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Why Won’t My Dog Cuddle With Me Anymore? 7 Possible Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

bernese mountain dog on the brown couch

When we bring home a puppy, it’s easy to get them to snuggle up beside us because they like the warmth of our bodies, and it reminds them of cuddling with their mom and the rest of the litter. However, various circumstances turn a once cuddly dog into one that likes its own space. Don’t feel too down if your dog isn’t cuddling you anymore. Pets have uncommon ways of communicating with us, and more often than not, it isn’t anything personal. This informative dog article provides you with a list of reasons why your pet may be taking some time for themselves, as well as tips for trying to get them to enjoy being back in your arms.

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Why Did My Dog Stop Cuddling Me?

Canines are highly perceptive and use their senses to pick up changes in their environments. Behavioral changes are always something to take a mental note of, but try not to be too concerned about it. While they are sometimes communicating with you that something is wrong, it might just be that they are going through some changes that have nothing to do with you at all. Here are a few reasons why your dog might be enjoying their alone time:

Dog on a Couch with owner Jumpstory
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Divider 1The 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Stop Cuddling

1. Boredom

Some humans love to sit on the couch, snuggled up in blankets all day. Certain breeds enjoy that too, but it’s not the best idea for dogs who like to spend some of their pent-up energy. Energetic dogs like to be stimulated, and cuddling becomes a bit monotonous over time. Your pup might kick and squirm until he or she sets themself loose because they are no longer interested in what you’re offering. Pay special attention to what your pet is trying to tell you. Are they initiating a play session or trying to roughhouse? If you’re desperate to get your dog back by your side, consider that they might need some entertainment for the moment.

2. Jealousy

Humans know the feeling of jealousy all too well, and the last thing you want to do is go love on the person who made you feel that way in the first place. If you brought a new dog, pet, or baby into the house, your dog is probably feeling sulky that they’re no longer your number one priority. They’re also sensitive to new smells that linger on your clothes and possessions. If your dog gets especially anxious around new people and environments, they might prefer to stay away while they readjust. Of course, some dogs act the exact opposite and demand your attention when they’re feeling jealous. This characteristic is dependent on each individual dog and how they personally respond to new pets and people.

pekingese dog sad while owner pays attention to the cat
Image Credit: Denis Mamin, Shutterstock

3. Illness

Sick dogs often behave in unusual ways, and cuddling might be making it worse. A behavior change is always something to be mindful of. Pay attention to any other adjustments in your dog’s performance and routine. Check them for pain or signs of illness so that you can take them to the vet’s clinic and get them back to feeling normal.

4. Personality Changes

You aren’t the same person you were 5 years ago, and neither is your dog. They lose interest in some things, and becoming less social is relatively common in animals. This process is especially prevalent in young dogs progressing through the developmental stages. It’s sometimes disheartening to think we brought home an affectionate puppy only to have them mature into one that is more independent. Our job as dog owners is to love them through all of their phases and let them know that the opportunity to cuddle is always available without forcing them.

woman sitting down with two dogs and a cat
Image Credit: Chewy, Unsplash

5. Abuse

It’s painful to think about, but not all dogs come from the loving homes we hope they do. If your fur kid came from an abusive owner prior to you, they might be overly cautious around you and other people. Keep your eyes peeled for how your dog gets treated by your friends and family. If there was an incident where they were abused behind your back, it might have traumatized them into thinking that their home is no longer safe. Be patient with your pups and think critically about who and what was around when the behavior changed.

6. Being Forced

Would you want to be forced to cuddle someone every night when you’d prefer to lay on your bed by yourself? Even though it makes you sad that they stopped cuddling, forcing your dog to be affectionate isn’t the resolution. Allow your dog to move toward you whenever he or she desires. Natural affection is one baby step toward getting them to cuddle you again. Remember that if they genuinely wanted to cuddle, they probably would.

Portrait of Sad Red Dachshund Dog
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

7. Stressful Situations

Almost all pet owners have experienced a time where they took their dog to the vet and watched them shake from being so scared. Some situations make your dog extremely uncomfortable, and they might be too shaken up to even consider cuddling with you for a while.

Their general body language tells you everything you need to know. If they have a stiff body, lowered head, and pulled-back ears, they’re not in the mood to be touched. Not all dogs react this way, but some freak out about even minor examinations, and excessive stress is a perfectly plausible reason for them wanting some distance from humans for a while. Let them decompress in a comforting space and they’ll come around sooner or later.


Encouraging Cuddles From Your Dog in 5 Ways

It makes us feel a little unloved when our fur babies choose to take some time away from us. You should never force your dog to cuddle if they don’t want to, but there are some ways to encourage them to try it out again.

1. Bond With Them

Set aside a little bit of time every day to show your dog you care about them. A long walk, prolonged eye contact, and fun play sessions are all ways to show your dog how much you care about their wants and needs and bring you two closer together.

2. Brush Their Fur

Grooming is a valuable experience between pet and owner. Brushing gets rid of the fur that flies around the house while making the dog feel good and giving them healthy skin and hair. Brushing your pet’s fur regularly also teaches them that they are safe when being handled by you and builds trust.

brushing a husky
Image Credit: Yuriy Koronovskiy, Shutterstock

3. Remain Calm

Punishing your dog when they don’t cuddle with you might confuse them even more and force them to stop trusting you. Instead, reward your dog for good behavior. Give them positive reinforcement when they sit by you or let you pet them so that they associate your touch with something happy.

4. Think Critically

Stop asking yourself what happened with the dog and instead ask yourself if anything could have happened on your end to cause the change. Did you change their food, or are they no longer eating right? Was there something new happening at home? Did they get introduced to new dogs or people? There are so many different things that could create a switch, and it’s better the use a process of elimination than assume that they simply don’t like you anymore.

hand patting a sad dog
Image Credit: 8th.creator, Shutterstock

5. Ask Your Vet

Veterinarians are trained professionals and often have secret tricks up their sleeve for changing behavior. Thoroughly explain to your vet everything that happened around the time of the switch and describe how they react to you when you try to cuddle. The more information they have, the easier it is for them to evaluate what went wrong.

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Final Thought

Dogs are complex creatures, and it’s hard to say precisely what caused them to stop cuddling with you. Illness, stress, and boredom are all potential factors, and figuring it out becomes more challenging unless you remain calm and observant. With just the right amount of patience and dedication, you’ll be able to get your dog curious about cuddles again so you can welcome them back with wide-open arms.

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Featured Image Credit: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

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