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13 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Is Not Affectionate + 3 Tips

Why Is My Dog Not Affectionate

Is your dog as cold as ice? They avoid you, don’t wag their tails, and don’t even beg you with their tiny paws for attention?

Or was your fur baby once so clingy, that you two were inseparable until…they’ve changed and don’t want to be near you anymore?

Now your head is full of thoughts like, “What did I do wrong?”, “Am I not lovable enough?”, “Do they hate me?”

And other worries that some dog parents will understand.

I know. This might be hard for you, especially if you just want to bond and have a great time with your dog. But, it might be difficult for them too.

So calm down and…

Read to find out:

  • What makes a dog reject people’s affection.
  • Why some pooches act so indifferent all of a sudden.
  • Whether you should be alarmed of this behavior or not.
  • 3 useful tips on how to deal with dogs who don’t like to be cuddled.
  • And much much more…

Why is my dog not affectionate?

Your dog isn’t affectionate because it’s in their nature or personality, they lack social interaction with people, they’ve been mistreated or felt unwanted in the past, you’ve taught them not to be, or they have anxiety since then. They might have also shown their love for you but you’re not aware of it.

Why is my dog not affectionate anymore?

Your dog isn’t affectionate to you anymore because you might be doing it too much, they feel anxious, they’re jealous of a new pet or a new member of the family, or they have depression. It can also be due to their old age, an illness, or the hot weather.

13 reasons why your dog is not affectionate

#1: Your dog isn’t a cuddler

“A hug?

Hmm, I like you but…no way.”

In some cases, it’s not you. It’s them, so don’t take it to heart.

It’s not that your dog doesn’t love you. They just prefer to keep their distance and do other things except for snuggling. Just like people. Some can be really touchy and social, while others aren’t.

So, do they enjoy playing games with you instead? But when you try to call them, they always ignore you?

If so, it’s because they aren’t lap dogs like Chihuahuas and as clingy as Great Danes. But it might be that they love ‘working’ or doing something worthwhile by themselves.

It might also be just their personality. They’re naturally independent and they like to have their own personal space.

Fun fact: A study done by Psychology Today reported that out of 250 dogs photographed while being hugged by their parents, 81.6% had displayed signs of discomfort and being nervous. 

#2: You’re doing it wrong

Your Dog Is Not Affectionate Because You're Doing It Wrong

Does your dog like being petted sometimes? But most often, they’re not liking it? That’s why it makes you so confused.

Well, it might be because you’re doing it in the wrong way or it’s too much.

They might be doing something and don’t want you to interrupt them. Like when they’re eating or busy watching birds outside. They might also be tired and sleepy after a stroll or playtime.

It’s also possible that you’re touching the wrong areas. And they’re saying “Come on. You should know me better by now.” Every dog is different. 

So they might prefer to be patted on the head rather than being rubbed in the chest.

Or, it might be that they’ve just had enough with your constant touching. So they decided to make it all stop. Which results in this cold behavior.

#3: You ‘told’ them to

Does your dog get excited and all hyped up when they see your friend or family?

But when it comes to you, there’s no wagging your tail and shaking of butt?

Oh no. You might’ve done something before. What was it? It might be because you’ve trained your dog not to give you so much affection.

For example, they might be jumping and licking you a lot from the start and you didn’t like it much. So you taught them not to do it anymore.

While your buddy and relatives tolerate the behavior. So it’s just a simple logic for your dog. That’s why they’ll only do it to people who like it.

#4: Your dog has trust issues

Has your dog been abandoned before? And they’re like that ever since day one?

If so, and they seem afraid and cower every time you’re about to touch them, they might have been abused in the past.

Your pooch might’ve been taught that they aren’t wanted and loved. They might have also been mistreated or hurt physically. And those bad experiences from other people scared them so much.

It’s heartbreaking. And it might be hard for them to open up and trust a person again. But, there’s no impossible for a concerned and determined parent. 🙂

#5: Lack of socialization

Now, this is different from the previous one. They might not have been abused in any way. But only grew up to be distant from people.

Being independent isn’t in their nature. But their former parents or environment might’ve shaped their personality before.

In their past home, they might have received no affection and attention at all. They might also get used to having no interaction with anyone else. And they’ve lived just fine. So they might think that’s what it’s supposed to be.

#6: Your dog has anxiety

Apart from being aloof, does your dog always look nervous? Or have you noticed that they’re so jumpy these days?

If yes, it might be because there are things that cause them stress. So think really hard about it. And the day when they start to act like that.

It can be a person or an animal outside. They might also hate loud sounds and get scared of vehicles passing by.

Have you changed something in their routine? Or in their area? Because those might also make them confused.

They can also pick up human emotions. Some people in the house might be having a rough week, or there’s always an argument in the house. And your dog absorbed all of it. Resulting in an even more tense behavior.

#7: Jealousy

It might also be a sign of resentment or insecurity.

Yes, it’s studied that dogs could really be jealous.

And that could be innate with them. Or, they might have developed it while co-existing with humans for so long.

So, your dog might be feeling insecure about a new pet, or a new baby in the household. And by being cold, they’re telling you what they feel inside.

#8: Your dog might be depressed

Depressed Dog Doesn't Want To Be Touched

This can also be one of the possible reasons for your dog’s sudden change in behavior.

