The human-dog relationship goes back to prehistoric times. Along the way, we’ve become more or less inseparable, often taking on one another’s behaviors. Hugging and cuddling is one of those areas where our personalities converge, seeking comfort in one another’s arms/paws.

Bonding and Our Evolutionary Relationship with Dogs

Did you know the term “three-dog night” originated from nights so cold that humans needed to huddle with (at least three) dogs just to avoid freezing? Or at least so the story goes. 

From an evolutionary standpoint, the bond between humans and dogs may have been crucial to survival in earlier times.

In exchange for their assistance in hunting and protection, humans and dogs developed an understanding that if they hung around for these all-important jobs, we’d feed and protect them in return.

Over time, human-dog interactions became further intertwined helping us regulate body temperature and even providing emotional support.

While it’s pretty obvious that warmth is a primary reason for cuddling, for dogs and their humans, it may also be a sign of affection or intimacy. Simply put, having a dog in your arms (and you in his paws) also offers a sense of belonging to both participants. Belonging means security and makes the two of you together an unstoppable force.

Dog + You = Natural Stress Reliever

If you’ve noticed that you feel more relaxed when holding your pup, you’re not alone. In fact, studies have shown that hugging your pooch can increase levels of oxytocin — that’s the hormones that increase in moms when they bond with a new baby. Don’t worry though. You won’t spontaneously start leaking milk.
Physical touch creates an intimate bond between pet and owner. It says, “You’re part of my family, part of my pack. I’m here for you and expect you to be here for me.”
It induces relaxation and may even alter negative behaviors. So hold on to your animal companion to tame your inner beasts.

Which Dogs Bond Hardest?

Other than individual personalities, some experts believe that the breed of dog may play a role in their propensity to seek quality cuddle time in your arms. You may recognize some of the more popular dogs for this trait as lap dogs like Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese and Pomeranian.

But I’d wager that just about any dog is capable of this level of bonding with their humans. Often an injured dog or one that has been abused in a previous home will seek comfort in the arms of a caring new owner.

Do you and your furry friend get to enjoy daily cuddles? What social bonding benefits do you notice?

Read also: Proper Etiquette At The Dog Park

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