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Why does my Labrador not like to cuddle?

Why does my Labrador not like to cuddle?
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If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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.

Your Labrador might not like doing it for a number of different reasons and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.

Why your Labrador doesn’t like to cuddle

Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might not like to cuddle and what would make them more likely to be the reason.

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 might become more affectionate as it becomes more used to its new environment. 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 issue could be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has stopped wanting to cuddle suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued. In this case, the best option would be to take it to 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. Fear would also be more likely to be the reason if it becomes anxious when you try to hug it. In this case, you could try doing it more calmly.


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.

I have written more about the ways your Labrador might be showing affection towards you and that it loves you in this post.


If your Labrador 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

It could be the case that it is understimulated and it has excess energy. This would be more likely if it does cuddle for a while but it quickly gets bored. Generally, it is recommended for Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy adults. If yours isn’t getting that much and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider about it not wanting to cuddle.

If it always avoided cuddling

It help to consider whether or not it has always avoided doing it. If it stopped doing it 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 the timing of when it does it. If it does cuddle at certain times but not at others, the timing might have something to do with it.

For example, if it is more willing to do it after getting exercise, it might be a sign that it needs to get more exercise.

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 Labrador to like cuddling more

Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to be more willing to cuddle.

Positive reinforcement training

One option would be to train it to do it using positive reinforcement training.

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

  • Tell your Labrador to come where you are sat. If you have not trained your Labrador 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 encourage behaviors that you don’t want to see by giving your Labrador things that it wants when it does them. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it doesn’t cuddle, it could be encouraging it not to do it.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it does cuddle and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Don’t punish it or get emotional around it

It would also help to avoid punishing it for not doing what you want. If you punish it then it might not understand why it is being punished and it could cause it to become resentful. Instead, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave.

Give it lots of exercise and attention

It would also help to give it lots of exercise and attention so that it is more likely to want to show affection towards you.

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