Woman and man hugging a dog.
Woman and man hugging a dog. (Photo: Helena Lopes/ Pexels)

Did you know that people can benefit from hugs in several ways? Experts say one of the best effects it can give to a person is how it can boost the brain to produce happy hormones known as oxytocin. This hormone is known could help fight off stress and boost a positive feeling. In effect, the body tends to decrease the production of the stress hormone, called norepinephrine, which could lower one's blood pressure, as revealed by HealthLine. Hugging is indeed very beneficial to people, but are the benefits the same for our pooches too?

Dr. Stanley Coren, one of the psychology professors at the University of British Columbia, advises owners not to push your pooch for hugs. He came up with this thought after observing the body language of about 250 dogs while hugging their humans.

According to the expert, based on what he observed, though all the people hugging their dogs expressed joy, about 81% of the dogs showed at least one sign of anxiety, discomfort, or stress. The remaining 19%, meanwhile, showed neutral and comfortable responses.

Furthermore, the expert explained how pooches tend to be "cursorial animals," means these creatures are designed to become active and always on the move. Hugging restricts them from doing it, which could lead to stress.

On the other page of the story, there are some experts who are thinking that some pooches do love getting hugs. According to them, it would only depend on the dog's relationship towards its "hugger." One of those experts who believe in such is Erica Lieberman, a behavior consultant at Pawsibilities and also a dog trainer.

"If you don't see any of that, there are plenty of dogs who not only don't mind, but they get that it is what makes it a human's companion," Lieberman explains. Given this reason, Lieberman further explains she doesn't recommend people hugging unfamiliar dogs and pets. And to always practice caution if you're fond of doing it. A study performed during the 70s backs this idea up, as reported by iHeartDogs.

The research, led by Biologist Paul Paquet and dog and wolf behavior expert Erik Zimen, was focused on the dogs' behavior whenever they come into close contact with humans. The results showed the more the dogs are familiar to their "hugger," the more they tend to respond positively.

So, is it bad to hug your dog? It depends on your dog and its relationship with you. If it shows signs of aggression, yawns excessively, lowers its ears, turns its head away from you, and pushes you off, then you might want to think twice, giving your pooch your second hug.