If your Golden Retriever doesn’t like to cuddle then this post will help you figure out why and what you can do about it.

So, why does my Golden Retriever not like to cuddle? Possible reasons are that previous owners mistreated it, illness or injury, being a puppy, wanting more exercise, depression or being fearful of something.

There are actually a number of reasons why it might not be doing it but there are some things you can consider that will help in figuring out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do to get it to like cuddling you more.

Why your Golden Retriever doesn’t like to cuddle

The different reasons why your Golden Retriever doesn’t like cuddling will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.

Previous owners

The cause could be that previous owners mistreated it and now it does not like showing affection towards people. 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

The cause could be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it stopped cuddling suddenly and if it suddenly became more fatigued or it suddenly started showing other signs of illness or injury. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.


The cause could also be that something has been causing it to be fearful. It could be the case 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.


The cause might be that it naturally does not like cuddling. This would be more likely if it has never wanted to cuddle.

This would not be unusual behavior since dogs don’t always show affection the way 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.


If your Golden Retriever is still a puppy, it could be the case that it doesn’t want to do it because it is full of energy. If it is a puppy, it would be more likely that it will become more willing to cuddle as it gets older.

It wants exercise

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise in order to be fully stimulated. The reason why it does not like to cuddle could be that it needs more exercise.

Generally, it is recommended for healthy Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If yours is not getting that much and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it starts getting more exercise daily.

Things to consider

If it always avoided cuddling

If it didn’t always avoid cuddling, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to stop.

If it did stop suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as mistreatment, depression, not getting enough exercise or illness.

Whereas, if it always avoided it, then it would be more likely to be due to naturally not wanting to do it.

When it doesn’t cuddle

It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to avoid cuddling since the timing could also have something to do with it.

For example, if it won’t do it before it has gotten exercise, it could be because it is understimulated and it is feeling too energetic to cuddle.

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

It’s also important to consider that not cuddling does not mean that it does not like you. It is not uncommon for dogs to not want to cuddle and there are many other ways that it might be showing you affection. I have written about how it might be showing you affection in this post.

How to get your Golden Retriever to like cuddling more

Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do to get your Golden Retriever to like being cuddled more.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your Golden Retriever for showing signs of behaving the way you want it to and avoiding rewarding it when it does not.

To use positive reinforcement training to get your Golden Retriever to cuddle you more you could do as follows:

  • Tell your Golden Retriever to come where you are sat. If you have not trained your Golden Retriever 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 have been giving your Golden Retriever rewards when it doesn’t cuddle it could have been reinforcing the behavior. Instead, try rewarding it when it does cuddle.

Don’t punish it or get emotional around it

It would also help to avoid punishing your Golden Retriever when it misbehaves and to use positive reinforcement training instead. By punishing it, you might be causing it to become resentful and it might not even know why it is being punished.

Give it lots of exercise and attention

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Golden Retriever is able to get lots of daily exercise. If it is not already getting exercise daily, it would help to start making sure that it gets more provided that it is healthy.

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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.