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Study Says Dogs Hate Hugs

LOS ANGELES ( — If you like to hug your dog, the feeling may not be mutual, according to an article published in Psychology Today.

Psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren said hugging stresses most dogs and makes them anxious.

He argued that hugging is not good for canines, especially puppies. He pointed out that body language, including showing the whites of the eyes, as an indication.

"The most common sign of anxiety is when the dog turns his head away from whatever is bothering or worrying him, sometimes also closing his eyes," Coren wrote. Another stress sign is "when the dog's ears are lowered or slicked against the side of his head."

"Lip licking or licking a person's face can also be signs of anxiety, as can yawning or raising one paw," Coren added.

He came to his conclusion by studying photos posted on the internet of dogs being hugged. The researcher said he analyzed 250 random samples of man's best friend receiving embraces.

His data showed nearly 82 percent of the canines in the pictures showed at least one of the stress signs he mentioned.

Furthermore, Coren's findings revealed only about 8 percent of dogs seemed comfortable being hugged, and 10 percent showed neutral or ambiguous response to hugs.

Coren said dogs are cursorial animals, which means they are designed for swift running.

"Behaviorists believe that depriving a dog of that course of action by immobilizing him with a hug can increase his stress level and, if the dog's anxiety becomes significantly intense, he may bite,"  the psychology professor said.

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