Who doesn't love to snuggle with their favorite furry companion? Well, many dogs don't. Snuggling is to many a high priority on the "wants" list of what you'd like in a dog. I love to snuggle but not all my dogs are as into it as I am. In the dog world, hugging is a bad thing; many people don't think about it from a dogs point of view but you must. A hug given to a dog from another dog is a mount which is a dominant gesture. It is a way for one dog to tell another dog "hey, I'm in charge here."

Humans supposedly are of higher intelligence (definitely debatable in some humans) than the canine; this enables us to better understand situations and see them from another species point of view. But, from a dogs point of view; it is a dogs point of view. Dogs can learn that a behavior is enjoyable even when in dog terms it is not. It can take some time or some dogs catch on very quickly that hugging can be a very enjoyable behavior. Some dogs just never get into the whole huggy snuggy thing. And much to the disappointment of their guardian, it just is what it is.

My girl Tilley is very much a snuggler, she loves to climb onto your lap and rest her head on your chest; yes it is pretty adorable. But if someone approaches her and tries to give her a hug; she will 100% of the time slightly pull away. Tilley is not a dominant dog so it has nothing to do with that; it is that she is not comfortable with the hugger doing all the hugging. Basically its too much for her and she becomes uncomfortable. I can and do hug her because I think it is an important exercise. Anyone can do anything to Tilley even hug her but the hug is where she is uncomfortable.

And yet Luke who is the biggest nervous ninny we have ever had and stresses out beyond belief if you try to roll him over; loves to snuggle and snuggle tight. And believe me; snuggling with this 27" blonde guy with hair as soft as any teddy bear is pretty great. But hugging is strictly reserved for family members and that is the way it should be. When I had young children I would NEVER let a stranger hug them let alone come that close. And neither should a dog be expected to accept a hug from a stranger, it just is not natural for a dog.

If you want to change how your dog feels about snuggling; start slow. Do not force your dog to sit and put up with a snuggle session while they are hating every second; believe me they'll hate it even more next time. Make is a great thing, add treats, just small ones while you give a little massage, pre hugging. Move onto small hugs and treats, then cut back on the treats and add a massage, just short. Add more time when your dog becomes more comfortable with snuggling.

But do remember to respect your dogs wishes; not all learn to like it. Luke went from being a NON snuggler to a snuggle convert. Not all dogs will convert; but that's okay.

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