If your dog hugs you when you get home, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you eight common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog hug me when I get home? Possible reasons why your dog hugs you, when you arrive home, are separation anxiety, wanting something from you, boredom, an issue with the room it stays in, or encouraging the behavior.

It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.

Reasons why your dog hugs you when you get home

Below are eight reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason. 

It wants something from you

The cause could be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when it has not already been able to do things such as eat or get exercise. In this case, it might help to start giving it food or exercise before leaving it instead of after. This should also help to encourage it to sleep when you are away as well.

Boredom

If your dog has to wait a long time, at home, when you are away, it will likely become bored. The reason why your dog hugs you could be that it is trying to find a way to stimulate itself. To prevent this, it would help to exercise it before leaving and it could help to do something as quickly play fetch with it in the yard when you get back as well.

Separation anxiety

The cause might also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it shows signs of becoming anxious when you are leaving by doing things such as pacing and crying. 

Encouraging the behavior

It could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it hugs you when you get home, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. 

An issue with the room it stays in

The cause might also be that there is an issue with the room it stays in while you are away. The issue could be that it is too hot, cold, bright or noisy. 

Excitement

The cause could be that it is showing its excitement. This would be more likely if it also does it at other times when it gets excited as well.

One reason why excitement could be a cause is that it might want to greet you at the face. It could also be because puppies mothers would feed them from the face and they would jump up to get the food.

Nature

Dogs were bred as pack animals. As a result, it is natural for them to want to be around other members of their pack. The reason why your dog hugs you when you get home could be that it is glad that you have returned back to it safely. 

Not enough training

If you have not given your dog much training, it will likely behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way that it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way that you would like it to behave. This is why it is important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training by starting with the basics and building up from there.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it. 

The body language it shows

It would help to consider the type of body language it shows when you arrive home. 

If it shows signs of excitement by doing things such as wagging its tail, having its tongue out, a relaxed face and running around, it would be more likely that it is excited to see you. 

Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety by doing things such as crying, it would be more likely that it has some separation anxiety or there is an issue with the room it stays in.

What else happened when it first started

If your dog did not always do it when you get home, it would help to consider if anything else happened at around the same time. It could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be because it learned that it gets rewards for doing it.

What is different when your dog does not hug you when you get home

It would also help to consider if it always hugs you or if it just does it sometimes. If it does not always do it, the reason why it does it sometimes could be that it is hungry or because it started getting anxious if you were away for a long time.

What to do about your dog hugging you when you get home

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior. 

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging your dog to hug you by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not hug you, to stop giving it attention when it does it and to wait for it to stop before giving it any attention.

Positive reinforcement training

You could also train it not to hug using positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward it when it does not hug you and stop rewarding it when it does.

To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop jumping do as follows:

  1. Get some treats that your dog likes
  2. Get it to sit. If you haven’t taught your dog how to sit yet then you can do this by luring the treat above its head until it sits naturally
  3. Tell it to stay and then wait for half a second then give it a treat. The idea is to reward it for staying sat and keeping its attention on you so you want to reward it before it has a chance to fail.
  4. Do the same as above but increase the duration each time you get it to stay.
  5. When your dog is able to stay for over 15 seconds start to introduce distractions such as the squeaking of a toy. Start out with minor distractions such as simply showing it the toy and then build up to harder ones such as rolling the toy in front of it.

You can watch the video below to see how it is done.

Redirect its focus

If possible, you could also try to redirect its focus onto something else before it starts jumping up at you in order to prevent it from doing it and to get it out of the habit of jumping.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has been doing it due to being anxious. It would help to limit reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as feeding it, exercising it and letting it pee before leaving it. It would also help to ensure that the room it stays in is not too hot, noisy and that there is a space for it to lie down.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.