Most humans recognize a hug as a sign of affection and friendship. In an IAMS™ survey*, 83% of dog parents say their dog likes hugs too. But how do dogs feel about them? Bring it in! We’re going to try and get our arms around this question.
Dogs don’t like hugs: Spoiler alert
Sure, some dogs enjoy a good canine cuddle, but usually only with their owner or household members. Otherwise, they don’t really care for it. “Hugging is too much and overwhelming for many dogs and should be discouraged if the dog doesn’t know the individual very well,” advises
Opens a new windowJames Serpell, B.S., Ph.D., Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
There are a number of reasons for this:
Four legs vs. two
Hugging is a human behavior, not a dog behavior. They’re just not physically built for that kind of interaction. We stand upright, so we face people. Dogs are on all fours, so it’s an unnatural act for them. They much prefer a friendly sniff to greet other dogs.
To dogs, a hug is seen as a very dominant form of behavior; it feels like a stranger is trying to assert control over them. It can be quite stressful, especially if done by someone they’re not familiar with.
Since ancient dog days, canines’ first instinctive line of defense has been to run away from danger. Hugging takes this primal option away and can make them feel trapped and confined. Remember when you were a kid getting hugged by that loud great aunt you’ve never met at your dad’s second cousin’s wedding? That’s kind of what your dog is feeling. Who is this? What are they doing? They want to escape too.
Signs your dog does not like hugs
You can usually tell by their body language, says
Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute: “Watch for trembling, trying to get away, raised hackles or whites around their eyes. It’s very important to pay attention to this behavior and respect it.”
Alternatives to hugging your dog
Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t want to hug it out. There are plenty of healthier ways you can show them you’re still their best friend:
- Pet them or give them a good, relaxing brush.
- Take them on walks or play a game with their favorite toy.
- Give them their favorite food or treats.
- Give them a verbal hug. Tell them they’re a “good boy” or a “good girl.” They never get tired of that.
*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+
Sample Size: n=201
Fielded May 8-10, 2020
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German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most loved breeds in the world! They're incredibly smart, versatile and learn new behaviors quickly. If that wasn't enough, they're also faithful companions that are very protective of their families.
But before you take the leap and adopt a German Shepherd, there are a few things you must know about looking after one. As is the case with raising a dog of any breed, caring for a German Shepherd needs commitment, patience and understanding.
Here's what it takes to care for a German Shepherd:
a. Exercising German Shepherds
German Shepherds are fantastic creatures in every sense, and it is easy to see why. GSDs are naturally energetic and need dedicated time daily to burn it off. They need at least 60minutes of daily physical exercise such as running and playing fetch in a park. A fit dog is a happy dog and one that is exercised regularly will not be happy, but healthy too.
b. Grooming German Shepherds
Be prepared to keep your vacuum cleaner handy. GSDs have thick coats, making them prone to shedding. Grooming your GSD takes time as well. You will need to give your pet a comb down at least 3 times a week. But you won’t need to bathe your dog too often (unless advised to do so by your vet).
c. Dog Food for German Shepherds
To stay healthy and active, German Shepherds require complete and balanced meals that are tailor-made to meet their unique needs. You could try a premium recipe like IAMS™ Proactive Health™ for Adult German Shepherds, which is specially formulated food for German Shepherds. This recipe is a blend of beet pulp and prebiotics (FOS) that supports healthy digestion, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins to support a healthy heart, and Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids to support skin and coat health. We recommend dividing their daily intake into two meals.
SIZE OF GERMAN SHEPHERD
RECOMMENDED DAILY FEEDING (g)
20-30 kg 245-330 30-40 kg 330-410 40-50 kg 410-485 50-60 kg 485-555
d. Diseases German Shepherds are Susceptible to
Like most dog breeds, German Shepherds are prone to diseases as well. But here are a few common diseases they are known to suffer from. Hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, degenerative myelopathy, inherited eye diseases, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, skin and heart disease, and thyroid disease. If you remain dedicated to providing your dog with the right kind of nutrition along with proper exercise, you should be able to keep illness at bay.
Some Facts About German Shepherd Care
German Shepherds are a special breed. They have high energy, are strong and have oodles of stamina. But they also need a lot of attention and activity. If you are away from home frequently or dont have the time to spend exercising or grooming them, then a German Shepherd isn't the right choice for you. So are you ready to start caring for a German Shepherd? Ask yourself these questions before making a decision:
Do I have the time and energy to train my German Shepherd?
Do I have enough space in my home for such a large dog to flourish?
Am I financially stable to care for my GSD if any health issues arise?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you are ready to enjoy an action-packed life with
your furry new friend!
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