Do Dogs Like Hugs?

Taken from ‘What Dogs Want’ by Mat Ward and Rupert Fawcett (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Do our dogs enjoy cuddles and kisses? Or are these mainly for our benefit? There’s no simple answer to this – it depends very much on the dog and how we approach snuggling up.

what dogs want

We always want to show our dogs just how much we love them, and we tend to do this in ways that come naturally to us – with hugs and kisses. Some dogs find it extremely nerve-racking when humans get face-to-face with them, especially if they’re restrained in a ‘hug’. Others aren’t too bothered and will tolerate our strange invasions of their personal space, and some genuinely seem to love every second of in-your-face smooching.

Consent is crucial: The key to figuring out if your dog is okay with your affection is to do a consent test. Give them the chance to turn away or move off… if they do, they’re probably not enjoying it! Try instead to show your love for them in ways they will enjoy.

Doing it right: Most dogs love physical contact if it’s done in the right way. Let them cuddle into you rather than restraining them with a hug, while you massage their cheeks, neck, chest and back, and behind the ears.

Kids and hugging: Children are particularly keen to hug, kiss and cuddle dogs, so help them understand how to respect your dog’s (and other dogs’) social boundaries. Watch for signs of stress like ‘whale eye’, and step in to help give your dog the space they need. It’s critical kids know not to attempt cuddles with unfamiliar dogs, who can sometimes get scared and bite defensively.

Purchase ‘What Dogs Want’ from Bloomsbury here!

3 thoughts on “Do Dogs Like Hugs?”

    • I love this, I have one chihuahua who is in my face for kisses all the time and one that makes a growly noise if you put your face too close 🤣 but only before 11am after that she accepts kisses. She also has to have breakfast in bed if I want her to eat anything before 11am.


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