You’re enjoying the cuddles.
But you can’t help and wonder:
“What is my dog trying to tell me?”
Continue reading to find out.
- What is your dog trying to tell you?
- 13 reasons why your dog is so cuddly all of sudden.
- How to respond to this behavior based on different events.
- And much more…
Table of contents
Why is my dog so cuddly all of a sudden?
Your dog is so cuddly all of a sudden because they want to show affection. It can also be an indication of injury or dementia. A cuddle is a response when your dog misses you. Cuddling can also be a result of their fear of thunder and strangers. Or, they snuggle because either of you is pregnant.
13 reasons why your dog suddenly wants to cuddle with you
Your pawed friend can’t put into words their love for you. Instead, they’ll show it through their faces and behaviors.
They have lots of ways to show affection!
Seeking physical contact is an obvious one.
Greenstein says that touching mimics affection between puppies and biological dog moms. It gives a sense of happiness and security.
Cuddling could be your dog’s love language. There’s a special bond between you two and they snuggle to enjoy that connection.
The calming effect that comes with it is due to a chemical hormone.
Our body releases oxytocin when we engage in physical contact with loved ones. And this includes our furry friends as well!
Fun fact: Oxytocin is also known as the “feeling-good hormone”, the “love hormone”, or the “cuddle hormone”.
It’s the same way for canines. Their body can also release this hormone. When they cuddle with you, it’s a win-win.
It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
So when your dog shows its affectionate side, seize the moment!
Note: Dogs prefer cuddling more than hugging. They like snuggling up against you. Big bear hugs might make them feel trapped.
#2: It’s in their nature
Genetics plays a role in the development of dogs.
Some won’t like to cuddle on your lap, while others are cuddle machines. Just like my dog, Lissa. My boyfriend and I joked that we’ve created a cuddle monster. 🙂
But there are dogs that have been bred to be less affectionate or independent. While others are bred to be more affectionate and sociable.
Just like humans, dogs also have unique personalities. And these could be seen as early as 7 weeks during puppyhood.
When puppies show affection and are bouncy, it’s more likely that they’ll carry these traits into adulthood.
It becomes consistent especially when you’re encouraging their affectionate behavior.
This could be the reason why your pooch grew up into a snuggle monster!
According to Reader’s Digest, these are the dogs that make a great snuggle partner.
- Pit Bulls.
- Bichon Frise.
- Golden Retriever.
- Jack Russell Terrier.
#3: You’re pregnant
Are you pregnant? Has your pooch begun to escort you to places?
If yes, then this answers your question.
Dr. Barrack points out that dogs can pick up on changes during your pregnancy. Like your baby bump and your distinct odor due to hormonal changes. Even your feelings and mood.
Your vulnerability makes them more protective and clingy. They’ll escort you to places around the house to make sure you’re ok.
From time to time, they’ll also sniff your belly and snuggle against it.
Note: They may become more protective as your baby bump grows.
But did you know?
Not all dogs become affectionate
Some may become aggressive and fearful, says AKC.
Well, when a mum’s pregnant, the home base will change. A freshly painted nursery or new crib can affect a dog’s behavior.
And since dogs like predictability, your dog might be a bit tense.
How to prepare your pooch for the new baby
It’s best to prepare your pooch before the new member arrives.
Introduce them to new babies or play audio of baby sounds.
Before the reveal, send home a cloth that carries your baby’s scent. Give your pooch some time to pick up on it. So that when you come home, your doggo will recognize the family’s new member.
Remember: Pregnant women tend to put their hands over their belly. According to Nikole Gipps, an animal behaviorist, this tells your dog to stay away.
Don’t give off that vibe. Continue to snuggle your pooch to let them know they’re loved.
“Hooman, notice me. I’m bored.”
If your pooch can’t stop cuddling, it might be because nothing’s keeping them busy.
They become clingier when you leave them for a long period of time.
They might be craving physical or mental stimulation. And think that only you can provide them with it. So they’ll get your attention by snuggling with you.
Come to think of it.
Did they not get petting or a play session for the day? Did they spend their time napping and sitting around the house?
Dr. Coren says that exposure to interesting places is a good stimulus for dogs. As well as subjecting them to exciting experiences.
If they get none of these when they need it, they’ll get bored.
Note: Not all dogs would vie for your attention by cuddling. Some would bark at you. Their boredom can also lead to anxiety and frustration.
