HomeDogsWhy Won't My Dog Let Me Hold It? Understanding Canine Behavior

Why Won’t My Dog Let Me Hold It? Understanding Canine Behavior

Dog owners cherish the moments they spend cuddling and holding their furry friends. These therapeutic bonding sessions provide comfort and affection for humans and dogs. However, not all dogs relish being held. It can be perplexing when your dog squirms, resists or even shows signs of distress when you attempt to cradle them. The reasons can be manifold; understanding them is key to building a trusting relationship with your pup.

Why Won’t My Dog Let Me Hold It?

Physical Discomfort

  1. Health Issues: Like humans, dogs can suffer various health issues, ranging from arthritis to unnoticeable injuries. Holding or carrying your dog might exacerbate their pain or discomfort. Regular check-ups at the vet can help detect potential issues early.
  2. Physical Sensitivity: Some dogs are more sensitive to touch than others. Breeds with thin coats or minimal body fat might be more susceptible to feeling discomfort or cold when held.

Past Traumas

Dogs that have been rescued or adopted might have undergone traumas or negative experiences. Previous owners might have held them incorrectly or even caused them harm, resulting in a negative association with being held.

Lack of Early Socialization

Puppies undergo critical development stages during their first few weeks and months. If they aren’t introduced to various experiences, including being held, during this period, they might grow wary or fearful of such interactions as adults.

Natural Temperament

Every dog has a unique personality. While some breeds and individual dogs are more laid-back and amenable to being held, others are more independent and prefer keeping their feet on the ground. Recognizing and respecting your dog’s personal space is crucial.

Fear or Anxiety

Unexpected events can be intimidating for dogs. Loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or sudden movements can trigger anxiety. When anxious or scared, your dog might prefer the stability and security of standing or lying on the ground rather than being held.

Improper Holding Technique

Holding a dog is not the same as having a baby. Using the wrong technique can make your dog uncomfortable or even fearful. Make sure you support their hind legs and avoid squeezing them too tightly.

Building Trust and Training

If you wish for your dog to be more accepting of being held, here are a few steps:

  1. Gradual Desensitization: Start by touching and petting your dog in areas they’re comfortable with. Over time, gradually introduce them to being held, first for short durations and then extending the time as they get used to it.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats, praise, or toys whenever they allow you to hold them. This will create a positive association with the experience.
  3. Training Sessions: Consider enrolling your dog in obedience or behavioral training classes. These sessions can teach you how to properly handle and interact with your dog.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If your dog shows aggressive behavior or extreme fear, it might be worth seeking the help of a professional dog behaviorist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a dog not let me pick him up?

When you pick a dog up, you want to take him to a doctor, bathe, or stop his playing. A dog dislikes all three situations and does not let you pick him up.


Understanding why your dog resists being held requires patience, empathy, and sometimes professional guidance. Respecting your pet’s boundaries and working at their pace will strengthen your bond and make your furry friend feel safe and loved. While cuddling is a delightful experience for many, the most crucial aspect of your relationship with your dog is mutual trust and understanding.

Are you experiencing challenges with your pet? Bookmark our page for more insights on dog behavior and tips on building a harmonious relationship with your canine companion.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments