How Do I Make My Dog More Cuddly?

Dear Doggy,

I love my dog but I wish she wanted to cuddle more. How do I make my dog love to cuddle?


Dear Cuddlebug,

You can train your dog to be more cuddly by spending quality time with her and making it a rewarding experience. If she sometimes sits on your lap or snuggles against you on the couch, encourage this behavior by giving her favorite treats, extra praises, and pets. Generally, conditioning your pup to be more affectionate requires patience and time. 

When you picture a lovable pooch, it is easy to imagine her being cuddly with you all the time. Truthfully, that is not always the case, even for a pooch that you showed much affection to.

Admittedly, certain breeds and personality types of dogs enjoy snuggles more than others. While others prefer to express loyalty and devotion in less clingy ways.

No matter, you can certainly work with your pup to increase her fondness for cuddling.

  1. Spend more quality time. Your relationship with your dog grows as you spend time together doing the activities that she enjoys. All canines are different and they have favorite games and unique ways to have fun. Later on, she would associate you with being happy and seek your company more. 
  2. Entice with treats. Some pups are just not expressive. But you can make it more appealing to your pooch to sit on your lap or cuddle beside you by using treats. You can start luring her with snacks near to you, then beside you, and finally onto your lap.
  3. Reward cuddling. Mutts are conditioned that if their owners reward them with loving strokes, lots of “good girl”, and snacks, they must have done something right. They will eventually understand that cuddling is considered good behavior.
  4. Wean up the treats once cuddles have been established. Once Fido formed the habit of snuggling with you and being more affectionate, you can slowly wean her off the treats.

Do Dogs Get More Cuddly With Age?

You noticed that your senior dog has become more affectionate to you. Do dogs get more cuddly as they grow older?

Overall, dogs become more affectionate with age because the bond and trust they formed with their owners have become stronger over time. They may also have less energy to expend and are now more willing to cuddle and relax with you. Canines also become more dependent on humans due to illnesses or separation anxiety.

When your Fido was just a puppy, it may be hard to get her to sit with you for more than a minute. But as she gets older, you notice her snuggling beside you more on the couch or quietly resting near your feet.

Does your pooch’s age affect her affection towards you?

  • Stronger bond.  A close relationship is not made overnight but formed over the years. A dog that has experienced your love and care is more comfortable and trusting towards you that she is more willing to express her love.
  • Lack of energy. An elderly mutt does not possess the energy and keen curiosity she used to have as a puppy. With limited strength, she likes it better now to just relax and cuddle with you on that comfy couch.
  • Physical sickness. Older dogs are more prone to illnesses but cannot express them in words. If your pooch has an underlying medical condition, she might try to give you a signal by nuzzling up to you. Canines with disabilities like blindness, deafness, and nasal disorder will be more reliant on their owners. 
  • Separation anxiety. An aging dog can also develop separation anxiety where they get overly depressed in the absence of their owners. If you notice your elderly pup being unduly attached to you, consult your vet for advice. 

Why Is My Dog Suddenly More Affectionate?

You know your pup to be cuddly, but when she starts to get extra lovey-dovey, you suspect that something is wrong.

It is natural for dogs to be suddenly more affectionate to owners when they are getting older or if they detect that their humans are sick or expecting a baby. Other reasons for their behavior change are if they have an underlying medical condition or the pooch is pregnant. Consult your vet if their sudden affection comes with other symptoms.

When your dog suddenly went from being just chummy to super affectionate, you immediately question whether there is something off about her.

The good news is there are harmless reasons why pooches instantaneously become more snuggly. But there are also things you need to watch out for if the change of behavior is paired with other symptoms. 

  • Normal Reasons
  1. Your dog is aging. As a pooch gets older, she gets more comfortable around you and enjoys your company more. She has also grown out of running around and exploring because of decreased energy so she’d rather cuddle with you. 
  2. Your dog senses you’re sick or pregnant. Canines have a highly sensitive sense of smell that can detect changes in hormones and are highly perceptive to physical changes. They feel your vulnerability at these times so they want to protect you. 
  • Causes for Concern
  1. Your dog is ill or pregnant. Besides being more clingy, does your pup’s eating habits change? Does she vomit, cry, or lick herself excessively? Consult a vet because she may be signaling you that she needs medical attention by her constant snuggling.
  2. Your dog perceives danger. It could be a new person or another dog, a loud thunderstorm, or fireworks, your pup may seek refuge beside you or on your lap where she feels more secure.

Why Are Some Dogs Not Affectionate?

You might have high expectations when you first got a dog, cuddle-wise. But your pup seems not that affectionate to you. Are you doing something wrong?

Some dogs may not be showing much affection to their owners because of past abuse or experience of neglect with previous owners, pain or injury in certain body parts, or because of their breed. Despite this, these seemingly unaffectionate mutts show their love in other ways. You can definitely train your pup to be more cuddly to you.

Don’t quickly blame yourself if your dog does not show that much tenderness to you as would other pups. 

There are various factors why your pooch does not seem that showy of their love:

  1. History of past abuse. Some rescue dogs have grim experiences with their previous owners that made them distrust and fear humans. If they were physically abused or neglected, it will be a challenge for them to start showing affection.
  2. Suffering from pain or injury. Cuddling sometimes means tight hugging, especially for unsuspecting children. If the pooch has a bone injury or wound, she would definitely flee from any type of snuggling.
  3. Reserved and aloof breeds. Sorry to shatter your reality but not all pups are warm-loving and cuddly. Certain breeds are a little selective to whom they show fondness. Afghan Hounds, Alaskan Malamutes, Basenjis, Chow-chows, Irish Wolfhounds, and Shar-pei are some of the least affectionate breeds there are.

Despite their aloofness, some dogs express their endearment in subtle ways like following your orders, making eye contact, or walking beside you. 

No reason to despair, though. Even the most reserved canine can be trained to be more lovable and cuddly. By investing more time and effort in forming positive and rewarding experiences together, you will have a cuddly pooch in no time.

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