Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Submit Photo: 3
Photo Submissions 112 Times in 110 Posts
Great question Nancy and I have wondered about this behavior myself, so I asked for some input on our IAABC forum. Here is an interesting viewpoint from one member ....
"Hugging is not really a “dog behavior” and is not found on any ethograms I’ve seen for canids. So I think dogs probably wonder what we are doing. In addition, this behavior often releases the neuromodulator oxytocin. Depending on the “kind” of hug and who is doing it, the hugging can result in a cascade of chemistry that changes how the huggers feel. With their superior sense of smell, I think dogs monitor this and respond accordingly. I think some want to “share” in the experience while other compete for attention. There certainly can be a learning curve for dogs over time on how to respond to this behavior and all the chemistry it produces. Hugging activates a lot of nervous system responses and there fore it can affect dogs in a few different ways!
Just my opinion….
Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
Last edited by davetgabby; 10-26-2014 at 12:11 PM.