+
Most Shared

New research shows hugs may give dogs anxiety. 10 things to try instead.

So it turns out, dogs kind of hate hugs.

You may be thinking: "Not my dog! She loves our tender embraces."


But odds are, your pup is not nearly as happy about them as you are.

After watching students interact with dogs at a "Doggy De-Stress" event, psychologist and dog expert Dr. Stanley Coren decided to look into research on human/dog hugs.

Despite how often humans hug dogs, there was little research as to whether the animals actually enjoyed it. So Coren grabbed a couple hundred images of humans hugging dogs off the internet and looked for signs of stress (things like lowered ears, lip-licking, turning their heads away from the source of stress, and more). It's not exactly a perfect science, but Coren's methods revealed some interesting findings.

A pug gets a hug from its owner at a Halloween parade. Photo by istoletheTV/Flickr.

In 81% of the photographs, the dogs appeared to show at least one sign of discomfort or anxiety. Around 7% appeared comfortable, and the remaining dogs had ambiguous or neutral responses.

So knowing what we know now, here are 10 simple (and a few slightly silly) ways to show your furry friend how much you care, without trapping them in a serious stress-fest.

1. Take your dog on the adventure of a lifetime ... or just a walk.

Taking your dog for frequent walks can promote a healthy digestive system, keep their weight under control, prevent hyperactive behavior, and fosters a strong bond between the two of you.

2. Welcome them home sweet home.

The best way to show a dog you care is to make sure it has a safe, loving home. Even if you don't have the time or resources to be a pet parent, you can support the dogs in your community by volunteering or donating supplies to a local rescue.

These strays picked up by an animal shelter await forever homes. Photo by Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Listen to "Lemonade" with them.

The music of Beyoncé is the greatest gift you can give a human, plant, or animal. Nothing says, "I love you" like inviting your friends, (furry and otherwise) to get in formation.

GIF from Beyoncé's "Formation."

4. Teach your old dog (or young dog) some new tricks.

Learning new tricks and skills can provide a dog with much needed mental stimulation. Depending on the trick, it can improve their physical stamina as well. And knowing how to "shake hands" or "play dead" may prove useful when care providers like the groomer or the vet need to assess your pet.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images.

5. Give them a j-o-b.

For some dogs, learning tricks isn't enough, and they need the thrill and challenge of a K-9-to-5. Whether it's chasing sheep, fielding golf balls, sniffing out cancer, or cheering up residents at a hospital or nursing facility, every pup deserves the positive feeling that comes from a hard day's work.

A South Korean girl holds her trainee guide dog during International Guide Dog Day. Photo by Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images.

6. Roll down the windows and roll through town.

Some dogs love the wind in their face and plenty of things to see and bark at from the comfort of the backseat. Bonus points if you avoid the route to the vet.

Photo by Daniel Ramirez/Flickr.

7. Be their wing-human at the dog park.

The dog park is a great place for your dog to expend some energy, smell all the smells, and play with a bunch of new friends. These interactions allow your dog to practice reading dog social cues and body language, a useful skill that could protect them from aggressive animals.

You don't see much of this at the dog park, but maybe you'll get lucky.

8. Be the bearer of belly rubs.

While hugs may make your dog a little nervous, belly rubs could have the opposite effect. When a dog is comfortable with the way they're being touched, they may roll on their bellies as a submissive display and to increase belly access. If you're meeting a dog for the first time, just make sure to watch for signs of stress, even during a belly-rubbing sesh.

Photo by Jen Arbo/Flickr.

9. Write them an impassioned letter telling them how much you care.

They can't read, but they'll appreciate the effort. Especially if your paper goods smell like treats.

GIF from "Adventure Time."

10. Better yet, just give your dog some treats.

Belly rubs, walks, tricks ... it's all just a long con for the thing your dog wants most: treats. Don't be stingy. After all, he's your best friend.

And after all of those potentially stressful hugs, you kind of owe him one.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less

Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

Keep ReadingShow less

Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

Keep ReadingShow less