For most devoted pet parents, having a comfortable cuddle session with their dog is one of the highlights of their days, and a definite perk of the relationship. Sometimes, however, dogs may prefer to keep to their own, either occasionally or all of the time. If you're wondering why your dog isn't snuggling with you, it's helpful to consider their personality and preference for personal space. Like, people, all dogs are unique individuals — some like to be close and cuddly at all times, while others may prefer a more aloof style of showing their appreciation.
Why won’t my dog cuddle me?
There are a number of reasons why a dog wouldn't want to cuddle, some more serious than others. For starters, some dogs, like some people, just don't want to cuddle because they simply don't like it. In fact, some breeds are known for being more aloof than others, who express a more reserved temperament than one that is eager to please and engage in play. Such breeds include chow chows, Akitas, Tibetan mastiffs, and Rottweilers, although any dog may prefer to keep to themselves rather than snuggle up with someone else.
Additionally, your dog just may not like to cuddle the same way you do. Psychology Today suggests resisting the urge to hug your dog because it may stress him out. Why? Dogs rely on their ability to run away from stressful or potentially harmful situations, so if they're physically restrained from doing so, it may initiate a panic response from them. Dogs naturally cuddle up as puppies for warmth and socialization — some dogs still find cuddling to be stress relieving later in life, while others don't find the need for it after having reached adulthood.
Dogs and affection
If your dog doesn't cuddle with you, try to not take it personally, and remember that dogs and humans simply have different ways of showing their affection to others. Dogs and humans share love and adoration differently, and canines show affection in a number of ways, some of which you may not have noticed as affirmations. Some of these behaviors include following their people around, leaning against a person's legs, expressing excitement, like tail wagging, when they see someone they like, making eye contact when their owner speaks, and bringing people toys or their favorite playthings, says VCA Hospitals.
In general, dogs love being in social relationships, even if that just means having a companion who is reliable, kind, safe, and fun to be around. Even if your dog isn't the type to cuddle under the covers as you lie in bed on a lazy morning, or plop down next to you on the couch while you enjoy a movie at night, your canine friend definitely has his way of showing love.
When to be concerned
Sometimes, a dog may not opt to snuggle their favorite human friend because they don't feel good, which could be a definite possibility if your dog used to cuddle you and suddenly stops. Physical pain from an injury, like a pulled muscle, may cause your dog to suddenly withdraw from touch, or possibly, interaction of any kind. Dental diseases can also be a source of pain that isn't always easy to spot, and may lead a dog to shy away, says Preventative Vet. If you notice that your dog is suddenly disinterested in cuddling, especially if she enjoyed a good snuggle session in the recent past, contact your veterinarian for a physical exam, which will help you locate the source of discomfort, if that's the case.
When dogs reach older ages, certain ailments may cause them to retreat from activities that may have, at one time, been an enjoyable part of their lives, like cuddling with their person or joining them in bed for the night. Conditions like arthritis can make physical touch too uncomfortable for some dogs to bear, and stiff joints or skin diseases that may irritate dogs may simply find some averse to certain surfaces, or resting on any space for a prolonged period of time.
If your dog won't cuddle you, it's important to remember that, like people, not all dogs enjoy being so close and affectionate to those around them. For some dogs, this can mean when they are uncomfortable, perhaps due to heat, pain, or just general discomfort. (If your dog used to like cuddling and suddenly doesn't want to cuddle, contact your vet, as it may be a sign that they are experiencing physical pain or feel ill.) Other dogs may simply prefer to keep their distance, but will likely show their adoration for you in other ways.