If your dog doesn’t like to cuddle you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog doesn’t like to cuddle and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog not like to cuddle? Possible reasons why your dog does not like to cuddle are that it is ill or injured, frightened, depressed, it doesn’t like it naturally or that it wants more exercise.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog might not want to do it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.

Why your dog doesn’t like to cuddle

Each of the different reasons that your dog doesn’t like to cuddle will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might be the case and what would make them more likely. Once you have an idea of the cause it will become a lot easier to get it to want to cuddle more.

Previous owners

The reason that it does not like to cuddle could be that it was mistreated by previous owners. This would be more likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter.

In this case, it would be likely that it will become more comfortable around you as time goes on. However, it would help make it more comfortable around you if you give it lots of attention in the form of training, exercise and play.

Illness or injury

An illness or injury might be the cause. This would be more likely if it did cuddle, in the past, but it has suddenly stopped doing it. It would also be more likely if it has been acting unusually in other ways and if it has been showing other signs of being ill.

If you think that illness or injury might be the cause then the best option for you would be to take it to a vet.

Fear

It might be the case that something is causing your dog to be fearful. It could be that someone mistreated it or that there is something causing it to be fearful in its environment.

It could also be the case that it gets intimidated when you try to hug it. This would be more likely if it always avoided letting you hug it and it seems to get frightened when you try to but it acts normally otherwise.

Related: why does my dog cower?

Nature

It could also be the case that it naturally doesn’t want to cuddle. This would be more likely if it has always avoided cuddling and if it has not suddenly started not wanting to be cuddled.

This is not unusual since dogs won’t always show affection the way that we might expect them to. Other ways that your dog might be trying to show affection could be coming to you when you call it, getting excited when you come home and keeping pace with you when on a walk.

Age

The reason that your dog doesn’t like to cuddle could be that it is still young. When dogs are puppies they will be much more full of energy and less likely to want to stay still. If your dog is still a puppy then it is likely that it will be more willing to cuddle as it gets older.

It wants exercise

Dogs require a lot of exercise. Depending on the breed, they can require as much as an hour of exercise per day and for some breeds such as Huskies, even that isn’t enough. When they don’t get a lot of exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral issues and could be why yours doesn’t want to stay in place with you.

If yours is not getting the recommended amount of exercise for its breed, it would help to make sure that it does.

Depression

Dogs are capable of getting depression like humans do and the reason that it might be avoiding being cuddled could be that it is depressed. This would be more likely if it suddenly started doing it after something happened that might have caused it to get depressed. Things that might have happened could include someone moving away or another dog passing away.

Related: Why is my dog scared of me?

Things to consider

Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog doesn’t like to cuddle. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.

If your dog always avoided cuddling

When trying to figure out why it doesn’t want to do it considering whether or not it always did it would be helpful to consider.

If it always avoided cuddling, it would make it more likely that it does it naturally.

Whereas, if it started avoiding cuddling suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as mistreatment, depression, not getting enough exercise or illness.

When your dog doesn’t cuddle

The timing of when it doesn’t like doing it would also be helpful to consider.

If it seems to only avoid cuddling at certain times then it could be due to things such as a poor diet or not getting enough exercise.

If it always seems to avoid it then it would be more likely to be due to nature, illness, depression or being a puppy still.

Not liking cuddling doesn’t mean that it doesn’t like you

If you think that not liking to cuddle means that it doesn’t like you then that wouldn’t be true. Dogs can show affection in many ways and not necessarily in ways that we would expect. Getting excited when you come home, coming when you call it and keeping pace with you on a walk can all be signs of affection.

How to get your dog to like cuddling more

There are a number of things that you can do about your dog not wanting to cuddle. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.

Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.

Positive reinforcement training

One thing you can do is to try positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your dog for doing things that you want it to with attention or treats.

To use it to get your dog to cuddle you more you could do as follows:

  • Tell your dog to come where you are sat. If you have not trained your dog to come on command then I have written about how you can do it here.
  • Reward it for coming to you
  • Then reward it just before you think that it will leave
  • Repeat the above. Each time you do it wait a little longer before you reward it for staying with you until you can get it to stay with you without leaving.

Avoid negative reinforcement training

Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by rewarding your dog when it displays them. If you often give your dog things that it wants, when it doesn’t cuddle you, it could be that you have inadvertently trained it not to do it.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it doesn’t do it and to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to.

Don’t punish it or get emotional around it

If you punish your dog when it does something that you do not like, it might not know what you are punishing it for and it could cause it to become resentful. Instead of punishing it, try rewarding good behavior, avoiding rewarding bad behaviors and using positive reinforcement training.

Give it lots of exercise and attention

If your dog is not getting much exercise or attention at the moment then it would help to make sure that it does. One good way to give it both would be to train it to play fetch this will help to wear it out quickly.

Take it to a vet

If you can’t figure out why your dog won’t cuddle you or you think that there might be a medical reason then it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.

Why does my dog not like to cuddle anymore?

Likely reasons why your dog does not like to cuddle anymore are that it thinks you do not want it to cuddle, illness, injury, or a change in its environment. It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first stopped cuddling.

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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.