Is cuddling your dog safe and does your dog like it?

Cuddling with your dog how nice is that! You have put your arms around your dog and he is lying with his warm body against you.
Together on the couch, your dog gives you a paw and pushes his nose against your hand. He loves to cuddle!
You also give him a kiss. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

You have dogs that like to cuddle with you. You have dogs that like to be petted. And you have dogs that serve in cuddle therapy.

Give your dog a hug as a reward. Cuddling with your dog to show you love him. Isn’t it delicious! HOWEVER…?

Cuddling with your dog is… Adorable! Horrible! Irresponsible! Sweet!

The images of children, cuddling with a dog. Which often circulate on the internet and on social media. Those are the images of children, who walk up to a dog with open arms and give him a big hug (with maybe a wet kiss). These photos elicit the most diverse reactions, from the ooohhhs ¨ and ¨aaahhhs, to “irresponsible”, “dangerous” or “horrible”.
How is that possible? That one and the same image can evoke different reactions?
Often the discussion about it gets very heated… but why?

Are you cuddly?

Some people like to cuddle and others don’t. For example, the people who like to cuddle do so when wishing a happy new year with old and new. Or with birthdays, that they congratulate the birthday boy and hug them. These people are already cuddling around the parties, wonderful!

But there are also people who think just giving a hand (physical contact) is enough. Cuddling with their partner is okay.
But with a neighbor, or a neighbor, or a colleague…. No, not that again.
And then you have people who are not very cuddly in their relationships. Just being together is good enough for them.

Also Read: Dog training; the 10 best training tips for your dog!

Is one better or more normal than the other? No of course not! It’s just where your preferences lie.
You’re not much of a hugger then. You try to avoid hugging. You subtly indicate that you don’t like it very much.
Or you say it honestly to the person who wants to touch you. And you expect your personal zone to be respected.
If not, you actually find it a bit antisocial.

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One dog likes to cuddle and the other really doesn’t…

Some dogs love to cuddle. While giving another dog a paw already finds a lot of hassle. Another dog loves being with his owner, but a stranger shouldn’t touch him because that leads to growling and snapping. And yet another dog undergoes the cuddling, he shuts himself off and just lets it happen.

The problem is that our image of a dog has become less and less realistic; because a dog must be a dog. And we sometimes want to make a dog into a kind of fluffy person with human behavior.

Is one dog better or more normal than another? No of course not!
Dogs also have their preferences. And why hug your dog if he doesn’t like it? You don’t do that with a friend or colleague who clearly indicates that you don’t like it?

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Why shouldn’t your dog like to cuddle?

Hugging is “human behavior”. So for a dog it is already something, which for them is a “foreign language”. In canine language, a “hug” (hitting their front paws around something and then clenching) is a threat. A form of coercion. Sexual behavior or possessiveness. So your dog should learn that in our language a hug is not meant to be a declaration of war.

In dog language, “hugging” is, therefore, a threatening act. When you wrap your arms around your dog, hold him and hang him over your dog, you are not saying “I love you”, but rather “I’m going to kick you up”. Just like in different human languages, sometimes the same word can mean something completely different. And with this you can unknowingly hurt someone terribly. And by a counter-reaction, you can get hurt yourself…

cuddle with my dog

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I just want to show that I love my dog!

It is very understandable that you love your dog. But that’s not something your dog can easily understand. But, you also have dogs that like cuddling and learn to appreciate it. If your puppy is taken into human hands a lot from birth. And if you have pleasant experiences with cuddly toys, your puppy can accept cuddling more easily at a later age.

A puppy who has missed a socialization of groping, lifting, cuddling and petting. This can lead to a serious backlog.
Even with dogs that have been rehomed, you have to realize that no matter how much you want to shower them with love, you have to handle them with care.

Show that you love your dog by teaching him to understand and be patient.
Respect his personal preferences.
By training with him, with your voice and attitude. And you give him a pat when he likes it.

Do not force your dog into physical contact!

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A dog shows what he thinks of cuddling

Suppose you give your dog a hug and he growls at you. Well say! You are his boss, you love him and he loves you, right?
And yet he growls? How do you react then? Do you get angry? Are you taking it? Are you recoiling? Do you think he is unreliable?

How do you react? If you want to hug your partner or your child. And he or she says “oh, not right now”. Do you get angry too?
Or do you think, he is suddenly very unreliable?
Oh no?

