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Don’t Hug Your Dog!

WHAT DO DOGS REALLY WANT?

You know how it goes. Those times when you come home from a difficult, tiring, frustrating day at work and all you want to do is hug your sweetie-pie best friend to bits! A proven timeless therapy for us humans, isn’t it.

But wait!

Have you ever wondered if your dog even likes to be cuddled?  I’m kidding, right?  ‘Fraid not…

I couldn’t believe this myself when I first discovered this bombshell.

Research has shown that your dog only tolerates your cuddles and face-into-face contact.  It actually makes them feel uncomfortable and trapped.

So what is the best action for us as dog owners when we crave that bonding therapy after a stressful day?

Well, according to Psychology Today, smooth affectionate-sounding words and a chest rub is at the top of your doggie’s list of affections.

I actually had the opportunity to put this to the test yesterday when we went to visit relatives who have an adolescent bull terrier.  Now, admittedly, he (the dog) doesn’t know me that well as I am a relative newbie to this side of the family.  But he approached me quite excitedly as most dogs do to visitors, and I wrapped him in my arms in a very affectionate way (as far as I was concerned, anyway) and he responded by trying to wriggle free which I allowed, of course.

He stood there looking at me cautiously and so I sat down and offered my hand.  He came forward and I started to give him a good rub on his chest.  His tail went wild!  He came further forward practically underneath the dining chair that I was sat on and I continued to scratch his back just in front of his tail.

It was absolutely crystal clear that this animal was in ecstasy!  Now, I wish that I had taken a video of this!  It was beautiful, as though he had never experienced this before!

And so I am now I true believer that what WE love is not necessarily the same thing as what we think dogs love.

Having said all that, if your dog is completely comfortable with you and trusts you, it will let you cuddle him.  So whereas it might be your preference, it’s not his preference.

What else?

This doesn’t just stop at petting, of course… what about playthings? Or food? Or exercise?

Whatever we handle, we like to think it’s clean, don’t we?  Not our sweet, adorable little poochiepoos. The dirtier and smellier the better!

When we go out without the dog we like to leave something of ours with him to play with, to keep it company and comforted in our absense – such as a favourite blanket or socks, often washed and clean of course.

But better still would be your dirty, sweaty shirt or jumper!

Playthings

A good puzzle toy that exercises his brain can keep your dog occupied for ages. They love to play with their own personal toys, you know the ones, the ones that they take to bed with them, or fall asleep in the middle of the room with.

Routines

Whereas we humans love variety, dogs love routine, like walks at a certain time of the day, that they anticipate and look forward to.

I have to admit, this is another doggie fact that surprised me.  I recall taking our dog for walks in our new neighbourhood after we moved into the area and it was the same route for a while which Tammy loved. When I decided to vary the route I now realise in hindsight that she wasn’t as excited as she normally would be.  I have since learned that this because of a change of routine.

My take from all of this is that we have to start thinking more like a dog when giving him attention, and not like a human.

Do’s and Dont’s (likes and dislikes)

The following is a list of (possibly) surprising facts about your dog’s likes and dislikes.  My intention is that by taking this on board, you and your dog will experience an enhanced understanding and relationship.

Likes

  1. Your most sweatiest clothes.
  2. Their own personal toys.
  3. A brain teaser or puzzle.
  4. Consistent routine.
  5. Consistent food that they like.
  6. Chest rub.
  7. A quiet undisturbed nap.
  8. Checking out pee-scents during walks.
  9. Calm sounding words.
  10. For the owner to be their leader.
  11. Praise and correction from their owner.
  12. Knowing their owner is happy.

Dislikes

  1. Wearing clothes.
  2. Nose-kisses.
  3. Their head petted.
  4. Being stared at.
  5. Being forced to make new friends with other dogs on home ground.  Best way to do this is to ensure the introduction first takes place outside of your dog’s home.

We live and learn…

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