Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Dogs Like Hugs? How To Hug Them the Right Way

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

smiling woman hugging her german shepherd dog

Dogs are a part of the family for many people and are often considered to be man’s best friend. It is important to show dogs how much you care for them and one way to do that is by hugging them. But, do dogs like hugs? And is there a good way to hug a dog?

According to experts, most dogs like it when we show them physical affection. Dogs need love, just like people do. They need to be shown affection regularly in order to feel secure and appreciated. There are many different ways to show your dog affection, such as giving them a pat on the head or scratching them behind the ears. Hugging is just one way to show your dog that you love them and that they are important to you. Remember, some dogs may love getting hugs from their humans, while others may not be too keen on them. It largely depends on the individual dog’s personality. Read on to find out everything you need to know about hugging your dog before trying it out!

divider 9

How To Hug A Dog The Right Way

Hugging a dog the right way is important to ensure that both the human and the dog receive the most benefit from the hug. If you are going to hug your dog, it is important that you put your arms around the dog’s neck and torso and not around the dog’s legs. By doing this, you can give the dog a hug without squeezing them too tightly. It also allows you to pet the dog on its back, which is a gesture of affection that many dogs enjoy.

Get down to the dog’s level. This will make them feel more comfortable and show that you are not threatening. Next, open your arms wide and lean in slowly and give the dog a gentle hug. Make sure not to squeeze too tight. Hold the hug for a few seconds, then slowly release. Give the dog some love and attention after the hug. This will show that you care about them! Hugging dogs is a great way to show your love for them, and it makes them feel happy and loved.

a woman hugging her aging German Shepherd mix dog
Image Credit: Christin Lola, Shutterstock

Signs That Your Dog Does Not Like Being Hugged

There are many signs that can indicate that a dog does not like being hugged. One sign is that the dog may try to escape from the hug by squirming or pushing away from the person. Alternatively, your dog might be tense or stiff when you hug them. Another sign is that the dog may exhibit defensive behavior such as growling, barking, scratching, or nipping. Additionally, a dog may show signs of anxiety such as panting, drooling, or hiding. Lastly, a dog may yawn or even curl up in a ball when they are feeling uncomfortable. Your dog might also be showing other signs of stress, such as avoiding eye contact or shaking.

Most Dogs Don’t Like Hugs

Some dogs may be very affectionate and enjoy being hugged by their owners, while others may find it uncomfortable or even threatening. Dogs that do not like hugs may feel restrained or trapped by the hug, or they may interpret the gesture as a sign of dominance or aggression. It is important to observe your dog’s body language and listen to their vocalizations to determine whether they enjoy being hugged or not.

Do Dogs Hug Each Other?

When dogs interact, they do not embrace each other. One of two scenarios can lead to them grappling each other, either play fighting or real fighting. A dog doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say when you hug them. You’re essentially preventing them from reacting to anything that scares them or makes them uncomfortable while they are in your arms. In addition, because hugging is often accompanied by direct staring and putting your face next to the dog’s, your actions may be perceived as aggressive. It’s no wonder many dogs don’t like it.

two border collies hugging in the studio
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

What Should I Do If My Dog Doesn’t Like Being Hugged?

There can be a variety of reasons why a dog may not like to be hugged. Some dogs may feel uncomfortable or trapped when hugged, while others may simply not enjoy being touched in that way. If your dog does not like being hugged, it is important to respect their wishes and avoid doing so. You can still express your love for your pet by giving them other forms of affection, such as petting them, feeding them, or playing with them.

What Are Some Other Ways to Show My Dog Affection?

There are many ways to show your dog affection, but some of the most common include verbal praise, petting, and feeding them treats. Dogs often enjoy playing fetch or other games of physical activity with their owners, and simply spending time with their human pack leader is often reward enough. Some dogs also appreciate having their nails trimmed, being brushed, or getting a bath.

What Dog Breeds Are Most Affectionate?

There is no definitive answer to this question as what constitutes an “affectionate” dog breed varies from person to person. However, many people tend to find breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors to be especially affectionate due to their friendly and outgoing personalities. Other breeds that are often considered to be especially cuddly and loving include the Welsh Corgi, the Bichon Fries, the Shih Tzu, and the Pug. These breeds tend to crave human companionship and often enjoy being petted and hugged by their owners.

young girl with white golden retriever
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

What Dog Breeds Are Least Affectionate?

The answer to this question as it depends on the individual dog’s personality. However, some breeds are generally considered to be less affectionate than others. These breeds may be more independent and self-sufficient and may not require or seek out as much physical affection from their owners as other breeds. ​​The degree of aloofness varies from dog to dog. Some breeds may be less affectionate than others due to their personality traits, but there is no guarantee that all dogs of a certain breed will be less affectionate than other breeds.

It is important to remember that each dog is an individual and should be treated as such. However, some dog breeds are typically more aloof than others, such as the Chow Chow, Samoyed, and Akita. These breeds may be less inclined to warm up to strangers and may prefer to keep their distance.

Why Do Dogs Like Physical Affection From Humans?

Dogs have a strong need for physical affection and contact. This may be due to the fact that dogs are pack animals and crave social interaction. In addition, physical touch releases oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” because it promotes feelings of happiness and bonding. Human interaction, including petting and hugging, can therefore make dogs feel happy and content. In addition, petting a dog can help reduce stress and anxiety in the person petting them. For all these reasons, it’s no surprise that dogs love getting physical affection from their human friends!

How Do Dogs Show Physical Affection to Their Owners?

Dogs communicate their affection to their owners through various physical means. One way they may do this is by licking the owner’s face. This is often seen as a sign of love and appreciation. Dogs may also wag their tails, press their bodies against the owner, or rest their head in the owner’s lap. All of these behaviors communicate a desire for closeness and companionship.

Why Is My Dog Grooming Me?

There could be a variety of reasons why your dog is grooming you. Dogs may groom their owners as a sign of trust and affection, or to show that they are in control. Some dogs may groom compulsively if they are anxious or stressed, while others may do it because they enjoy the sensation of licking and nibbling on human skin. In some cases, excessive grooming of others can be a sign of a medical problem in the dog, such as fleas, allergies, or skin infections. They may also groom their owners as a way to ask for help with a task, such as getting rid of an insect or removing a thorn from their paws. Grooming can also be a sign of submission or dominance, depending on the dog’s relationship with its owner.

How Do Dogs Show Physical Affection Toward Other Dogs?

There are many ways that dogs show physical affection to other dogs. They might nuzzle or nudge each other, lick each other’s faces, or put their heads on each other’s shoulders. They might also rub their bodies against each other or flank each other. Often, they will stand very close to one another and stare into each other’s eyes. This type of behavior is often called “mutual gazing.”

As well as showing affection, each of these behaviors is thought to serve a secondary purpose in terms of dog-to-dog communication. Licking, for example, is often seen as a sign of submission or appeasement, while tail wagging can communicate friendliness, excitement, or dominance. Nudging is often used by dominant dogs to get subordinates to move out of the way.

Divider 5


In conclusion, it would appear that most dogs do not enjoy hugs. This is not to say that you should never hug your dog, but rather that you should do so sparingly. If your dog seems to enjoy being hugged, go ahead and hug them, but if they appear to be uncomfortable, stop. After all, the last thing you want to do is force your dog to do something they don’t want to do. This is likely because they do not understand what a hug is and why they are being hugged. If you want to show your dog love, there are other ways to do so that are much more effective and will likely make your dog happier.

Featured Image Credit: Sam Wordley, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database