I read an article a while back which announced with solemnity and more than a few pie charts, that dogs — our dogs, your dogs, pet dogs — don’t like being hugged. Not merely do they not like being hugged and display measurable levels of stress when hugged, but they really totally hate being kissed and nuzzled.

The article suggest a pat on the head … and a treat … would be much more appreciated. But, not by Garry or me.

Garry, Bonnie and Gibbs – A moment of zen


I know they don’t like being hugged. It’s obvious. They stiffen and put their ears back when we hug them. They also don’t like it when I grab their tail and refuse to let it go. That’s what all the growling and head butting is about. You can almost hear them sigh, wondering when you’ll be through with this nonsense and get on to the important stuff, namely distributing cookies.



I told Garry about the study. He said: “Tough. They’ll just have to cope. Because I like it.” My thoughts exactly.

Our dogs are disrespectful. Messy. Flagrantly disobedient. They are masters and mistresses of selective hearing. Do I believe for a single moment when we tell them to go out and they stand there, in front of the doggy door, ignoring us, it’s because they don’t understand what we want from them, or cannot hear us? I’m supposed to think if I stand in the doorway calling them, that they can’t hear me? Or don’t know I want them to come in? Of course they hear me. They know. They’re just playing us.

From the other side of the yard, they can hear the click when we remove the cover of the biscuit container. Their hearing is fine. It’s a power play.


Since they persist in disrespecting us, they will have to deal with our periodic compulsion to give them hugs, nuzzling, and the occasional (“Yuck! Stop that you stupid human!”) kiss on their big black noses. It’s a small price to pay for unlimited sofa lounging, high-quality treats, and silly humans getting down on the floor to play with them.

We put up with them? They will have to put up with us, too. That’s our deal.

It’s the Human-Canine Covenant. We’ve got their paw prints on file.

21 thoughts on “HUMANS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO

  1. Excellent post. I have an English Bulldog who runs my house. She acts the same way and fusses when hugged. I think she’s knows hows that she trained us well and has to put up with the occasional human hug.


  2. I too have read that study. I think it is a tad inaccurate… a dog that doesn’t like cuddles does not insinuate herself under your arm and lean on you any time you are within reach. She does not crawl between your arms and snuggle her head into your neck. Nor does she leap into your arms when taken to the vet. I think it is a choice thing…. like pretty much else she does. Including obedience….which is an occasional treat for me.


  3. I have no experience with dogs. All I know is that they wag their tails, apparently when the are happy or excited. Cats – they love you to stroke them and give them a tummy tickle, but only when they are in the mood. If they are not in the mood they reward you with a paw swipe, claws out and ready to scratch of course.


    • I’ve had a lot of cats. They can decide to unsheathe those claws and they never apologize. Dogs are (usually) more predictable, they they have moods, too. Maybe not as dramatic or bloody 🙂


  4. Pingback: HUMANS HAVE RIGHTS, TOO — SERENDIPITY | By the Mighty Mumford

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