear picture of who I am and what I represent to them. They come to me, they nudge me for affection and I give it to them. Conversely, I also correct them, train them and control them in almost every aspect of their lives. They listen to whatever I say. I tell them who they can play with (even each other), what they can and can’t do, who they can play with, bite, what they can eat, when and where to walk and a host of other things. They are 100% clear that I am their leader and they are 100% safe with me.

Now, to address the topic of this article – Dog’s Don’t Like to Be Hugged! Most of the time this hugging is done by an out of control child that climbs on top of a dog and strangles the dog’s neck or lays on top of it. Dog notoriously see children as equals no matter how many videos you see of children training or controlling dogs. Dogs are not stupid and know that because of the child’s size they can easily admonish and / or control the child. For that reason alone it makes children hugging dogs dangerous. The other people you’ll always see hugging a dog is the “Dog loving stranger, who knows so much about dogs.”

What makes the hugging situation so dangerous is it eliminates an important choice a dog can make when they feel stressed – namely the ability to flee. Every animal has a fight or flight mechanism that keeps them alive. If we feel threatened our instincts will enable the fight or flight drive. Because of the way dogs have evolved, most dogs will flee from pressure; that is they will run away when they feel pressured, threatened or scared. Protection dogs are trained early on to fight when they feel pressured; this goes against the DNA of the average pet dog. Containing a dog by wrapping your arms around his neck forces his decision to fight if he feels uncomfortable. Why? Because he cannot get away. And there are plenty of warning signs that people often don’t’ see.

Countless times I’ve worked with dogs in the shelter or clients’ dogs that have bitten and people will say, “He bit out of no where.” That is rarely, if ever, the case. There is always a warning sign. And for those of you who have trained with me at the Bound Angels University you’ve see that I will correct a dog before most anyone sees what is about to happen. This preventative correction almost always shapes a dog’s behavior and allows him to stay in playgroups or work through the issue that might be underlying.

A question that someone asked was how does hugging dogs differ from the Thundershirt that I often recommend for stressed dogs. If you’ve read the above and understand what it is that triggers the dog, it’s not always the hug, but the dog’s inability to get away. A Thundershirt doesn’t hug the dog, rather it “swaddles” him and makes him comfortable, it does not restrict his movement – it allows him to come and go as he pleases. And for the dogs that the Thundershirt helps, it’s a fantastic tool, there are also the percentage of dogs that don’t benefit from the shirt at all.

Another issue people stated is that “their dogs enjoy hugs and even seek them out.” This might be legitimately true. If that is the case I’d compare it to a person who enjoys hugs and affection from their partner, but then have them be accosted by countless strangers hugging them and cuddling them.

Hugging a dog, in particular one you don’t know is clearly a violation of the dog’s private space.

I have seen many clients get a new dog and their children run up to the dog, grab the dog around the neck and squeeze. I can tell you that EVERY one of those dogs showed me warning signs that I then expressed to the adults. For the parents that brushed it off, I in turn brushed them off and refused to work with them! I will not be a part of a training that is set up to fail. If a parent can’t discipline their child, they won’t discipline their dog – and this is a failure waiting to happen. Furthermore they are not being fair to their dog and that is the greatest injustice of all.

Loving a dog involves giving a dog what they need, not what we think they want.

Over and over I see pictures of people in the shelter hugging and kissing shelter dogs – Cute picture, but a recipe for disaster. Why? Simple, dogs play with their mouths, we play with our hands. If a dog likes the affection and wants to reciprocate, they will do so with the only tool they have – their mouths. When they do this, at the very least there will be a scrape or tear on your skin. In the shelter this is an automatic “bite quarantine.” In the home this is usually a dog’s death sentence when an ignorant parent says, the dog bit my child’s face.

If you really care about your dog, or dogs in general, please understand what I am saying and what so many other professionals say about hugging dogs, it’s just not fair, in particular when you don’t know the dog or when a child or stranger does it. It is unfair to “make a dog” accept this. Similar to the people who beat the crap out of baby tigers so that people can later sit next to them and take a picture, then one day the tiger has had enough and kills a person. Any animal, human or other, if made to do something they are uncomfortable with may eventually snap.

So the issue here boils down to if we want to set dogs up to fail or succeed. Dogs (and most other animals) are doomed in this world because they fall under the thumb of (often times) ignorant people. To know what a dog wants, is akin to assuming you know what other people are thinking. You might be right, but more often than not, you’re way off. It’s my position to get you to think, if only for a moment, of what might be in the best interest of the dog. How well do you know the dog you just rescued, bought, adopted or met? Are you a psychic? Why not err on the side of caution and on the side of the dog’s best interest. Instead of hugging a dog, give a dog what they really want, respect, love and a chance at a happy forever life. Control your children and your own desires for the sake of the dog that you love so much. And, if your dog does love to be hugged by you, hug him, but don’t let others do it to him and don’t do it to someone else’s dog or worse yet –

Don’t Hug a Dog You Don’t Know!

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