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Why Does My Dog Bark When I Hug Someone? 9 Crazy Reasons

My Dog Barks When I Hug Someone

“Arf! Arf!”

“No hugging zone, hoomans!”

“What? Why?”

If you’re wondering why your dog go frantic when you hug someone,

then you found the right article.

Here you’ll know more:

  • 9 reasons behind your dog’s weird behavior.
  • Why hugging someone causes your dog to bark (and jump).
  • How you could have unintentionally rewarded yopur dog for barking when you hug.
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog bark when I hug someone?

Your dog barks when you hug someone because they think you’re in danger and they need to rescue and protect you. They may also be anxious and they want your attention. But sometimes, they’re just plain confused, bored, and curious beings. 

My dog barks when I hug someone – 9 reasons

#1: Your dog is confused

Imagine seeing your friend while you’re walking your dog.

You chat for a bit, while your dog is on a leash, waiting for you two to finish.

Then you hug your friend to bid them goodbye.

Now your dog is barking loudly.

“What’s happening?”

The act of two humans embracing each other tightly doesn’t exist in your canine’s world.

Although, they know that they don’t like it when you trap them in your arms.

That’s the reason why your pooch is confused. 

Your dog might be thinking…

“Why are they doing it? I don’t even like it.”

You’ll know your dog is confused when it does any of the following:

What seems to be comforting to humans doesn’t seem to be so appealing to the canine society.

Here’s a video that might help you know if your dog likes or hates hugs:

#2: Your dog wants attention

Say, you and your boyfriend are watching television. 

You lil’ pooch is peacefully lying on their bed in one corner in their favorite donut position.

Your boyfriend then plants a kiss on your cheek. 

So you look at him and return the kiss. 

Then he hugs you. 

Before you can even enjoy each other’s warmth, your pooch is already standing near your feet, staring incessantly.

Then they start jumping and barking, pleading for attention. 

At this point, they may be accustomed to hugs already so they don’t get confused at the act anymore. 

But since they already know that hugs are comforting, they also want some snuggle-lovin’ from you.

“Hey. Notice me, too.”

It could also be possible that you’re not giving your dog enough attention that’s why they ask for it in different ways.

Below are a few things you can try to give your fur baby the attention they deserve:

  • Allot cuddle mornings and evenings.
  • Give your dog warm and gentle strokes.
  • Give them toys whenever you leave them.
  • Familiarize yourself with their body language.
  • Take them out for a walk at a certain time every day.
  • Praise or reward them when they accomplish good things.

Check out also: Why Does My Dog Sit On My Lap? 13 Real Reasons + 5 Tips & 11 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Wraps His Paws Around

#3: Your dog is curious

Dogs are curious beings, so they’ll bark whenever you hug someone because that move seems alien to them.  

If your dog is a lil’ puppy or a rescue, then they’re not exposed to hugging yet.

But dogs who have been living with your family for years might already be used to seeing this act of affection. 

“Aah, hoomans.”

But a rescue dog will consider it strange. 

You might also see them tilting their head and looking confused.

The longer they’re staying with you though, and the more often they see you hugging other people, they’ll soon brush off the scene and return to playing with their toys.

Learn more: Why is my dog constantly sniffing the ground?

#4: Your dog gets rewards

Say, your dog sees you hugging someone.

“Oops! Perfect time to bark.”

And you know what happens next.

Your pooch thinks it’s okay to bark whenever you’re hugging someone because at some point in the past you might have rewarded them unintentionally.

Was there an instance wherein you gave your pooch a treat to let them stop barking while you’re hugging a friend, a family member, or a significant other?

If you can think of one, then that’s most likely it.

You can’t undo that moment, but you can learn from it. 

Try these things instead to change your dog’s behavior towards hugging…

Train them

Positive rewarding will teach your dog that doing what you ask of them will end up with them getting treats. 

Constant training will also tire them, so they’d rather choose to rest instead of getting all barky and jumpy when they see you hugging someone.

Let them do daily exercises

Your dog needs to release those pent-up energies, so let them go out and play. 

Give them enough time to run, explore, and be tired.

After that, what you’ll get is a behaving (and snoring) pooch.

Reward only their good behavior

Because you must not let your dog misinterpret your actions, reward them only when they really did something good.

If your pooch is barking while you’re hugging someone, ignore them. 

Also, don’t forget to explain to the other person what you’re trying to do, to avoid confusion on their side.

Then, if your dog finally stops and stays calm in one corner, give them the treat they’ve been wanting.

And don’t forget to tell them they did a good job. 

#5: Your dog is protective

Your Protective Dog Barks When You Hug Someone

“Hey, that hooman is mine!”

It is normal for your dog to be protective of you.

It’s actually quite sweet whenever my little pooch tries to protect me even if she’s tiny and not scary at all. 

If this escalates though, this kind of behavior from canines can be alarming when they associate it with aggressive behaviors such as:

  • Biting.
  • Glaring.
  • Lunging.
  • Growling.
  • Snapping.

“They’d really go that far just to protect me?”

