Why Your Dog Isn't Cuddling You (6 Insightful Reasons) (2024)

If you’re used to having a super-cuddly dog, you might be a bit surprised or hurt if your dog isn’t cuddling with you anymore. It’s not a good idea to force a dog to show physical affection, and many dogs dislike cuddling. However, if your dog used to be cuddly and has changed his behavior, it could be a sign that something isn’t right. Let’s have a look at why your dog isn’t cuddling with you, and what you can do to put your relationship back on track.

Why isn’t my dog cuddling with me anymore?

If your dog has never been cuddly, it might just be that they don’t want to be physically affectionate. For many dogs, being physically close to a human is intimidating. They may feel nervous and trapped if forced into a cuddle, so you should never force a dog to cuddle that doesn’t want to.

However, if your normally affectionate dog has suddenly stopped cuddling, it might be worth looking at some of these reasons:

Why Your Dog Isn't Cuddling You (6 Insightful Reasons) (1)

1. Timing

Have you changed your routine lately? Dogs may want physical affection at certain points in the day, and changing your routine may mean that your timing is off. If you usually cuddle in the evenings, but now only have time in the morning, perhaps this is what’s confusing your dog.

2. You Adopted a New Dog

Another major change in routine that might upset your dog is a new household member. Although this could be another dog, a new kitten or even a baby can sap your attention and leave your dog feeling left out. Have a think about whether something is taking more of your attention away from your dog, and leaving them to seek their comfort elsewhere.

3. Your Dog is Sick

Any change in behavior can be a sign that something isn’t right with your dog, and not cuddling with you anymore is no exception. Luckily, there will usually be other signs of illness, so watch your dog carefully for any other changes in behavior. Drinking more, urinating oddly, diarrhea, lethargy, and inappetence are all common signs that something isn’t right with your dog and may help your vet to work out what’s going on.

4. You’re Not Treating your Dog Right

Dogs look to us for companionship and leadership. If you haven’t been providing these consistently, your dog may be confused about his relationship with you. Consider whether you’ve been leaving your dog alone for long periods of time, leading him to look for comfort elsewhere. You’ll also need to make sure you’re providing a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and lots of mental stimulation.

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5. Your Dog is Confused

Another thing to check is whether you’re giving consistent messages to your dog – he’ll appreciate clear rules, not ones that change depending on your mood. If he’s not always allowed on the bed to cuddle, but sometimes is, this could get confusing for him. Similarly, if you let him on the sofa to cuddle but your partner tells him off, he’s going to get confused and stop cuddling with you.

6. Your Dog Doesn’t Know if you Want Cuddles

The world of human-canine communication is not an easy one for either party, despite having thousands of years to work on it. Your dog may simply be being polite and not instigating cuddles, instead being mindful that you might not want them. This is more likely if you’ve confused your dog in the past by refusing cuddles.

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How to encourage cuddles from your dog

If you want to get your dog to cuddle you more, we’ve put together some ideas that might help you fathom what’s wrong and fix it.

Consider what happened when your dog stopped cuddling you

Using our reasons why your dog isn’t cuddling you, above, think about whether anything could have upset your dog and stopped them cuddling you. Has there been a change in routine or a new household member? Did you do something that upset your dog, or made them confused about whether you want to be cuddled?

Once you’ve identified what went wrong, you have a greater chance of fixing it.

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Consider what is different when your dog does cuddle you

If your dog still cuddles you occasionally, think about what’s different. Is it your location – are they only cuddling you on the sofa, or in bed? Or perhaps it’s your clothes? Maybe they only cuddle you when they’re scared, tired, or hungry? Figuring out what’s different when your dog does approach you for cuddles can help you work out what’s wrong.

Consider speaking to a vet

A change in behavior, especially when it’s sudden, is a cause for concern. You should consider speaking to a vet if this behavior change comes with any other changes or symptoms that could be concerning. Even a single behavior change like this one could be a clue that something isn’t right. Even though you might feel silly calling the vet about your dog not cuddling, trust your instincts – you know your dog better than anybody!

Reward your dog appropriately

Like all animals, dogs will naturally be more likely to repeat an action that is rewarding. When it comes to cuddles, you might think that the act of cuddling is enough – but your dog may disagree. Try rewarding your dog with a treat when they show physical affection. This will help them realise that they’re doing the right thing, and they’ll try again later in the hope of another treat.

Divide time between multiple dogs

If your dog isn’t cuddling with you due to jealousy or because you aren’t emotionally available, make sure you give individual attention to each of your dogs. You can shut the other dog away for a while if they tend to interrupt quiet cuddles, or get a family member to walk one dog so you can have quiet time with the other.

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Check your house rules are clear and consistent

Remove all confusion about when, where, and with whom cuddles are allowed by making sure all house rules are clear and consistent. Hold a family meeting and decide what furniture the dog is allowed on so that everybody is on the same page.

Teach a ‘cuddle’ command

If your dog is showing confusion about when they can cuddle, you can teach them a ‘cuddle’ command. Next time your dog is having a nice cuddle with you, choose a command word (like ‘cuddle’ or ‘hugs’) and tell them it, then reward them. Each time they come to you for a cuddle, repeat the word, and give them a treat when they comply. In no time, you’ll be able to tell your dog that you are in the mood for a cuddle.

