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The truth to the 'dogs hate hugs' headlines

Dogs can't hug back, so maybe humans should stop trying.

Not a big hugger? Dogs catch what you're throwing.

Psychologist and dog trainer Stanley Coren suggests dogs want humans to throw them a bone and stop the hugging already.

In a column for Psychology Today, Coren writes about a casual "study" he conducted after attending a "Doggy De-Stress Day" held at a university during finals.

When a student hugged his dog for stress relief, he noticed the puppy's ears slicked down, he broke eye contact with the hugger, and released a stress yawn.

Those three signs of anxiety, he writes, are typical. Dogs are designed to run, not get squeezed by a human, and a confining hug could increase their stress level.

He tested this idea with a casual experiment involving 250 pictures found online of humans hugging dogs.

Of the 250 photos, 82% of the dogs showed at least one sign of stress, 10% were neutral and 8% seemed content.

To be clear, as noted by The Washington Post, multiple media outlets are reporting Coren's findings as a scientific study. It's not a study or science. It's an op-ed of his casual observations.

So, can you hug your dog?

From Coren, the answer is obvious. Dogs have four legs and no arms. They can't hug back. They're not supposed to, and going against their nature can be uncomfortable.

At the same time, who can argue with this clip below?


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