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Why Does My Dog Growl When I Hug Him?

    It is quite common for dog owners to hug their pooch whenever he comes close. Most dogs don’t react badly to this human behavior and they might even enjoy it. On the other hand, there are dogs that really can’t stand to be hugged to the extent that they even growl at their owner. If this has happened to you and you are asking yourself “why does my dog growl when I hug him”, here’s the answer.

    The main reason why a dog growls when someone hugs him is that he feels his personal space is being invaded. This lack of boundaries is something that can make a dog feel threatened. The growl is a warning sign your dog is giving out. He is trying to make you understand that he wants you to stop because he doesn’t feel comfortable.

    As we know not all dogs are the same and there can also be other reasons why your dog is growling when you hug him. In this article, we will go through all of them and provide as much information as possible. We will also give you some valuable tips on how to deal with the issue and see what dog behaviorists have to say.

    How Come When I Hug My Dog He Growls?

    Hugging is not something dogs do to each other. They prefer other kinds of interactions such as sniffing. licking, and even being close to each other. Humans, like most primates, are instead big fans of the hugging behavior. Studies have shown that people lower their stress levels by hugging others. It puts them in a much calmer state of mind. Dogs have a very different approach to hugs. They interpret them more as threats than as ways to calm down anxiety.

    There can be, though, other reasons behind your dog growling when you hug him. According to animal behaviorists, these are less common, but nonetheless possible. Here is a list of all possible explanations for your pooch’s behavior.

    1. He Feels Threatened

    As we said before, some dogs don’t like to have their personal space invaded. When you hug your pooch you are limiting his movements and this could be interpreted by him as a threat. Usually, dogs that feel this kind of discomfort will give some clear signals, which are known as appeasement signs. The most common ones are yawning, turning their head to one side, and licking their lips.

    If you see your pooch behaving that way when you hug him you should move away and give him his space. By using those signs he is trying to tell you as best as he can that he doesn’t like what is happening and that he is getting stressed. If you ignore or don’t understand what your pooch is trying to tell you things could escalate quite quickly. Since he didn’t succeed with the calming signs, your dog could start to growl whenever you hug him. If even the growl doesn’t stop you from hugging him he could go further and try to snarl or in the worst scenario even bite.

    2. He Feels Excited

    One other reason why your dog might growl when you hug him is that he is in a very excited state. If you have just been playing together his energy levels might be high. This could make him growl if you get too close to him. Try to notice if he is giving any other signs that he is feeling excited, like wagging his tail or running in circles. In any case, if you hear your pooch growling stop hugging him. Even if he is not feeling threatened by you he may still feel uncomfortable.

    3. He Has Been Woken Up Suddenly

    Your dog could growl at you when you hug him if he was sleeping and you woke him up. Dogs are usually light sleepers and they wake up whenever they hear the slightest noise. This is due to the fact that their ancestors in the wild had to always be ready to defend themselves in case an enemy came close.

    Your pooch might have growled at you because you woke him up. He didn’t realize immediately that it was you and he thought you would attack him. Just as much as we don’t like to be woken up all of a sudden your dog doesn’t appreciate it either. If you want to hug him do it when he is properly awake. This way he won’t get a fright and growl at you.

    why does my dog growl when I hug him

    What Should I Do If My Dog Growls When I Hug Him?

    As we said before, one reason your dog growls when you hug him is that he is feeling threatened by the close physical contact. Dogs are naturally quite independent, and some may feel uncomfortable being restrained in a hug. If your dog is growling because he feels trapped, try easing up on the pressure of your hug and see if he relaxes. I

    It’s also possible that your dog is growling out of anxiety or fear. Many dogs dislike being picked up or held, and this can trigger feelings of vulnerability and apprehension. If your dog seems tense or uneasy when you attempt to hug him, it’s best to respect his wishes and refrain from doing so.

    Finally, some dogs simply do not like being hugged because they are not used to it. If you grew up hugging your family pets, it may be second nature to you. However, not all dogs are raised in environments where they receive regular physical affection. If your dog is not used to being hugged, he may need some time to get used to the idea. Start by approaching him slowly and offering him treats while you pet him gently. Once he seems comfortable with this level of physical contact, you can try giving him a hug.

    How Do You Stop Your Dog From Growling When You Hug Him?

    There isn’t a guidebook or a tutorial to stop your pooch from growling when you hug him. If your dog doesn’t like to be hugged you must respect him and stop doing that. It is important to never punish a dog because he is growling. Even though you may not like to hear his growl, this is one of the most effective ways your pooch has to communicate his unease to you. If you inhibit your dog from growling, the next time you hug him he might directly snarl at you.

    The best way to get your dog used to your hugs is to start performing this behavior from when he is a puppy. This way he will soon understand that you are not threatening him and you are just playing together. Dogs don’t love to be hugged but they will get used to it because they are so fond of their owners.

    Thing To Consider When Your Dog Growls When You Hug Him

    Many dog owners are surprised when their beloved pet growls or even snaps when they go in for a hug. After all, dogs are known for being loyal and affectionate companions. So why does this happen? In most cases, it’s simply a matter of misunderstanding. Dogs often see hugging as a sign of dominance. They may respond with aggression in order to assert their own dominance.

    This is especially true if the dog is not comfortable with being touched or if he feels threatened in some way. If you want to avoid provoking a defensive response from your dog, it’s best to avoid hugging him altogether. Instead, show your affection by petting him or giving him a treat.


    In a dog’s world hugs just don’t exist. Hugging is something that only humans and other primates do to express their feelings or reduce their stress levels. Dogs usually don’t react badly to their owners hugging them because they think it is just another way of playing together. Some pooches though might think that they are being threatened when someone tries to hug them. Personal space is very important to dogs. When you go and put your arms around them they might feel constricted. Growling is a common response to this feeling of unease.

    Other reasons why your dog could growl when you hug him are due to the fact that he feels excited or that he has been woken up suddenly. If you have just been playing together and you stop to hug him he may express his excitement by growling. If instead he is sleeping and you go and wake him up with a hug, this could frighten him and induce the growl.

    In any case, if your pooch growls at you for whatever reason the best thing is to stop performing any unwanted behavior. It is not always easy to interpret calming signals. When a dog growls, though, it usually conveys the message that he is not feeling comfortable. If you just can’t go without hugging your pooch be sure to get him used to this behavior when he is a puppy. This way he will know that when you go and put your arms around him you just want to let him know how much you love him.