This is why dogs don’t like cuddles

We’re going to need some time to process this news…

We’re going to need some time to process this news…

We hate to ruin your day but we have some very upsetting news… dogs hate hugs.

Yes, it’s true, and the bombshell is devastating dog lovers across the globe.

Most of us are at our happiest in the company of our pets, our arms wrapped tightly around them in a big cuddle. But according to new scientific research, our furry friends don’t feel the same way. In fact, they actively dislike hugs.

Don’t worry, we’re crying right now too.

Cats hating hugs wouldn’t have hit us so hard – they’re complex creatures that delight in being antisocial, but dogs – well they’re the affectionate ones that are supposed to love us unconditionally and look forward to a post-work love-in as much as we do, right?

So why do dogs hate cuddles? Well, apparently it makes them feel claustrophobic. Dogs are cursorial mammals and their instinct when scared is to run. By directly limiting their ability to do so with a hug raises their stress and anxiety levels considerably.

According to a recent study published in Psychology Today, 82% of dogs showed heightened signs of stress and anxiety when hugged. And it doesn’t stop there – it turns out that dogs are actually threatened by a lot of what we do: patting their heads, letting them sniff our hands, smiling at them – all of this behaviour translates as menacing to our beloved pups. We feel so guilty now!

So then how come our dogs allow us to cuddle them? Well it turns out that dogs hug us back for one very sweet and simple reason: because we love it and because they love us. Isn’t that the cutest sacrifice ever?

So now that we know the facts, how can we avoid panicking our pooches? Look out for the stress signs: flattened ears, the whites of the eyes showing and heads turned away. If your pup is visibly anxious, opt for another approach to show your affection. There are plenty of petting techniques that dogs would welcome with open paws: ear scratches, chins tickles and of course good old verbal praise.

We still wish that they loved hugs though…

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.