When you’re not around, they might show destructive behaviors.
It’s an instinctive urge for your pooch to chew when they’re bored. It’s how some cope with stress and anxiety.
They may chew things when you’re not there to catch them.
Your pooch might pull the stuffing out of the cushions and couch. And get nibbling on your shoes you forgot to put away.
A bored dog would look for something fun to do. And when I said “fun”, it could be not for you.
Leave them in the garden and they’d start digging holes. Not out of spite, of course. They don’t desire to destroy your landscaping.
Dogs sometimes like to run away when they’re bored and lonely.
There’s no one in the house they can play with. Or toys they can chew. So there’s plenty of energy to use up to get out of your fence.
Note: Confine them in a room while you’re not around. Leave them toys to avoid boredom that can lead to destructive behaviors.
#5: Your dog misses you
As furry parents, it’s always hard to leave our dogs. As much as we want to stay, we need to run errands.
We miss them while we’re gone. But do they miss us back?
It’s clear whenever you come home each day – when they greet you in a burst of energy and their faces scream happiness.
Your pooch may lean against you after you get home. It’s like their way of saying, “I’m happy you’re home.”
But it doesn’t stop there because your dog may cuddle with you to get attention. For being gone for hours or days, they might want you to make it up to them.
Fun fact: They’ll get more excited to greet you after leaving them for 2 hours. Dogs will keep missing you more and more the longer they’re left alone.
This episode of BrainCraft shows the neuroscientific evidence that dogs miss us.
The creator describes a study of a dog’s brain activity using an MRI machine. The scientist with the team wanted to test whether dogs miss their humans.
They exposed the dog in the MRI machine to different scents. Their own scent, that of a familiar and an unfamiliar dog, a scent of a stranger, and that of its owner.
It turned out that the caudate nucleus of its brain lit up. That’s when the dog smells the scent of their human.
They said that it’s the region associated with memory and emotion.
So your dog may find something that carries your scent while you’re gone. That explains why you come home to find your pooch lying on your clothes. It reminds them of you.
#6: Separation anxiety
Does your pooch like to cuddle all the time and can’t leave your side?
It looks adorable when they become clingy. But, they become irresistible when they follow you around or want to snuggle.
But it can be a sign that something’s going on with your pooch.
Dr. Barrack says that puppies can imprint on their owners and look at them as they would their mother.
They become fixated on you. Your pooch would snuggle for security. Just like they’d act in the litter.
Dr. Barrack also mentions that the memories of you together have an impact on your dog. It can contribute to the fear of abandonment.
That’s why they’ll seek physical contact from time to time. And also follow you to places.
“How else would I know if my dog has separation anxiety? Can it be that they’re just clingy?”
Have you heard about velcro dogs?
I’ll tell you more.
A velcro dog
These dogs prefer to be by your side all the time.
They develop this syndrome because of our behaviors. Such as giving praises every time we see them. As well as constantly petting them.
They’ll learn that staying close with us leads to the good stuff. We’re the source of their entertainment.
Some dog breeds have also been bred to be dependent on their humans. These dogs rely on their directions for guidance. Even on their body language.
Some of these extra clingy breeds are:
- Great Dane.
- Welsh Corgi.
- Basset Hound.
- French Bulldog.
- Cocker Spaniel.
- Irish Wolfhound.
- Jack Russell Terrier.
Note: According to a study, velcro or clingy dogs are more susceptible to develop separation anxiety. But that doesn’t mean they will.
A dog with separation anxiety
A dog with separation anxiety will panic when you’re not around. They don’t only prefer to be near their humans. They find it a necessity.
When you leave them, they’ll begin barking and show distress behaviors. Sometimes they’d even stop you from leaving. They may nibble on your clothes or cry.
When you’re around, they’ll always seek physical contact and attention.
These are the signs that your pooch is more than just being clingy:
- Barking and howling.
- Urinating and defecating.
- Chewing, digging, and destruction.
#7: Afraid of strangers
Does your dog act afraid and clingy when you have visitors?
Well, fear of strangers is common in canines. Especially when these unfamiliar people are wearing or doing something unusual.
Renee Moen said that dogs fear people with sunglasses or hats.
I remember there was this girl in a forum talking about her Border Terrier fearing glasses.
She discovered this fear when her blind brother went to visit with sunglasses on.
