I have a dog that would cuddle with me all the time, but now as he was getting older, he wouldn’t even come near me when I was on my couch! What happened? Why won’t my dog cuddle with me anymore?
Possibly because you are not giving them enough attention, or they don’t feel safe in your space. Sometimes it is an illness, and other times it could be a sign that the dog feels neglected, old age (older dogs may no longer have the vigor to cuddle), or fearing you.
1. Your Dog is Sick or in Pain
Your cuddly dog may no longer feel like cuddling with you because they have an underlying health condition. If your pet was once up and about but now remains down in the corner of the couch, then they are likely nursing some sort of illness or injury that prevents them from moving around as much.
Ask yourself a few questions. Is your dog still interested in eating or drinking? If not, you may need to take him immediately to the vet for dehydration and/or shock treatment before he gets worse. Does your pet seem lethargic rather than playful at this time of day when normally, they are full of energy? Do they have any wounds or bumps on their body? Any of these could be an indication that your dog is suffering from an illness or injury.
If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet first before anything else.
2. Your Dog is Getting Older
As your dog is getting older, your dog’s behavior may change too. Dogs can be considered geriatric at the age of six or seven years old. They might only want a little attention in the form of an occasional pat on the head.
This has nothing to do with a decrease in affection, but more so because they are getting older and simply want their personal space as they age. In addition, their joints may be sore or stiff from old age, which might make it hard for them to cuddle up next to you like they used to.
If your dog is limping or struggling to get up, then it’s best not to make your older dog feel uncomfortable by forcing them. Instead, offer the occasional pat on the head if they’ll allow it and let them enjoy some rest time in their bed instead.
3. Your Dog Feels Neglected
Dogs need attention too, and if your fur baby has not been getting as much attention as they used to, they might start feeling neglected and don’t want to cuddle anymore.
If you’re wondering if your dog is feeling neglected, look no further than your dog himself. They may not be the most talkative of companions, but they’re not complete strangers to body language. If you notice your dog engaging in destructive behavior like excessive digging, chewing, or scratching, it’s possible that they feel neglected and are trying to tell you something.
No matter how busy life gets, there are still plenty of things that you can do to make time for your dog. For example, you can spend an hour with them in the morning before work and another hour after work.
4. Your Dog is Scared of You
If your dog is acting nervous and stressed when you try to cuddle, it might be because they’re scared of what’s coming next. Perhaps you have scolded them too much, or you have done it in the wrong way; either way, you want to apologize to your dog.
Do dogs understand when you apologize? Yes! As much as we would like to think that dogs are mindless and don’t understand any of what’s going on around them, there is some truth in the matter. Your furry friend understands both verbal apologies and physical ones such as petting or treats! For example, in Masson’s book “The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving,” he explains how dogs can understand when their human apologizes.
If you’re unsure about how to apologize to your dog, here are few steps you can take:
- Start by petting the dog in an appeasing way. It may take a while for them to respond, but they will eventually lower their head and get closer.
- If your dog does not seem interested or is still acting angry, then give them some space until you can do these steps again with more patience.
- When giving them attention, be sure to speak softly, so they know that everything is okay now.
- You can also offer food or treats as a way to say sorry to your dog.
5. Your Dog Doesn’t Know if You Want Cuddles or Not
Some dog owners find it odd that their dogs won’t cuddle up to them. The truth is if you never tell them that you want cuddles, then why should they come and give one?
Just like anything else in your dog’s life, from potty training to barking too much, you need to train them and tell them what you want constantly. Just as a parent needs to teach their child how to do things, so do you need to teach your dog.
6. Your Dog is Not Fond of Cuddling
Some breeds like Staffordshire bull terrier and Golden Retriever are more affectionate than others. These social dog breeds love to be around their human and will cuddle with them anytime, anywhere.
However, not all dogs are like that. Other breeds, like Rottweilers or German Shepherds, for example, are more likely to want a pat on the head than an actual snuggle session.
7. Your Dog is Jealous
If your dog used to get all of your attention, but now you are always giving it to your new family member or new dog, then the dog might just be jealous. Dogs who are jealous will do everything they can to get your attention, and most of the time in not-so-good ways.
For example, some of the time, they might avoid physical contact with you, make a stink about being left alone for too long, and even try to steal some food off of your plate.
What To Do To Encourage Your Dog Cuddle with You
For all dog lovers out there, don’t get too scared. It is not an uphill task to make your pup cuddle with you again. Here are some tips that will encourage your furry friend to let their guard down and just enjoy the moment:
1. Train Your Dog to Cuddle and Chill
Whether you are looking for a way to relax after work or just want that moment of calm when your fido feels the same, make sure that they learn how to chill and cuddle. You can teach them this by doing these three things:
- Play with the dog first, so they get tired out, and then tries putting them on your lap and asking them to be still.
- Give the dog a treat when sitting on your lap for more than one minute without trying anything else. This will make them associate cuddles with positive outcomes and will want to do it again (positive reinforcement training).
- Practice this activity every day or few days to establish consistency.
2. Rule Out Any Medical Condition
Ask your veterinarian if there is anything physically wrong with your dog. There might be a medical condition that won’t let them get close to you or other members of the family.
If your vet says everything is fine, then it’s time to look for behavioral cues. For example, if you have recently brought another pet, see if they’re getting along well with each other.
How to deal with a jealous dog? If your first dog seems jealous, try to be more attentive with them. Give both of the same amounts of attention and affection. For example, you can get them involved in play activities.
3. Give Your Dog Enough Stimulation and Exercise
There is an old saying that couldn’t be truer: “A tired dog is a good dog.” Just like with us, when your dog gets enough stimulation (mental and physical), they will be happy and well-adjusted.
That’s why it’s important that every day your dog gets to have enough exercise. Exercise is not only good for them, but it can also help them to release all that energy they have built up. A walk, a toss of the ball, a game of tug, or a game of fetch, do whatever your dog loves most.
Dogs are social animals who love to be near their owners. After all, they’ve spent the last 10,000 years evolving with humans and may have a biological need for human contact as much as we do.
So if your dog is refusing to snuggle up next to you or has started getting anxious when it’s around you, there could be an underlying reason that needs attention (like anxiety).
To understand what might be going on and give them the care they deserve, schedule an appointment at your local vet’s office today!