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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

This week we are celebrating National Hugging Day…we all love giving and getting hugs!  Amber Walker, Lead Trainer & Owner at Animal Intuitions, LLC is here to give us some insight about pets and hugging safety.  Even if you don’t read this entire blog…WATCH THE FIRST VIDEO BELOW, it really tells a great story.

It’s winter, it’s snowing, it’s cold and the only thing I want to do at night is snuggle my warm, furry coated dog.  And I’m not the only one.  Both my toddler and my husband want to also.  But I have a problem…my yellow Labrador, Hadley, hates to be hugged and she hates to get kisses.  In her perfect world, she would be two feet away from any human.


“Getting a toddler and a dog to pose for a picture can be nearly impossible, but when you can get a nervous dog and a busy toddler to settle for just a moment, you get a tightly closed mouth, nervous tail wag, and two feet of space in between them! At least they’re both looking in my general direction.”

Now, my 12 year old pup is an extremist when it comes to being anti-hugs and kisses but she’s a shelter dog with a peppered past…and she is not alone!  In fact: MOST dogs and cats, don’t like hugs and kisses.  77% of bites happen in the family home or by a familiar pet and many are a result of too many hugs and kisses.  They can also be a result of a pet tolerating the family’s hugs and kisses and then biting when Cousin Louie visits because he joined in on the undesired hug fest.  This has become such a problem among companion dogs that great resources have been dedicated to helping families understand this misconception. has created an awesome video (right on the top on the home page) to show how most dogs really feel about hugs and kisses from the dog’s perspective.






I have done several TV features for this topic.  One video can be seen here:


Dog Gone Safe has a national campaign that teaches children about how to read a dog’s behaviors, signals, and cues, especially when it is in regard to hugging.  You can read one of their many blogs here:


Yes, yes, yes, you may know of or have a dog or cat that solicits attention, can’t get enough belly rubs, enjoys and loves being hugged by you, even seeks you out for hugs and licks.  It’s not impossible, it’s not unheard of…but for me, as a trainer, the comparison is similar to a frustrated puppy owner telling me they’ve had perfect dogs their entire life and have never had to train a dog ever (I have 2 of those clients right now!) I know those dogs exist too!  But they are not the norm…Most dogs (and cats too) need training just as most dogs and cats do not like hugs.

Remember, you don’t want to hug everyone you meet…Being respectful to our pets regarding hugging is as important as being respectful to our family about something they don’t like!  Read your pet’s body language during a hug before assuming they love it and you may change your mind about how your pet feels.  No one wants their pet to secretly dislike them so it will make everyone much happier!

Amber WalkerLook for Amber’s next guest blog, she will talk more about how to read signs and signals our dogs give us when they are uncomfortable.



[…] month to celebrate National Hugging Day, we had Amber Walker provide the blog: Hugs and Kisses, about pets and hugging safety.  After reading that blog you might have asked yourself, […]

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