Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking)

Dear Human Beings,

Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, believe everything you read.   This article is a case in point:

New research shows why dogs don’t like hugs.

Staff writers

“PET owners beware — new research has revealed that dogs don’t like hugs from their owners, which can make them (the owners?) more stressed out.”
“According to new research published in Psychology Today, Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, said dogs respond differently to humans who seek comfort from hugging others.”
“Coren, who studies canine behaviour, analysed a random sample of 250 pictures of humans hugging their dogs that he could find online through Flickr and a Google image search.” (skewed data – he left out Pintrest and Instagram where the animal pictures are more photogenic)
“In using photos where the dog’s face was easily seen, he looked whether the dog appeared to be anxious or distressed, relaxed, or showed a neutral response to being hugged.”
“He found that around 82 per cent of the photographs showed “unhappy dogs” receiving hugs from their owners or children.”

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

He said that dogs show signs of distress when they bare their teeth (called a smile when humans do it), turn their heads away from something ( just being bored and looking around), or they partially close their eyes (doesn’t everyone close their eyes when ecstatic?).
Another sign of anxiety is when a dog’s ears are lowered or “slicked against the side of his head”. (Stanley, it’s just our coiffure)
He also said that licking lips or licking a person’s face can also be a sign of anxiety, like yawning or raising a paw. (I lick when it’s tasty)
Coren said the fact that dogs don’t like being hugged can be explained by their behavioural nature.

As “cursorial animals”, (cursorial?  I swear I never curse) they are designed for swift running. When stressed, a dog’s first instinct is to run away.
It is believed that when they are restricted from moving with a hug, it can increase a dog’s stress level and potentially cause them to bite their owners. (or bite researchers)

It’s not the hugs that stressed the dogs out it was having their pictures taken WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT to be displayed for all the world to see.

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Pulblished Poet

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Blogger

So hug away you human-beings and always follow-up with a treat for us dogs (you got your treat with the hug)

Frankly yours,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET, CDB

Canine Dog Therapist, Retired and Certified Dog Blogger


16 comments on “Frankly Freddie (parenthetically speaking)

  1. oh yes, being held tightly stresses a dog out that’s why thunder shirts work so well. (for some dogs)
    When my dog is stressed she comes to me for comfort, should I push her away and say…You are supposed to run to feel good. ?
    licking..perhaps for some it is anxiety, for others it is joy.
    My dog is a licker. Drives me crazy sometimes but she thinks it’s a game.
    The tail wagging frantically tells me she is not stressed about this action.

    and I agree, dogs get all uppity when their picture is being taken without their consent.

    thanks Freddie to for clearing all that up.


    • Dear Dizzy,
      You are welcome. Even though I’m now retired as a Canine Dog Therapist I still try to clear things up because Humans get confused easily as to who is in charge and who belongs to whom.

      Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET


      • you are so right Freddie and I shouldn’t have said “my dog”. I only used it as a reply to the scientific article as they would not understand the relationship between my dear family member and myself. I think we belong together, no one “belongs” to the other.
        much love,

        **Freddie, Kiki here, I love giving kisses and sometimes being hugged. I understand it is my humans who really need the hugs, so I’m okay with that. It must have been grand to be a Dog therapist. I get so anxious around other humans, you are my hero!


        • Dear Kiki, Canine Dog,
          In my professional opinion you probably get nervous around other humans because you are sensing their nervousness (even if they don’t). As you know, we canines have super perception powers. Otherwise, just stay away from humans. Unless you want to train them to give you treats humans take a LOT of energy. I’ve spent my life training humans and I’m pooped.
          Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET


    • Dear Jacqui Murray, Human Being,

      Your pup has you well trained having you think canines pay for anything. It’s a clever ploy we use to keep Humans thinking they are in control.

      Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET


  2. I also heard about this while my human was watching the news. I snorted in derision but my human thought I was having a reverse sneeze attack, I put my head on her and she gave me a big hug. I don’t understand what they were talking about in that story, whenever I get hugs that means snackers or treats are following. I go up to her for hugs all the time and I’ve got a nice stash of cookies as a result .



    • Dear Buster, Canine Dog,

      You are an excellent human trainer teaching her to immediately give you treats after a hug. Next try just the long stare without the hug. The hug takes up precious time when she could be retrieving treats.

      Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET


  3. Freddie, You look like a movie star. I love your picture. I don’t like hugs but do like to cuddle (when I’m in the mood). But prefer just being close to my humans. Cuddles to you, Gidgett 🐶💋💋🐶💓

    Sent from my iPhone Linda



  4. Oh, Freddie, those researchers in British Columbia don’t know what kind of kibble to study under the microscope. Dogs love to be hugged. It’s why they shove their noses into us until we humans bend down and give a hug. There is the occasional skittish canine who has suffered at the hand of a cruel homo sapien master and shies from a hug or anything close to human encounter. But I know that when your black eyes sparkle at me you want a hug. Maybe a cookie first but then a hug. Maybe a cookie and a bone, and then a hug, Maybe a cookie, a bone, a walk, and then a hug. Right?
    BTW, you look especially charming today.


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