Reasons why your dog does not like to cuddle?

why does my dog not want to cuddle

You have a dog and when you come home you are happy to lie on the couch with him and cuddle? Your dog, however, is not the biggest cuddler? He turns away or maybe even walks away because he doesn’t like to cuddle?

In this article, I’ll go over the reasons why your dog may not want to cuddle.

One point why your dog doesn’t want to cuddle or even rejects cuddles in general could indicate past abuse. If you have a dog from a shelter you usually don’t know exactly he was before and how the previous owners treated him.

I go into more possibilities in the post….

Why your dog does not want to be cuddled or petted

Your dog is in pain

If your dog loved petting before and suddenly withdraws it may indicate that he is in pain.

This can have different reasons, some of which are not tragic.

  • Your puppy could have growing pains and therefore not want to be petted. This will pass.
  • An older dog may have pain in the joints.
  • An active dog has injured himself while running or doing “sports” like agility.

These can all be reasons why your dog may not currently like to be petted or may even be giving up previously loved cuddles.

In case of doubt, a visit to the vet can shed some light on the matter.

He just does not like to cuddle

When you acquire a dog, it may be that this dog simply does not want to be petted. As sad as it sounds, not every dog likes to be petted – just like us humans, there are different characters. Our Cane Corso is just the opposite…. She can never get enough… If you too are thinking of getting a Cane Corso, find out here if the Cane Corso is for first time owners.

Malou & Nick

You messed up in puppyhood

If you snatch your puppy in the first days from a calm situation. For example, he is dozing on his dog bed and you abruptly yank him out of the situation pick him up because he is so cute and you want to cuddle.

This can shock him and he may take a little distance in the future because the situation has frightened him so much.

Give your puppy time to get used to the situation, don’t overload him in the first days. If he is generally a somewhat reserved puppy, do not force petting on him. Let the puppy come to you – earn his affection.

The same is true with all dogs, of course. Forced love is never good and often goes to the opposite.

You are too rough or doing it wrong

Maybe you are just doing it wrong.

You can’t cuddle with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel the same way you can with a Cane Corso. One dog likes the gentle and relaxed petting and the next loves to be really kneaded.

Pay attention to what your dog likes and doesn’t like.

Very few dogs like to be petted over the head. If you do it all the time, don’t be surprised if your dog not only ducks away all the time, but eventually walks away.

Your dog may not like being petted on the rear end but loves it on the chest, etc.

How you can tell that your dog doesn’t like to cuddle

If your dog doesn’t like to cuddle or refuses petting, he will show you.

The most obvious way to show you that they don’t want to be petted is if they just walk away.

Many dogs will also pull their head in a little or turn it away, just when you stroke them. They do not go away directly, but endure it.

But the slight pulling in of the head is a sign that they don’t like it. If you notice it, try petting your dog on the chest, for example.

Most dogs like that. And watch for the change in your dog.

What to do if your dog does not want to be petted

Never force cuddles or petting on your dog. If you force it, he will only withdraw more.

If you have a small dog that doesn’t want to lie on your lap then by all means don’t hold him and force it. Your dog needs to feel comfortable.

It is the same with our dogs. Our Broholmer loves to be near us. She also likes to be petted. But it can also be that she just wants to lie next to you and the cuddling becomes too much for her. Then she gets up and leaves.

Our Cane Corso can’t get enough petting. She practically lays on top of you and demands intense cuddles. If we don’t comply, she tries to animate our hands with her muzzle. Always nudges them and demands petting.

Can a dog become a cuddler?

Yes, with a lot of patience, even a dog that previously refused petting can learn to love it. Give your dog time. Wait until your dog approaches you. Accept even if he just wants to lie quietly next to you.

Start with short, gentle touches and watch how your dog behaves. If he gives you any indication of leaving, stop and just let him lie quietly next to you.

Build a respectful relationship with each other and show your dog that he can trust you and that you won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.

Over time, even the dog with the greatest aversion to physical contact may seek out your touch.

If your dog wants to be petted or cuddled, he will seek your closeness.

Respect your dog

It’s not about what you want. It’s about your dog and what he wants or doesn’t want. Of course, everybody likes it when the dog wants to be close to his humans and wants to be petted. But if your dog has had bad experiences you have to give him time to trust you.

If your dog is in pain, talk to your vet. And if your dog just doesn’t like to be touched, you have to accept that.

Which dogs like to cuddle

There are dog breeds that are known to love to cuddle with their humans. They simply seek contact and always want to be close. These include

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Cane Corso (Malou loves it and demands it regularly – so sometimes it becomes too much for us)
  • Golden Retriever (Are Golden Retrievers aggressive)
  • Stafford Shire Bullterrier (love children and are great family dogs in England)
  • Havanese (they are known for not liking to be left alone and build a close relationship with their owners)
  • Maltese (Maltese do not like to stay alone and would like to follow their owners everywhere)

Conclusion: Why your dog does not like to cuddle

There can be several reasons why your dog doesn’t like to cuddle or be petted. A main reason with animals from the shelter can be bad experiences with the previous owners.

It is important to give your dog time to trust you and not to force it. (Contributing image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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