Are dogs unaffectionate or is your affection all wrong?
The myth about dogs not liking to be hugged
The first time I sat next to the Pit Bull mix to pet her, she hopped off of one couch and moved to another couch. Then I tried laying beside her on the floor. She whined and scooted away. I shrugged and figured she just wasn’t that into me. But when I went to sleep, she army crawled under my bed. When I went to the bathroom, she sat outside of the door. When I sat on the couch again, she laid sideways on the couch next to me, with her butt making contact with my thigh. She clearly wanted to be around me. She just didn’t really want me to touch her.
This was interesting, primarily because one of the first few dogs I walked on Wag! was a purebred Pit Bull. As soon as I opened the crate door, that dog leaped into the air and licked my lips before I could stop her. I responded the way Lucy van Pelt does when Snoopy licks her: “Ugh, dog germs.” And she tried to do it again. Same breed, exact opposite reaction to affection. The only thing these two had in common was they were both super strong—and one refused to get off of my yoga mat.
Clearly if I got through 500 walks with 84 different dogs (and a 4.98% out of a 5% score), dogs tend to like me.
Those are only two of a zillion examples regarding how varied a dog’s personality can be, specifically when it comes to affection. My first dog couldn’t get enough of me petting him behind his ears and would try to get everyone to do it for hours on end. My second dog was all about being stroked on her back. My third (and current) dog is not at all a fan of people touching her ears, neutral with being stroked on her back, but looks like she’s in Dog Heaven if someone strokes her neck or her belly. And of these five, the last dog is the only one who cannot wait for the opportunity to hug me. This challenges the belief that dogs don’t like to be hugged.
Does my dog like being hugged? Click the image to find out.
Because you just never know what a dog will and won’t like, I’ve practiced these three tips whenever I meet a new dog.