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Why Does My Dog Move Away When I Cuddle Him [& What To Do]

There’s nothing more disheartening.

You approach your dog for a little cuddle. And he walks away. And leaves.

It’s actually just not nice at all.

Believe me; I’ve been there.

Bailey, my young Cockapoo, is a bundle of joy and energy who loves walks in the park and playing fetch.

However, there is one area where Bailey is a bit more complicated: cuddle time. Sometimes, when I go to give her a big, warm cuddle, she scoots away. 

So why do some dogs do this? Is there anything we can do to stop them from wandering off? Or get our dogs to be more receptive to cuddling altogether?

Well, that’s what we will be looking at here today.

But let’s start with the causes. Besides, if we can identify why our dogs do this, surely we can increase our chances of a cuddle next time, right?

Why Does My Dog Move Away When I Cuddle Him?

They Are Not Naturally Cuddly

First and foremost, it may just be how your dog s.

Not all dogs are naturally cuddly.

Each breed has its characteristics and behaviors; some are more aloof than others.

Even within breeds, dogs have unique personalities.

Bailey is a cockapoo, a breed known for being friendly and sociable, but that doesn’t mean she always wants a cuddle.

They Want To Be Alone

Just like us humans, dogs value their alone time.

Bailey sometimes will head to his bed or a secluded corner for a bit of quiet time.

Dogs, like many animals, need time to decompress and recharge, so they might move away when you try to cuddle them.

They Feel Uncomfortable

Dogs also have comfort zones and personal space.

If I get too close to Bailey while she’s busy with a bone or a toy, she’ll look up at me with those puppy-dog eyes as if to say, “A little space, please!”

Dogs may feel uncomfortable or threatened if their space is invaded abruptly or without warning.

They Might Be Too Hot

Dogs get hot more quickly than humans, thanks to their coats and inability to effectively sweat.

If I try to cuddle Bailey after a long run in the summer, she’s likely to wriggle away to find a cooler spot.

So if your dog moves away during cuddles, and it is particularly warm at the time, they simply might be trying to keep cool!

They Might Be in Pain

Lastly, and this is important, if your dog consistently moves away when you try to cuddle them, they could be experiencing discomfort or pain.

If you suspect this, check your dog for any signs of distress and consult your vet.

Bailey had an ear infection once, and during that time, she shied away from cuddles until she was better.

Do Dogs Like Being Cuddled?

Whether dogs like being cuddled varies from dog to dog, some dogs love the physical affection and close contact, while others are more independent and may find cuddling uncomfortable. Equally, some dogs will be more receptive to cuddles at certain times than others.

Just like humans, dogs have a broad range of personalities and preferences.

Some breeds are known for being more affectionate and cuddly, like Golden Retrievers or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

These dogs often enjoy the close contact and affection that comes with cuddling.

On the other hand, more independent breeds like the Siberian Husky or the Basenji might not be as open to cuddling.

These dogs may appreciate their space and prefer to interact in different ways, like playing games or going for walks.

Additionally, a dog’s upbringing and early life experiences can influence their comfort with cuddling.

Dogs that were well-socialized as puppies may be more comfortable with physical affection than dogs that had less positive early experiences.

It’s important to remember that, regardless of breed or background, each dog is an individual with its own unique personality. Not every Golden Retriever will be a cuddle bug, and not every Husky will be aloof.

It’s crucial to pay attention to your dog’s signals and respect their personal boundaries.

Can You Make a Dog More Cuddly?

While you can’t completely change your dog’s inherent behavior or temperament, there are ways you can encourage more cuddly behavior.

First and foremost, it’s all about building trust and making cuddling a positive experience for your dog (as we shall see in the next section).

For Bailey, I’ve found that gentle petting during calm moments, paired with positive reinforcement like treats or soft-spoken words, can help him associate cuddling with positive feelings.

How Do I Get My Dog to Be More Cuddly?

Patience, trust-building, and positive reinforcement are key to helping a dog feel more open to cuddling.

While you can’t entirely reshape your dog’s personality or behavior, there are definitely strategies that can help foster a more cuddly relationship.

It’s all about cultivating trust, comfort, and positive associations. Here are a few methods I’ve found effective.

Let’s explore some strategies that can enhance your dog’s cuddle time based on my experiences with Max.

Respect Their Space

Try not to force a cuddle session, as this may create negative associations for your dog.

Instead, let the dog come to you when they’re comfortable.

When they do show interest in cuddling, reinforce this behavior with gentle pets and soft words to show them that cuddling is a positive experience.

Associate Cuddling with Calmness

Dogs are more likely to enjoy cuddles when they’re calm and relaxed.

Avoid trying to cuddle your dog when they’re overly excited or anxious, as this can make them uncomfortable.

Instead, try to cuddle them after a walk or meal when they’re more likely to be calm. This can help them associate cuddling with relaxation and comfort.

Slow and Gradual Conditioning

Just like with any new behavior, conditioning a dog to be more cuddly should be gradual.

Start with short, gentle petting sessions and gradually increase the duration over time as your dog becomes more comfortable.

Always pay attention to your dog’s reactions and stop if they seem uncomfortable.

Over time, your dog may start to enjoy these petting sessions and become more open to cuddling.


I can assure you that whether or not a dog enjoys cuddling hinges largely on their inherent temperament. 

However, external circumstances like their comfort level, environment, and the dog’s trust in you also play significant roles. 

It’s important not to feel disheartened if your dog isn’t as cuddly as you’d like. 

Dogs, like humans, have their own unique wants and needs that should always be respected.

Remember, it might take time for your dog to become more open to cuddling; in some cases, they might just be more independent by nature. 

With patience, understanding, and gentle encouragement, you might see a change over time.

However, it’s essential to never force cuddling or any other form of affection.

After all, our bond with our dogs is not measured by the amount of cuddling that we share….


Will my dog get more cuddly as he gets older?

It’s possible that your dog may become more cuddly as he ages due to reduced energy levels and increased comfort with you. However, this isn’t a guarantee as every dog’s personality and preferences can vary significantly.

At what age do dogs get cuddly?

There’s no specific age when all dogs become cuddly as it largely depends on their individual personality and breed traits. Some puppies may be cuddly, while others may become more affectionate with age and bonding.

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