Do dogs like being hugged? 11 things you need to know

Do dogs like being hugged? What's the best way to hug a dog? You can find the answers to these and other questions about hugging your dog in this article.
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One of the most common questions that new dog parents ask themselves is whether or not their dog likes being hugged. Of course, we know that humans like being hugged, but does our pet? 

Let’s find out.

Do Dogs Like Being Hugged?

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The simple answer is no. Dogs don’t like to be hugged at all. While hugging your dog, you take it into your arms and give it a little squeeze. In other words, you overpower your dog by putting him into your arms. Dogs don’t like to be hugged because they don’t like to be overpowered.

While a dog may tolerate a hug, you will notice that his body is becoming stiff or still. The stiffness is his way of showing displeasure. Hence, don’t force a hug on your dog.

However, dogs do like to be cuddled without being hugged. If you want to show your affection to the dog, do a belly rub or a back scratch. But never approach it with open arms for a hug.

Do Dogs Know What a Hug Means?

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Naturally, dogs aren’t built to properly give a hug to their fellow dogs. Since dogs cannot hug other dogs, they certainly don’t understand what a hug means.

When danger of any kind approaches, the dog’s first response is to run and hide in a safe place. They always want to be in a position to secure themselves. Such situations that take away their ability to hide are unpleasant for dogs. Hugging is one such situation.

While the dog is being hugged, he feels powerless. Being in the arms of someone takes his chance of running away away from him. And that is precisely the reason why dogs don’t understand what a hug is.

Can Hugging a Dog Stress Him Out?

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Humans love to embrace each other. If we want to show our affection to someone, we go for a hug. But the same might not be true for our canine friends. Dogs don’t like to be hugged, and it has been observed that hugging can actually leave a profound negative effect on your dog in the form of stress.

Hugging is a way of handling your dog, and bad handling can lead to fear, stress and anxiety. If you observe that while you hug your dog, it starts yawning, trembling, backing away, stiffening, growling, lunging or biting, it may be showing clear signs of stress.

Is It Dangerous to Hug Your Dog?

Dogs don’t appreciate hugs. They might consider that you are overpowering them while they are in your arms. Some dogs strongly dislike being hugged more than others.

While you give your dog a hug, you have to place your face near his head. Considering that dogs already dislike being hugged, placing your head near his can put you in jeopardy and can also result in an accidental injury.

To avoid any such scenario, it is better not to try and hug your dog.

Can I Hug My Dog From Behind?

The answer to approaching your canine friend physically from behind is a simple no. First of all, dogs don’t appreciate being hugged. And doing it from behind is catching them by surprise.

No matter how much your dog loves physical attention, never approach a dog from behind. The correct way to interact with a dog is by going face to face with him.

What Dog Breeds Like Being Cuddled?

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There are many dog breeds that love to be cuddled. These dogs might not strongly mind even if you offer them a hug. But it is still not advised to offer unwanted hugs to dogs. However, the breeds that love to be cuddled are:

  1. Golden Retriever
  2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  3. Pomeranian
  4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  5. Newfoundland

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - What Breed is My Dog How to Identify ANY Dog Breed - Is my dog a pure breed (4)

Why Does My Dog Lick Me When I Go Near Him?

Licking is how dogs show their affection. Dogs can lick humans, and they can lick other dogs to express their love. If you go near your dog and it starts licking you, it is because your dog is showing his affection that you being near him makes him feel loved.

Is It Bad to Hug Your Dog?

Generally, dogs don’t like to be hugged. So, if you hug him, it might be a bad thing for your dog. Hugging can even lead to stress, tension and depression in your dog. This is a bad way to handle your pet, and you should avoid doing it.

Do Dogs Feel Love When You Hug Them?

Dogs are not big fans of a hug. They are not made to hug other dogs. A dog putting his leg over another dog is the closest thing to a hug for dogs. Even this is considered to be an overpowering behavior for a dog if a limb is placed over his body. Dogs certainly don’t like a squeeze and they don’t feel loved when you hug them.

Do Dogs Like Being Cuddled?

Yes. Dogs love to be cuddled. But there are certain ways in which they appreciate being cuddled, and hugging your dog is unfortunately not one of them. Dogs love patting or rubbing on their bellies. They also like back scratching and other forms of physical contact that do not involve them being overpowered by you.

Can I Train My Dog to Tolerate a Hug?

Some dogs don’t strongly dislike hugs. Such dogs can be given a very gentle hug. If you have found out that your dog does not show any signs of displeasure but actually enjoys a hug, you can train him. Start by calming him first. A gentle cuddle around the belly would do. Afterwards, give a very mild hug and release him before he knows it.


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Dogs don’t like to be overpowered, and this is why they don’t tolerate hugs. They think that by giving him a hug, you are overpowering them. Some dogs strongly dislike hugs; others might tolerate mild ones.

However, dogs love to be cuddled. By cuddling a dog, you can show him your affection. Never force a hug on your dog, as it can be dangerous.

Good luck.

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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