You can also introduce a command for stopping the cuddle session or letting your dog know that cuddles are not wanted right now. This can be handy if you have a persistent dog who will bother members of the family throughout the day.

Summary: Why isn’t my dog cuddling with me anymore?

If your dog doesn’t want to cuddle with you anymore, it’s understandable you might feel confused and hurt. But remember, dogs don’t think the same way as humans. They aren’t meaning to punish you or teach you a lesson, and they don’t mean to hurt you. In fact, it’s possible your dog is as confused as you are!

Use our tips to take a good long look at why your dog might not want to cuddle, and how you can fix it. And remember – if it’s out of character, consider whether it could be a symptom of illness, and contact your vet if you’re concerned.

Why Your Dog Isn't Cuddling You (6 Insightful Reasons) (2024)


Why does my dog not want to cuddle with me? ›

Some puppers may only want to cuddle based on temperature, which might change dramatically whether they're overly cold or hot. We also need to consider that the ways we physically demonstrate love aren't often preferred by them. For example, many dogs don't like kisses, hugs, or tickles.

Why won't my dog let me hold him anymore? ›

Dogs can sometimes associate negative experiences with certain actions or environments, and this may lead to avoidance behavior. It's also possible that he's experiencing some sort of physical discomfort that makes being held unpleasant for him.

Why doesn't my dog love me anymore? ›

Some are major, such as physical punishment or not providing enough exercise, while others are more difficult to pinpoint—a lack of confidence in the relationship or lack of engagement with the dog.

What dog breed doesn't like to cuddle? ›

Much like humans, not all dogs show affection the same way, with the study discovering that Scottish Terriers, Malamute pups and Cairn Terriers also don't enjoy cuddles. "One thing to take into consideration is that some dogs simply aren't as affectionate towards their owners than others," says the study.

Why does my dog pull away when I try to cuddle? ›

Dogs are not humans and cuddling, petting and kissing them does not mean the same thing to them that it means to us. Dogs usually exhibit this behavior when they are anxious or insecure.

How to get your dog to cuddle with you? ›

Rather than offering pats, snuggles and hugs, wait for her to request them from you. You'll find that the more you let your dog make the decisions about cuddle time, the more often she'll ask for it.

Why is my dog not clingy to me? ›

If so, your dog may have trust issues or even feel afraid of humans. Additionally, just like some humans, your dog may enjoy his personal space. Not everyone enjoys a lot of physical closeness. Animals and humans alike have different attitudes toward petting, physical proximity and cuddling.

Why does my dog not want me to pet him anymore? ›

Dogs' human touch preferences often seem to boil down to how they're feeling in the moment and their general preferences for getting petted. But behavior experts say a preference for or distrust of humans can also play a role.

Why has my dog stopped hanging out with me? ›

Changes in behavior may indicate a health problem, so it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian. Health isn't the only reason a dog's behavior changes. A dog who suddenly becomes disinterested in his pack may be experiencing a wide range of emotions, such as jealousy, anxiety or depression.

Why has my dog become less affectionate? ›

Some of the most common reasons for dogs not bonding with their owners are down to the owner's behavior. This could be obvious things like yelling, aggression, excessive punishments, and even violence.

Why is my dog distancing himself from me? ›

Boredom, pain, aging and stress can all cause a dog to act distant from you.

Why did my dog stop cuddling with me? ›

Stressful situations, like a trip to the vet, can make any dog less likely to enjoy touch. Pet parents who take the time to understand what their dog is telling them will know when a petting session is appreciated and when it actually makes their furry best friend uncomfortable.

Which dog breed is the most needy? ›

  • #1 Vizsla. Known as the ultimate Velcro dog, this Hungarian breed is literally attached to their owner, and is happiest when right by your side. ...
  • #2 Labrador Retriever. ...
  • #4 Maltese. ...
  • #5 Golden Retriever. ...
  • #6 German Shepherd. ...
  • #7 Pug. ...
  • #8 Shetland Sheepdog. ...
  • #9 Italian Greyhound.

Why doesn't my dog want to sleep with me anymore? ›

Dogs can experience stress and anxiety, and it might manifest in changes to their sleep patterns. New routines, loud noises, or even changes in your behavior can contribute to your dog seeking solitude at bedtime. Creating a calm and secure environment might encourage them to return to their favorite spot beside you.

Why is my dog so needy for cuddles? ›

Dogs are social animals, and they have evolved tight bonds with their human companions, so it's totally normal for your dog to want your attention and affection. But a dog being clingy could be a sign of a deeper issue, such as anxiety, stress, or even an underlying health problem.

Why does my dog back away when I reach for him? ›

It could be that he's shy or scared - especially if you're a lot bigger than your pup and you're just establishing your relationship. Or, he could be trying to play "chase" and backing away as a playful gesture. The easiest way to tell how your pup is feeling is based on their body language.

Why does my dog cuddle my partner but not me? ›

It doesn't mean your dogs like your partner more, they just have an affinity that creates a special bond. If you pay attention, you may find that your dog chooses who to go to based on need. You may be the "go-to" person when they need comfort and your partner is who they turn to for play.

Why does my dog turn away from me when I try to kiss him? ›

Kiss them

Putting your face right next to a dog's face can be perceived by the dog as threatening behavior. Some dogs find it scary, while others simply find it annoying.

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