Do you know your pet’s love language?
Most humans show affection by giving each other gifts, treats, hugs and kisses, but did you know that hugging and kissing your dog or cat can actually cause them to become stressed or anxious?
Why Don’t Pet’s Like Hugs and Kisses?
Your pet’s number one defense is his own ability to run away from something he feels intimidated by or fearful of. When you wrap your arms around your pet, especially when your pet is a dog, he can feel trapped which can lead to growling, aggression and even bites.
You and your family can watch your pet’s body language to get a better idea of how they are feeling in certain situations. Cats may hiss, scratch, struggle, or bite during unwanted physical affection. Dogs may stiffen, pin their ears back, yawn, or repeatedly lick their lips during a hug.
These are all signs of stress and discomfort. If you see these signs in your dog or cat when you go to give them hugs and kisses then we suggest finding a different way to show them you care such as;
- Offer playtime with a favorite toy
- Go on a walk to your pet’s favorite place
- Offer moderate treats during a short and fun training session (pet’s love to learn!)
- Give lots of verbal praise throughout the day
Why Should We Be Careful About Where We Stroke Our Pets?
Many pets enjoy physical affection such as ear scratches, belly rubs and back strokes, but there are certain places on their bodies that most pets don’t want human hands to roam.
For dogs, the tops of their heads, tops of their noses and their paws are very sensitive areas and they would prefer for your hands to stay away. Instead, try giving your dog ear rubs. Dogs also enjoy back and shoulder strokes.
Cats prefer to be pet down their backs and sometimes (not always) their tails.
We should also note that not all dogs enjoy belly rubs. Many dogs roll to their backs to show they are being submissive after a stressful situation. A belly rub given to an anxious dog can result in even more anxiety for him.
Of course, there are many dogs who love belly rubs! Just pay attention to body language. A dog who is relaxed, limp and loose while you scratch or rub their belly is likely enjoying it. A dog who is tense and holds his tail between his legs even though he is on his back is probably not enjoying the physical touch. Try backing off and letting your dog have some space to relax.
Quality Time Is A Great Way To Show Your Pet You Care
If there is one thing your pet loves more than anything on this planet it’s YOU. The best and most effective way to show your pet you love them is by spending quality time with them.
Research has shown that playing with your pet leads to stronger bonding, so spend some time playing your pet’s favorite games like fetch, tug of war, or chase.
Go on a nice long walk or hike with your pet and then relax with your pet at home, allowing them to cuddle with you at their leisure.
Regardless of what activity you choose to do with your pet, offering your pet some of your undivided attention and time is going to be the quickest and most effective way of showing them how much you love them.
Other Ways You Can Connect With Your Dog Or Cat
We may not speak the same verbal language, but humans and pets are able to communicate with one another better than some may think.
Pay attention to your pet’s body language and your own instincts. If you pay attention you may be surprised at how quickly you catch on to when your pet is relaxed, happy, or uncomfortable.
If you have any concerns about the body language your dog is displaying don’t hesitate to reach out to us to set up a consultation with one of our trainers.