Dogs cuddling, do not do it! An article in "Psychology Today" by Stanley Coren written on April 16 this year said. The international press loved it. Quite indiscriminately - and without any critisism- thel article was taken over by the editors, and the dogma "do not cuddle the dog" seems born. For dogs, according to the research by Coren, do not like it when they are cuddled , up to 85% would hate it. The question is, how reliable is this study?
The article was presented in the press as a scientific study. And that's already something it is not. Coren did actually nothing more than look at 250 random pictures taken from Google, to recognize a number of stress signals. Something with little scientifically strenthh, after all, we know nothing about the circumstances in which the photo was taken. Was the dog cuddled by the owner, or by a casual neighboor passing by, was the dog previously stressed, or not, how long did it take to get the picture ... etc etc. The "controlled conditions" which in this type of investigation are necessary are thus completely forgotten. Coren has never wanted to write a scientific article, he did not peer-review, i.e, he dit not asked colleagues to test his findings, even the dates of his statements are not published, the whole story is out of control.
Nevertheless, except for a few American magazines everybody took over the claim quickly. And that will lead lack of affection for many dogs. Because previous research, also not too serious, by Erik Zimen and Paul Pacquet in the seventies, this time under certain controlled conditions, gives us a very different picture. Their conclusion after measuring heart rate and breathing in dogs stroked and cuddled: "Dogs who know their cuddly reacted very positively to the hug, caress and fondle. Dogs that did not know their hugger were initially cautious but relaxed as it went on. There were differences between breeds, but they do not predict how a particular variety responds to cuddle.
Dogs find hugging so often fun, but only if it is done by people they know well, or learn to know. Therefore, learning to recognize the stress signals which are described by Coren is very important. An arm around you, humans and primates see it as a support, a leg around you in dogs properly is a form of domination. Securely holding the dog can therefore only by someone the dog has fully learned to trust, and not -as we all too often see in internest small photos- through any child that is encouraged by his parents .
Behavioural scientists for dogs have already put it neatly in a row, when cuddling is good, and wenn it is better left undone.
If your dog enjoyes the cuddles, he will exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:
However, if you dog behaves as described below, stop it.
In short, if it's your dog and you have a good relationship, there is -with regard to thementioned above- nothing to worry about when you cuddle him. For the cuddly in fact is very beneficial: your blood pressure and stress level drops, your immune system gets a boost, pain decreases and you feel happier. The dog may experience the same, research last year found that stroking yourdog for a few minutes and hugging releases the "cuddle hormone" oxytozine both in humans and dogs, and this hormone ensures that bonding takes place, for example, in mother and child.
But, as I said, all those "nice" photos of children hugging dogs, that is where it goes so wrong. So leave that, no cuddling by unknown kids, and also this applies to yourself "when in doubt, do not hug." A biting incident and the dog again gets the blame.