Yes, absolutely.

Simply put, their fur mom, the one who provides them with food, cuddles, and toys, is being “wrestled” by someone they don’t know. 

Their first reaction would be to secure you.

But a dog that shows those mentioned above are already exhibiting Resource Guarding behavior. This happens when your dog reacts aggressively to what they think is a threat to an object they value. 

You don’t want your dog to be scaring your boyfriend away whenever you two get all mushy and sweet with each other, right?

According to VCA, desensitizing and counterconditioning are good techniques to make your dog get used to seeing you being hugged or giving hugs to other people.

You can try these gestures first:

  1. Start by putting your hand on your boyfriend’s shoulder.
  2. Give your dog a treat if they don’t react violently.
  3. Next, put your other hand on your boyfriend’s other shoulder.
  4. If your dog is still calm, give them another treat.
  5. And then, start moving closer to each other.
  6. Then, continue the next steps after that.
  7. Do the move one at a time.

If your dog reacts somewhere in between your training, move a few steps back and start again from the part where they remained calm. 

Remember that when it comes to your dog, it’s important to take things slow. 

Note: If you are not confident enough to handle your dog’s behavior, asking a dog trainer’s help is always a good idea.

Read also: These 13 Signs Show That Your Dog Is Protective Over You

#6: Your dog thinks you’re in a fight

“Oh no! I thought only us dogs fight?!”

Your dog thinks you’re fighting with the person you’re hugging.

Through your dog’s eyes, what you’re showing them is similar to how dogs fight.

To stop a fight between two dogs, another dog usually pushes themselves in the middle and tries to act as a mediator. 

Imagine when we see them nibbling another dog, the first thing that comes to your mind is they’re fighting. 

That’s what your dog thinks too when they see you hugging someone.

Dogs and humans have different body languages. 

For one, they’d likely interpret the hugs as unwanted behavior.

So they’ll bark, jump, and sometimes squeeze themselves in between, just to “end the fight”.

#7: Your dog is anxious

When your dog barks when you hug someone, one thing to look for are signs of anxiety. 

They may be anxious, that’s why they’re acting weird all of a sudden. 

Especially if they’re already used to seeing you hug other people before and now they act like it’s a new sight to them. 

The following are signs that your dog is anxious:

If this happens to your dog, find out what’s causing him to be anxious so you can calm them down.

#8: Your dog is bored

Before you say anything, yes, this is actually possible.

This boredom may also be accompanied by some jealousy.

Your dog may be thinking…

“Why do they get to be with my mom?”

Your dog may be lacking playtime, so they’re disturbing you instead. 

Have you been too busy lately? Did you forget to take your dog out for a walk in the park? Did you not feed them at the right time today? Were you ignoring them quite a lot in the past few days? 

If your answer is a big yes, then you’re probably guilty of not giving your dog enough attention.

Well, we all have those moments when we get too busy with other things.

Feel free to go back to #2, so you can strengthen your relationship with your dog again. 

Another thing you can do when your dog seems bored and chooses to break that hug instead, is to keep them busy.

Give them puzzle toys to keep them entertained and chew toys to keep them engaged.

Reading recommendation: 11 reasons why your dog yawns when you pet him

#9: Your dog thinks you’re in danger

Your sister is finally home after being away for a semester. 

Since you haven’t seen each other for months, she hugged you so tight that you let out a soft squeal. 

Then, your dog suddenly barks nonstop. 

Well, that’s because they thought you’re in dire need of help.

Dogs will always try to rescue their hooman whenever they can. 

So, upon seeing you being trapped in the arms of your sister, someone whom they haven’t seen for a long time either, they immediately thought that you’re in grave danger.

Plus, because hugs don’t exist in the dog world, they would think that you’re in a difficult situation and you need a hero to save you.

Not to mention, you squealed a little.

A study shows that dogs will most likely respond to their owners who showed signs of stress more than when they’re calm.

They also bark a lot when this happens since it’s one of their ways to show how they feel.

According to Medical News Today, when the canines’ owners are distressed, they’ll bark and whimper even more. In fact, they are even more stressed than their fur parents due to this. 

People also ask:

Why does my dog get jealous when I hug my boyfriend?

Jealous Dog

Your dog gets jealous when you hug your boyfriend because they think that what you’re doing to them (hugging, cuddling, snuggling) should only be exclusive to them.

But then they see you doing it to your boyfriend as well, someone they’re not used to seeing. 

For example, you used to always snuggle with your dog before bedtime, but then your boyfriend decided to stay the night, so you end up cuddling with him instead.

Your dog without a doubt will feel jealous because they’re looking forward to that snuggle o’clock. 

Why does my dog get upset when someone touches me?

Your dog gets upset when someone touches you because they believe they need to protect you.

If they see a stranger touching you, their instinct of protecting what is important to them activates. 

To lessen or tone down this behavior, let them socialize with other dogs. They’ll be more exposed to other people (other dogs’ owners).

Also, they won’t be too upset anymore when someone touches you if they get to play and bond with other dogs.