DOG lovers have been trying to convince the rest of the world for years that a cuddle with your pooch is the best way out there to beat the blues, and there have even been reports that a hug with a dog is good for health.
Human health, that is. Now it turns out, according to a new study, that while possibly good for us, hugging dogs is bad for them.
The study, by Dr Stanley Coren, a canine expert and professor of psychology from the University of British Columbia, analysed pictures of dogs being cuddled by both adults and children and reported that eight out of 10 showed visible signs of anxiety or stress.
The reason, which animal experts have actually been trying to point out for years, is simple: they feel trapped and unable to run away.
While humans often mistakenly read physical signs they receive from dogs as they would read them in another human, dogs communicate differently. One example is lip licking. While we could think it means the dog is hungry or satisfied after a meal, it is really an early signal of discomfort in a situation.
Other things behaviour experts say dogs may not like anywhere near as much as we think they do are:
1. Petting them on the head – many dogs dislike this as they can’t see where your hand is going, which worries them.
2. Picking them up constantly – just because you can pick a puppy or small dog up doesn’t mean you should. It is an invasion of their space and can upset them.
3. Staring into their eyes- dogs can feel threatened by this rather than enamoured as to them it can be taken as trying to start a fight.