Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Recently a controversial news story hit our media – Dogs don’t like cuddles. This report was not well received by most dog owners who have been vocal in their derision of such a statement. The story was born from an article in Psychology Today by Dr Stanley Coren. He researched the principle by looking at 250 photographs of dogs being hugged by their owners which they had then posted online. He considered the photographs looking for signs of stress in the dog and found that “81.6% of the photographs researchers scored showed dogs who were giving off at least one sign of discomfort, stress, or anxiety.”
Signs of stress include flattening of the ears, the dog’s head being turned away to avoid eye contact and half moon eyes. The Kennel Club and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home also advise against treating dogs like humans.
The statement “Dogs don’t like cuddles” has become a mantra in our house, sarcastically said every time our cocker spaniel, Angel Cassiel (Cassie for short) climbs up on our laps, cwches (sorry welsh word for a cuddle) in our arms and falls asleep.
There is a school of thought that suggests that the reason dogs allow us to cuddle them, even though they are uncomfortable with it, is because they want to make us feel better. So they are doing it for our benefit not theirs.
As with all reports, perhaps if viewed with a little common sense, we can learn something from it. Dogs, like people, deserve to be treated with respect, and we should work on building a relationship with others, be that human or animal, that takes into account their needs as much as our own. And if our dogs wants to demand our attention by pushing any hand held device off our laps, curling up and staring into our eyes to stop us looking at the television until they fall asleep, then who are we to stop them