At the end of a tough day something that can always cheer you up is your dog excitedly rushing up to greet you at the door. It’s such a good feeling that of course we want to return the affection and give them a big ol hug, but apparently this could be the last thing our puppy pals want.
Heartbreaking, am I right!?
While we may adore showering our furry companions with hugs, a vet says this could unintentionally be causing them stress.
Psychologist Stanley Coren explains that while hugging is a sign of love and warmth between humans, it doesn't necessarily translate the same way for our canine friends.
As Coren says, dogs are ‘cursorial animals’:
“Dogs are technically cursorial animals, which is a term that indicates that they are designed for swift running,”
“That implies that in times of stress or threat, the first line of defence that a dog uses is not his teeth, but rather his ability to run away.”
And our oh-so-innocent hug could feel quite immobilising to them, increasing their stress levels, and leaving them feeling trapped and anxious.
We might not even be seeing the signs as they can often be quite subtle. Not just for obvious bared teeth but little eye and ear movements, breaking eye contact, and lowered or slick-backed ears.
So just keep an eye on your pooch - they may love the big snuggles, or maybe they just prefer a little fist bump!