The lighter side of life with Kate Mason: Dogs don’t like hugs – are you completely barking mad?

Dog cuddles

Dog cuddles

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Dogs may have earned a reputation as man’s best friend but that doesn’t mean they want to be cuddled, according to new research claiming they hate being hugged by humans.

I heard this shocking revelation on the radio as I was driving to work.

It’s not often I feel compelled to shout my opinion out loud when travelling in the car on my own but I couldn’t help but have a one-sided argument with the newsreader as I dismissed this research as utter rubbish.

I shook my head in disapproval as the newsreader explained what the new study from the University of British Columbia had revealed.

Prof Stanley Coren said that his research showed four out of every five dogs exhibit signs of stress when being hugged by humans.

He said: “If you go onto the internet you will find literally thousands of photos of very happy people with very stressed dogs.”

He told reporters he noticed signs of stress in 82 per cent of the images of people hugging dogs.

Apparently our playful pals can perceive a loving cuddle as a trap or a cage.

I may not be a professor but I’ve been conducting my own research for the past three and a half years with my own dog and my survey says – he loves a cuddle.

For my dog, Bertie, a cuddle is right up there with a good head scratch or game of fetch.

Not only does he accept hugs he even initiates them himself, clambering over the sofa just to come and snuggle up – I’m no pet psychologist but I’m pretty sure a wagging tail means he’s a fan.

This is why for me the whole cat vs dog argument is a no-brainer – dogs aren’t like their feline arch enemies who look at you in disgust when you stroke them and make you work for their affection.

You know where you stand with a dog, they are more than happy to show you exactly how happy they are – there’s a reason the O2 advert tells us to be more dog.

So what are the telltale signs that a dog is anti-cuddles?

A stressed-out dog won’t have a moan and pour a large glass of wine like us but a yawn could indicate your furry little friend is less than impressed with your overbearing antics. A dog may also turn his head away, his ears will slick back and his eyes will be averted.

But before you go easy on the puppy love I’d take this so-called scientific research with a pinch of salt.