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Dog desperate to be involved in hugs

(11 Posts)
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 01-Oct-19 10:05:51

Not actually a serious problem, but I'm just wondering if anyone has any insight / a similar dog.

For background, DDog is a rescue with a slightly murky background, but has been with me 2 years. He never liked being picked up, and would start wriggling in about 2 seconds if picked up. Through a process of always putting him down when he wriggled (so he always knew it was on his terms), he came to be comfortable with being picked up, though it's incredibly rare for him to ask to be picked up.

Except if I hug someone. It doesn't really matter who it is, he'll be jumping up and down at our legs and wanting to join in. He's not happy unless he's picked up (and preferably ends up sandwiched in the middle of the hug).

Anyone else got a dog with a similar quirk?

OP’s posts: |
aweedropofsancerre Tue 01-Oct-19 10:07:36

That’s guarding, he isn’t trying to join in he is trying to separate you from the other person. My dog used to try and do that when I was hugging my DC. We had to stop it and he was told a firm no and removed . As it started escalating to nipping at there feet if I picked them up.

Hoppinggreen Tue 01-Oct-19 10:13:51

Sounds like he’s resource guarding you.
Might seem like a cute quirk but there’s a thread on here where a child got bitten by the family dog in a similar situation
Also, why do people pick up small dogs? I’m sure it’s not good for them and a lot of them don’t like it. It’s completely unnecessary, they aren’t toys

adaline Tue 01-Oct-19 10:15:09

He doesn't want to join in, he wants the other person to leave you alone and stop touching you!

Like PP said, it's guarding behaviour and one you really don't want to give in to or encourage. Just ignore him. Get you and the other person to both turn around and face away from him every time.

adaline Tue 01-Oct-19 10:18:01

And yes, stop picking up your dog. Most of them hate being picked up and its totally unnecessary. Small dogs are still dogs and don't need to be carried about!

missbattenburg Tue 01-Oct-19 10:25:17

So I think I would disagree slightly with pp. Or add to their thoughts...

For sure it sounds like the dog finds something about the hugging process to be stimulating and the likelihood would be that he finds it upsetting rather than exciting but that's really hard to tell from a brief description.

Resource guarding is one possibility.

However, so are other things, such as previous learned behaviours that are unlinked to resource guarding. A dog that came from a home where physical fights happened (for e.g.) may associate humans hugging with fighting and with an upsetting atmosphere. A dog that was shouted at for interupting a human hug in the past may have found that incident upsetting enough to be anxious anytime humans hug.

Or a dog that has been rewarded with attention and fuss for interupting hugs in the past may well continue to do.

The best person to asses whether the dog is upset or excited by the hugging is someone who is there to see the behaviour in context. What's your sense, avocados?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 01-Oct-19 11:08:47

My sense is that it's more excitement than anything else, and that he finds hugs stimulating in some way.

He's the sort of dog that will bark at anything he's unsure about, and he never barks during a hug, he just jumps up in an excited wiggly way - similar to when I return home from the shops etc. He can resource guard thing around other dogs (never humans) and it looks nothing like that; he's reactive towards a couple of weird triggers but it's nothing like that either.

It's only the specific act of hugging that triggers the jumping up - greeting someone or sitting close to them is absolutely ignorable in his eyes.

If he gets picked up mid-hug and turned into a 'dog sandwich' he'll look rather pleased with himself and likely try and aim a kiss at both faces. I appreciate this is probably rewarding him for his questionable behaviour! It does however look nothing like resource guarding behaviour to me, and I find it odd that he almost never (as in, once every few months) asks to be picked up in other situations. It genuinely feels like he just wants to join in the hug.

It's entirely possible he came from a home with conflict - I just don't know where he was until he was 12 months old (but 5* owners they clearly weren't). He's very very sensitive to human emotions and will bark if voices are ever raised in an argumentative way (but not in a 'shouting to someone in another room to make yourself heard' way)

As for why I need to be able to pick him up - it's not something I do on a daily basis, and he's about as far from a handbag dog as a little dog can get. I taught him to be able up cope with being picked up mainly so I can get him on escalators at tube and train stations, but also so that if he's ever injured on a walk he can be carried home without unnecessary stress etc etc. It's not an act of mollycoddling!

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Tue 01-Oct-19 11:44:35

Based on your update, it sounds like he's enjoying it rather than worried about it. To me, anyway.

Anyway, in answer to your original question, Battendog loves to sit outside. On a seat. Like people.

All through the summer, any time any of us sat in the garden for a coffee we'd have to pull up a spare chair for him to sit in. When/if you're not looking he often tries to sneak a lick of the coffee!

tabulahrasa Tue 01-Oct-19 12:01:00

Hmm, it’s really hard to tell from a description tbh...

I have a foster dog with me just now who has definitely come from a home with conflict (I know his background because of the organisation dealing with him) we knew before he came that he was upset by things like raised voices.

It turns out he’s a lot more sensitive than described (he’s currently scared of my glasses case because one snapped shut a few days ago, rofl)

He gets upset and barky at shouting, but with hugging or other physical contact - he inserts himself between us tail wagging and licky... but it’s definitely appeasement behaviour because he’s unhappy rather than positive.

LimeJellyHead Wed 20-Nov-19 11:17:55

Hahaha, yes, our terrier Spadge does this. He likes to be involved. We put him in the middle and call it a Spadge Sandwich.

fessmess Thu 21-Nov-19 07:33:53

Dogs hate people hugging as dogs only get close to each other when fighting. They jump to separate you.

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