Do you want to know the answer to the age-old question “why my dog growls when I hug him?” Well, you are not alone. Many dog owners cannot help but wonder about those growls when hugging their beloved pooches.
Read on below to know the real reasons why they do it and how you can address the issue accordingly.
Your dog growls because he is suffering from health problems
Health problems are one of the most common reasons why dogs growl when their owners hug them. This is especially the case when a dog who used to love hugs suddenly stops accepting your hugs or that of other members of the family. These health issues may include infections and ear pains. Your dog may also be feeling down or going through a stressful period.
Check your dog or take him to the vet to make sure that there is nothing wrong with him as far as his health is concerned.
Your dog growls because he is dominant
If your pup wants to be the leader between the two of you, there is a chance that he might not like it when you do certain actions such as giving him a hug.
Dominant canines are often aggressive if they don’t get the things they want every time you show them that you are the leader. They also don’t like it if you force them to do things that they don’t want in the first place like hugs.
There are some dog owners who don’t believe that dogs show their dominance in their relationship with their owners. However, dominance actually exists as part of dogs’ primal instinct.
If you like to discourage this negative behavior, you have to be firm with your dog to show him who is really in charge. However, do it without fighting with or beating him. You should also try giving him a hug every now and then and reassure him that things are great. You also need to prevent him from participating in excessive or violent games that may further encourage his dominant side.
Your dog growls because he isn’t used to hugging
Humans and canines have different ways of expressing their emotions. While humans love saying good things and giving warm hugs, for examples, dogs lick each other to show their emotions.
Your dog may not like to hug since it is not really a dog thing. If ever you want your pup to get used to your hugs, you can try to make him see that the activity is a good and positive one and give him rewards like treats every time he complies.
You also have to keep in mind that there are dogs that are huggers by nature and they are often the ones who initiate doing it with you whenever they get the chance. Some dogs have also received hugs since they were young puppies and this made them used to hugs once they grow up and reach adulthood.
Your dog growls because he considers hugs as threats
When out in the wild, the neck is one of the most sensitive areas that may cause the death of animals when attacked.
You may trigger the aggressive side of your dog if you hold on to his neck if you will try to hug him from above. He may assume that you want to choke or do something dangerous to him. There are instances when dogs feel this way if they are getting ready to go on a heated fight with other dogs.
There are dogs that use their muzzles right away to hit the hugger and this may lead to facial injury or nose bleed. If you just ignore your dog’s growls whenever you try giving him a hug, he might get angry and end up biting you instead.
In order to stop it from happening, always approach your dog with care if you like to give him a hug. Draw him in slowly and carefully. If your dog still shows signs of aggressiveness, you might as well drop the idea of hugging him.
Your dog growls because you are invading his privacy
In the same way that you don’t want other people to pop out of nowhere and get too close to you, dogs also hate it when someone else invades their privacy.
If you are trying to give your dog a hug but he turns away his head or grows stiff all of a sudden while you are attempting it, this is an indication that your dog doesn’t appreciate how you touch him at that specific time or he might not really be in the mood for a hug at that moment.
It is also possible that your dog is feeling anxious about something and he might be startled if you give him a sudden hug, making him aggressive in a snap.
Other reasons why dogs growl when you hug them
Aside from the common reasons mentioned above, there are still several other reasons why your dog might not really like getting hugs from you:
- Your dog doesn’t like to give you a hug.
This may sound a bit strange but there are dogs that accept other people’s hugs but not that of their owners. No matter how much you try encouraging your dog to hug you, he might refuse to do so but will readily welcome hugs from others.
Make sure you asses the kind of relationship between you and your dog. Maybe your pup detests you or is afraid of you all the time and it might be the very reason why he refuses your hugs. When you have a good relationship, you can consult an expert to know if your pet is fine emotionally or is suffering from underlying health concerns.
- Your dog is being selective.
You might also have a selective hugger who only allows some people to hug and touch him. He may love one of your best buddies but stay away from the rest.
It is also possible that your dog doesn’t have a very social personality. Dogs that are more social with other dogs and humans always love hugs more than those that prefer to stay alone.
If your pet shows aggression or other signs such as growling, yawning, or opening his eyes wide, these are signs that he doesn’t want any hug at all. You need to warn people that your dog doesn’t comfortable with to avoid hugging him to ensure that your pet doesn’t get restless or angry and ends up biting the person.
- The breed of your dog is not one that loves hugs.
As stated earlier, there are breeds known to adore hugs. Labrador Retrievers, Boston Terriers, and Rottweilers, for example, can be hugged easily or may even give you hugs every time they are excited or happy. Chow Chows and German Shepherds, on the other hand, are not big fans of hugging.
If you ever try persuading your pet to hug you but he refuses, this could be because he doesn’t come from a breed that is a hugger by nature. Don’t feel discouraged if the breed of your pet is not that receptive because you can always tricks and rewards for him to accept it little by little.