Her dog went ballistic and barked his head off. But when he took his glasses off, the dog calmed down.
So her boyfriend wore glasses too to see if the dog would do the same thing. Of course, it went nuts.
It’s common for them to show aggression by barking and biting. They might see strangers as a threat.
Then again, dogs respond differently to fear.
Shy and timid dogs might snuggle with you to hide. The same thing could happen with dogs that didn’t socialize much when they were puppies.
Dr. Wooten said that they’ll likely be more clingy when afraid because they know that you’ll elicit comforting behavior.
A study concludes that fear of strangers among dogs has a high genetic component. At 60-70%.
#8: Your dog’s pregnant
Female dogs get clingy and cuddly when they’re pregnant.
During this time, they need more affection. They need your comfort and want to spend time at your side.
It’s a great time to care for your dog.
But they experience changes in hormones too. So expect that there will be mood swings.
Your pregnant pooch will also be irritable. They may isolate themselves when they don’t want to be bothered.
If you’re not sure whether your female dog is pregnant, you can look for these early signs:
- Quieter than usual.
- Decrease in energy levels.
- Little vomit in the early stages.
- Loss of appetite in the first week.
- Nipples will appear more swollen.
- Weight gain from around day 35 of pregnancy.
- Mucus discharge occurs one month after mating.
Note: It can be hard to detect early pregnancies in dogs. Especially when it’s your first time having one. It’s best to take your pooch to the vet.
#9: Thunderstorm phobia
Thunder phobia is a thing and also common in dogs.
They’ll show anxious behavior even before it begins.
Dr. Woodley emphasized that fear of thunder can change a dog’s behavior. Some would snuggle with you, while others would hide in a closet.
Another study says that remaining near owners is a seen behavior in dogs with fear of thunder.
So it’s not a surprise when your dog jumps on you and snuggles for reassurance. They perceive the intensity of the noise as something threatening.
So what would be your solution?
It’s best to show them you’re calm to make your dog feel that there’s no danger.
Remember, they can sense your emotions. Your pooch may adapt your emotions and feel them for you.
Fact: Thunder charges the air with electricity. So it’s easier for static to build up in dogs with long coats.
Read to learn more: 7 Interesting Reasons Why Your Dog Barks At Thunder + Tips
#10: Your dog’s in heat
Now, this is not about your pooch suffering from hot weather.
It’s about your female doggo making spots on the floor and acting strangely.
“Petya, what do you mean?”
When female dogs are in heat, that indicates that they’re ready to mate.
During this period, their eggs mature. It makes them fertile and able to produce puppies. There’d also be changes in behavior due to hormonal changes.
And one common sign is that they become more affectionate and cuddly. Not only with male dogs but also with you.
Dr. Stillman mentioned that male dogs can sense the heat cycle of female dogs and track it. They might climb fences and enter your house.
Note: Most female dogs experience heats twice a year. They’ll stop having them when they’re 9-10 years old.
Signs your dog’s in heat:
- Swollen vulva.
- Change in tail position.
- Urinating more frequently.
- Blood discharge from the vulva.
- Excessive licking of the genital area.
Oh, maybe you have a senior dog.
As dogs grow old, they’ll develop a lot of health issues. Such as hearing problems, vision loss, or dementia.
It’s no longer easy to get around when they develop problems in memory and sight. They may become cuddly and clingy because they need your guide and attention.
According to Fetch by WebMD, symptoms of dementia will show around the age of 9.
One symptom that’s noticeable is disorientation. They would wander around like they’re lost. And stare at the ceiling or out into space.
You’ll notice changes in the way they interact. Either they become less interested in people or they may start becoming clingier.
They can also develop separation anxiety. If they do, they’ll stick to you.
Has your pooch suffered a bout of injury recently?
Injured dogs feel vulnerable. Getting over an operation like being spayed could lead your dog to become clingy.
They may seek protection by staying close to you. It’s because they need an extra bit of attention and comfort.
Your dog would be less energetic and won’t engage in fun activities. Instead, they’d act restless and stop socializing with other dogs.
#13: You’re encouraging the behavior
Cuddles make us feel good and loved. Especially when we do it with our loved ones. Including our furry friends.
You might be giving your dog treats and extra attention when they do the behavior.
As a result, they’ve learned that they’re always rewarded when cuddling with you.
The more you encourage the behavior, the more they’ll do it to get more rewards and praise.