In a PetWebMD article, John Ciribassi, DVM, said that when depressed:

“Dogs will become withdrawn. They become inactive. Their eating and sleeping habits often change. They don’t participate in the things they once enjoyed.”

And those things they used to get so excited about are the bonding and cuddle times you always did before.

It’s also said that it can happen to a dog who’s going through a huge change or problem in their life. They might be mourning a loss of a friend. Or their anxiety and jealousy become out of hand.

#9: They have less energy

“Everything slows down with age, except the time it takes cake and ice cream to reach your hips.” – John Wagner

It’s also the same with dogs and other animals. Your dog might not be getting any younger and that’s why they’re not as playful as before.

According to a study, you can describe it as becoming more independent, rather than being distant. 

When dogs get older, they would have less energy, but their affection would stay the same. They wouldn’t love you any less, so don’t you worry.

It’s just that there are changes happening in their body. So they might not be able to jump and be as enthusiastic as they were in the past.

#10: Illnesses due to old age

It’s also possible that your dog’s in pain, and it’s because of old age.

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments a senior dog would experience in life. And that condition can be really painful, especially in the joints.

So your fur baby might be always irritable and doesn’t want to be cuddled because their body hurts. And you might’ve often touched the areas affected by it. It can be their elbow, back, or hips.

Note: Dogs who have this may also lick their bodies, become weak, and have trouble moving.

#11: Your dog doesn’t feel well

They might also be sick or in pain. This is more likely when your dog became cold all of a sudden.

Sometimes, it’s caused by a toothache or other dental issues. They might not also like you rubbing their tummy or neck because of an injury or an underlying illness like dementia. Allergies can also make their skin itch so much.

So this might be the reason why they’ve been avoiding you in the past few days. And not because they don’t need you anymore. But, they’ll need immediate care, so quick!

#12: It’s too hot

“It’s getting warm. Please stay away from me.”

Does your dog prefer to lay on the floor than sit beside you while watching the tv?

Oh-oh. You might haven’t noticed that the weather is getting hot these days. And your dog isn’t a big fan of that.

So if they suddenly dislike snuggling with you in bed, or couch, that might be it. 

It’s just that they don’t want to be with you… only in that particular situation. And they prefer to sleep on the cold floor or in front of doors because it’s more comfortable for them.

#13: Your dog shows love in a different way

Lastly, there might have been no problems at all.

“So, what is it?” you might ask.

Well, your pooch could already be expressing their affection to you. But…in very subtle ways. So you’re not even aware of it until now. 

And then you try to refresh your memories and look for hints.

They might always sit on the other end of the couch as a sign that they like being with you. But you got offended and thought of the opposite. It’s only because they’re not comfortable getting too close, given that they might also have a distant personality.

Some dogs may also prefer sleeping near your feet, rather than being picked up to rest on your lap.

So, that might also be the case with your pooch. And you can breathe a slight of relief now.

How do I get my dog to be more affectionate? 3 easy tips

#1: Be sure with a vet

In cases like this, it would always be best to start off by consulting a professional. Because it’s a problem that might be caused by either an illness or a behavioral problem.

So to be sure, seek a vet’s help. And if all health issues are ruled out by a checkup, it means that you should focus on their behavior.

#2: Less stress, more fun

So you might’ve observed your dog and listed all the things that make them jumpy all the time. Now, all you need to do is to get rid of them.

If they’re jealous of a new pet or dog, you may need to maintain their distance. Because both of them might get stressed about the situation. 

Keep them in different rooms, but close enough that they can smell each other. Have them eat at the same time while having a door as a barrier. 

This will make them think that meeting their new friend is not as bad as they think. As it involves a positive thing – which is food.


If some are hard to avoid, you might need to train them not to be afraid of it. Because it’s not healthy if they just keep on avoiding it.

If they’re afraid of a certain sound, you can record it. Then make them listen to it at low volume. In that way, they won’t get too scared. 

If they stay calm, give them treats and praises. Once they get used to it a bit, slightly increase the volume. And repeat until they’re not bothered with the sound anymore.

#3: Don’t use force

Forcing them should be the last thing you’d want to do. Especially in this situation wherein, it’s more of a ‘want’ from you, and not a ‘need’ for your pooch.

If they’re not cuddly in nature or they’re aloof, just let them be. But if they’re excessively anxious and scared with no reason at all, that’s when you need to do something.

So for them to come at you voluntarily, you might need a lot of patience, love, treats, and time. But if they’re too aggressive, you might need the help of an expert to be safe.

  1. First, don’t go near them yet because you might scare them more. Just approach them by the side, as this will not startle them.
  2. Sit beside them. Keep a good distance and please, no staring.  Only observe them by looking at the side.
  3. Next, you may offer them a treat. If they aren’t interested, try it next time. But if they eat it, you can do the next step.
  4. Put your hand with treats over your lap. And try to get them closer to you. If they don’t come, don’t force them. Do it again later or tomorrow.
  5. Now if they’re eating and getting closer to you, they might be a bit relaxed. So try stroking them really gently. While talking to them in a calm and sweet voice.
  6. If they walk away, just let them be. And try it again if they seem alright.
  7. Just do these consistently. And you may see results.

If they feel safer with you now, you can try taking them out for a walk. Do it gradually and on a daily basis. This won’t be easy for you and your dog, but it’s for the best. So good luck! 🙂

Note: You can also try reading them a book. Speak gently and sit beside them. By doing this, they’re going to be familiar with your voice and scent.