It’s okay if your dog, your husband, your wife, or your child won’t want to cuddle and say “not right now”.
With people, it is often a bit “easier” to opt for the cuddle moments, but with dogs, it is sometimes less.

dog growls with hugs

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But my dog ​​won’t growl or snap!

No, that usually doesn’t happen. Your dog often says it in a more subtle way, by saying “hey, I don’t like this very much right now”.
Only we humans often miss the smaller “no” and only understand it when your dog says “NO!!! TO HOLD UP!!! NOW!!!”.
Every conversation consists of saying something and the other party’s reaction to it. Likewise with dogs.

The signals your dog uses to say: not now

  • Your dog turns its head away from you.
  • Your dog quickly sticks out his tongue.
  • Your dog may yawn.
  • Your dog leans away from you.
  • Your dog’s whites of eyes are visible.
  • Your dog is panting.
  • Your dog will growl at you or stare at you. This is really serious and means, STOP NOW!
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Hugging a strange dog

If your own dog doesn’t like to cuddle. Might it be a good plan to treat other people’s dogs with a nice hug!
Or maybe not?
For most people, it’s hard enough to know whether or not your own dog needs to cuddle.
And cuddling with a strange dog is different because it can give you different kinds of signals that you may misunderstand.

Suppose you go to visit and a dog comes walking towards you. He jumps against you with his front paws and stands against you with a penetrating look in his eyes. You think, nice, let me give this sweetheart a hug¨. But… the dog is a yard dog, who takes guarding the yard very seriously.
And has stood up to you because he sees you as a threat.
So the dog has warned you to “Don’t move!”

bite incident-dog-child

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Get a hug

A lot of owners are so proud of that. Look, my dog ​​allows everything. I can do anything with him. My kid can sit on him and he doesn’t growl.
The neighbors’ children are pulling at his ears and he only beeps once.
What a nice dog! The grandchildren also love him so much, because they can sit on top of him and lie down in his basket together.
Surprise… there’s nothing nice about this.

That your dog feels so pressured and that he doesn’t dare to run away or warn is nothing to be proud of.
You, as your dog’s owner, must protect him. This also means that you make sure that he is not being rolled over (literally and figuratively).
First of all, you are responsible for your dog’s well-being. Second, because even the most submissive dogs can get tired of it once.

What experience do you have with cuddling with your dog? Does your dog like it or does he prefer not to? Let us know in your comment below the blog.

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Example of a “Cuddle Conversation”

After a walk, your dog is still playing in the room. You walk over to him and bend over to give him a hug.
So this is “don’t do it” your dog stops playing and there is a little more tension in his body.
You bend further towards your dog and your dog turns on its back. You think “oh, he wants to have his tummy stroked”. While your dog means “Look, I’m being submissive because you bend over me and I find that a bit exciting”.
A little closer to your dog and you wrap your arms around him. He turns his head away and may lick his muzzle quickly.
You think “oh he likes it so much”, your dog basically shows 2 clear stress signals (looking away and tonguing) because he finds it very unpleasant now.

Now there are 4 follow-up options;

  • Your dog will still relax and it will be a great petting session.
  • Maybe your dog is getting the hug, but not enjoying it.
  • Growling is a definite “please stop so I don’t have to bite you”.
  • Your dog snaps or bites without growling (this often happens when growling has been previously punished!).

dog bites child

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And if your dog bites and it is a child…?

Children are even less handy at having a conversation than adults. If you, as an adult, easily translate your dog’s language “wrong”. Then I don’t think you can expect a child to do this perfectly.

Children like to cuddle, they like to give kisses to dogs. For the most part, the biting incidents are caused by an own dog, or by a family dog, which bites a child in the face. You don’t want that!

One of the problems is that children and dogs have a very hard time putting themselves in another place.
A child can also inadvertently hurt your dog.

So, NEVER leave your dog unattended with a child and vice versa.

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How can I hug my dog?

  • Ask your dog to come to you.
  • Make sure your dog can always run away. So never, for example, hold your dog by the collar or clamp your dog with your arms.
  • When you pet your dog and you stop. Does he ask for more? Or does he run away? Or does he just sit there?
  • Pay close attention to these stress signals: looking away, stiffening, licking the muzzle, ears back, the whites of the eyes visible, panting or holding a front leg in the air. When in doubt, stop petting!
  • Give children a good example and guidance in what is and is not allowed.
  • Never leave children and dogs together unsupervised.
  • If your dog isn’t much of a hugger, respect that and do other things that make you both happy!

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