Feel Good

Go Ahead and Hug Your Dog

A counterpoint to the "dogs hate hugs" story

BY April 28, 2016

In case you missed it, a flurry of news reports came out a few days ago saying the unthinkable: Dogs don’t like hugs.

What?! People love hugging their dogs. But the feeling isn’t mutual?

The debate started when a professor published an article in Psychology Today saying that hugs actually stress dogs out. After searching through a couple hundred photos of owners hugging their dogs, he found that most of the pooches showed signs of annoyance in the pics—wide-eyed expressions, a struggle to get away or other things most people do, too, when they don’t want a big squeeze.

But don’t enact a no-hugging policy yet. As The Washington Post notes, the professor’s study really isn’t a formal one. It’s just a set of “casual observations,” as the professor himself tells the Post. It’s not a peer-reviewed study that was accepted into an esteemed scientific publication. It was an op-ed in a popular science magazine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that a lot more work needs to be done before anyone proves or disproves the science behind dog hugs.

So, go hug your dog. For now.


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