Beneful dog food, made by Nestle’ Purina, declared April 10, 2012 National Hug Your Dog Day. It’s a thinly veiled ploy to sell Beneful treats. The marketers who put this concept together must have no idea who dogs actually are, or don’t care. Most dogs don’t like to be hugged. There are so many ways to enjoy your dog that hugging does not need to be one of them. Here are some examples of dogs getting hugged from youtube.
The baby and dog are face to face. The dog is displaying discomfort by looking away, licking his lips, moving away from the hug, yawning, and pinning his ears back. When the dog moves away from the child, he doesn’t go toward the dog until the adult taking the video encourages it. The adult is teaching the child to ignore the dog’s communication. This is a recipe for a bite to the face.
Again, this baby is being encouraged to handle the dog inappropriately. The baby grabs the dog’s face near its eye and no one does anything about it. Then he grabs a handful of lips and chews on the dog’s nose and everyone laughs. The dog leans away from the baby and licks its lips. The dog is being encouraged to be “tolerant” of the baby but at some point may choose not to. This will be one of the times everyone will say, “But they grew up together! I just don’t understand it!”
The dog is obviously uncomfortable. It’s trying to get away, licking its lips, turning way. When it’s being handed to the child multiple times, the ears are back and the weight distribution is away from the child. The child is holding it by the neck which gives the dog a negative association with children this size. Then he leans over the dog and gets in its face. The dog is leaning away, turning away, licking its lips and everyone is laughing.
Mango is being hugged by a worker at the day care. He’s trying to turn away from her face. It looks like he might like being on her lap but doesn’t want his head hugged and she ignores him. My dog wouldn’t go to this day care.
This appears to be three young adults in a dog park petting and hugging strange dogs. Some dogs display appeasement behaviors by leaning away, licking their lips, actively trying to escape, and some are seeking attention. Because of the number of dogs involved, it’s good to watch the whole video. The dogs that come over for attention on their own and are not restrained in any way appear to enjoy the interaction. Because these people don’t know the dogs, it’s a really bad idea to put their faces near the dogs, though.
This dog is NOT enjoying this! Lip licks, showing teeth, lumpy whisker bed, growling, dilated pupils. Even if the dog does come back for more, it has been taught that the owner will ignore all warning signals of discomfort. The only thing left for this dog is to bite, if it truly wants to get out of a situation.
This man has trained his dog, Baxter, to come for a hug. The dog comes on cue and is able to leave when it wants. If you must hug your dog, this is a good example of how to do it.