Hands Off The Dog - Unless By Request
Touch between dogs is usually limited to familiarity or fighting. Unlike people who like to shake hands, even hug strangers, dogs are careful about who they touch and why. Familiarity is an excellent reason that dogs touch each other, which is linked to their individual preference of social distance.
Dogs may or may not enjoy touch with others. Some are precious about their personal space whilst others all pile into one bed leaving the rest of them empty. It’s lovely to see our dogs cuddled up together but we can’t force it. We must allow them to be themselves.
Play between dogs most often involves touching in some way. They may wrestle, muzzle fence or bash each other with front paws. Play is a number of behaviours left over from the dog’s predator ancestors and occurs simply for fun, bonding and sometimes to communicate a bigger message. But that's always by choice and with excellent communication and mutual consent.
We have a lot to learn from dogs, so let's look more and touch less, unless by request.