If your dog barks whenever you hug someone you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark when I hug someone? Possible reasons why your dog barks when you hug someone are that it wants attention itself, it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it or that it thinks something is wrong.
There are actually a number of reasons why it might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it and there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause.
Why your dog barks when you hug someone
Below are some common reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main cause.
It wants attention itself
The reason why it does it could be that it wants attention for itself. This would be more likely if you tend to give it attention when it starts barking and if it tries to get in between you both when it does it.
It would help to avoid rewarding with attention it when it barks, to ignore it until it stops barking and to reward it with attention when it does not bark. Otherwise, it will learn that, if it wants attention, all it has to do is bark.
The behavior has been rewarded
It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for doing it. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or food when it barks. Again, it would help to avoid rewarding the behavior and to try to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to.
The cause might also be that it is confused and does not understand why you are hugging each other. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being confused or anxious while you are hugging such as tilting its head.
It thinks you’re in danger
It might also be the case that it does it because it thinks you’re both actually fighting. This would be more likely if it does it when you’re with someone it has not met before, if it shows threatening body language and if it tries to make you stop.
Things to consider
What else happened when your dog first started barking when you hug
If your dog did not always bark when you used to hug people, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an even might have caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely that it learned that it gets rewards when it barks while you’re hugging. Whereas, if it has always done it, the cause would be more likely to be that it wants attention for itself and does not want to miss out.
What is different when your dog barks when you hug
It would also help to consider if it always barks when you hug and what is different when it does not do it.
If it does it sometimes, it might be the case that it does it because it thinks there is something wrong which would be more likely if it only does it when you’re hugging someone it does not know. Whereas, if it always does it, the cause would be more likely to be that it wants attention for itself.
How to get your dog to stop barking when you hug someone
Below are some things you can do to get it to stop barking when you hug.
Avoid rewarding it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for barking when you hug. It would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it and to wait for it stop barking for a while before rewarding it. If it starts barking again, it would be important to stop giving it rewards so that it learns that barking does not result in it getting rewards.
Avoid punishing it
If you shout at it for barking, it would help to avoid doing so. Even punishment is a form of attention and can be considered as a reward for your dog which might actually encourage the behavior. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not bark and to ignore it when it does.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
You can watch the video below to watch how to use positive reinforcement training to get a dog to stop barking. Skip to the 2 minute mark to skip the intro.
Another option would be to give your dog distractions when you are kissing. Things you could give it would include toys, bones or puzzle games.