Better yet, walk up to a stranger, plant a wet one right on their lips and try to walk away without getting punched in the face! Ready?? GO!
Okay. Don't really do that. And if you do, don't hold me responsible for what may happen.
It's weird to kiss random people. It's weird to get a kiss from a stranger...
So why is it we often expect our dogs to tolerate these social faux pas?
Dogs should be even more deeply offended than humans considering it's not in their nature to show affection via hugging.
In fact, when a dog wraps their front leg around another's back, it's often a gesture of a take-over - a time when a dog is truly displaying dominance. That explains why when you hug your dog, they may lick their lips, avert their gaze, or look away: they're trying to be appeasing so you'll leave them alone!
But my dog has never complained before!
I'm not really a huggy person. Once I'm comfortable with you I dont mind but there are some people I meet for the first time that give gigantic hugs as if they've known me for ever. **shiver** That makes me feel so uncomfortable and yet people still do it and I let them! I would rather just endure it than make a big stink about it.
Your dog may be the same -- she's just enduring it because she understands that it will soon be over.
How do you know your dog doesn't enjoy it?
Hugging or kissing an unfamiliar dog can have disastrous results! (Being "human-affectionate" with a dog that is familiar with you isn't always safe either!)
Here are some pictures of dogs being hugged and descriptions below them of signs the dog is uncomfortable...
- Tight mouth
- Overall body language is tight
-Eyes look "worried"
- Panting, mouth open
- Whites of the eyes
- Leaning away from the hug
-Whites of the eyes
- Mouth is open
- Leaning away from the hug
But this sucks! I want to show my dog lovin'!
It doesn't necessarily mean you can never be close to your dog - it just means you've got to let them do it on their terms.
Check out this picture of Sarah and me:
I'm pulling her in close...notice how tight the leash is...look at her eyes, her head is turned away from me...she doesn't like being forced to come close to me. I'm also leaned in closer to her...
Here's a minute later, when I wised up:
I loosened the lead and had the person behind the camera make playful noises...my body language is more relaxed, I'm less "all up in her business"...
Sarah is a perfect example of the dog that hates affection but endures it...
Here's my Sarah showing affection on her terms - see, we can still be lovey!
When Kuna was less than 3 months old, I began his handling training - being held, being kissed, being hugged - because I knew he would be around our kids at an age that they have a hard time following instructions. We never leave the kids unsupervised with him but we also wanted to build up a solid and positive history with being hugged so he didn't take offense if they do reach for him.
We've now got a boy who is relaxed when it comes to snuggles (seriously, he turns to jello, throws his head over my shoulder and goes to sleep...). We've worked on this since day one!
Do you have pictures of you hugging your dogs? Can you find any where you can identify your dog's signals as being uncomfortable? Was that something you already knew or did it come as a surprise (as it often does to me when I look through
old all our photos)?