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Why Won’t My Dog Let Me Pet Him Anymore? 10 Reasons + 3 Tips

Why Won't My Dog Let Me Pet Him

You woke up in a good mood. What a lovely day to start cuddling with your dog.

You start approaching your lovely pet, but they back away.

They don’t lean in for petting time, but instead, they withdraw.

You start questioning yourself:

“Did I do something terrible?  Should I make it up to them?

“Are they mad at me?”

Continue reading to find out:

  • 10 reasons why your dog won’t let him pet you.
  • 3 tips on how to get your dog to let you pet them.
  • How to know what your dog feels through their behavior.
  • And a lot more…

Why won’t my dog let me pet him?

Your dog won’t let you pet them because they’re not clingy or used to it. Your dog is tired, anxious, or mad. It can also be because it’s mating season. Serious reasons why your dog won’t let you pet them is depression or injury.

10 reasons why your dog won’t let you pet him

#1: Your dog isn’t clingy

Your old doggie enjoys touch and cuddles. You got a new pup, but they’re the exact opposite.

Most dog parents expect their dogs to love petting time. Believe it or not, some dogs aren’t clingy.

These types of dogs are content with playing with you or lying down. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

Your dog may express love in different ways. 

One dog may enjoy sitting in your lap. While another one could prefer sitting in the same room. 

Other ways your dog shows love are:

  • Licking.
  • Leaning.
  • Jumping.
  • Eye contact.
  • Tail wagging.
  • Bringing toys.
  • Sitting at your feet.

So don’t worry fur parent, your dog may show other signs of love.

Be observant in how your doggie expresses their adoration for you.

#2: Your dog is tired

Your Dog Won't Let You Pet Him Because He's Tired

After playtime and exercise, you want to pet your dog, but they walk away.

What could be the problem? There’s nothing to worry about.

Your pet is tired. They want to say, “I need alone time.”

Dogs can get exhausted after running or walking around. It’s a normal response.

Once your furry friend is well-rested, you can pet them when they come to you.

A restful nap can get their energy back.

It can be alarming if it happens daily, even without prior activities.

If your dog is always tired, it’s time to get a doctor’s visit.

There can be an underlying cause. It’s important to know the reason rather than to guess.

#3: Your dog feels threatened

Coming home after work, you want to get cuddly with your pet.

You run and laugh towards your dog. As you start approaching your furry friend, he barks at you instead.

It’s like they’re saying, “Get away from me!” It makes you sad. It isn’t their usual behavior.

Your loudness may have intimidated your dog. The way you approach them is a big factor when it comes to petting.

If the response is more on growling and snapping, it’s a sign that your dog feels threatened. 

It can also happen when you’re bringing new friends home. 

You are excited to let them meet your new pals, but they snap at you.

If they’re not leaning in for petting time, your dog feels threatened.

Strange faces may make your dog feel intimidated. 

#4: Your dog has anxiety

Same as humans, anxiety in dogs is a normal response to stressful situations.

Changes in our lives can also affect our furry friends.

There are several reasons why your dog becomes anxious such as:

  • Loud noises.
  • Poor social skills.
  • Dog parent leaving.
  • Changes in the environment.

Your dog cannot easily communicate with you if they are anxious. We have to observe signs such as when they refuse petting.

Other subtle signs of dog anxiety include:

  • Hiding.
  • Escaping.
  • Lip licking.
  • Looking away.
  • Lifting the paw.
  • Showing white of the eyes.

If your dog shows signs of anxiety, discovering the cause first is the key to helping them cope.

#5: Your dog is aging

You noticed that your longtime dog has started to have unusual habits. It seems like they don’t recognize you sometimes.

Your furry friend paces a lot. They refuse once you try to pet them.

Your mature dog may have dementia. It comes with old age. 

According to a study, an estimate of 40 percent of dogs has canine cognitive dysfunction or dementia. 

It may be challenging to determine for our furry friends. It’s easy to notice in humans when we forget things, names, and places.

Aside from not letting you pet them, dogs with dementia may exhibit these behaviors:

  • Irritable.
  • Staring.
  • Wandering.
  • Urinating anywhere.
  • Forgets how to go back home.
  • Difficulty finding food and water.

Dementia, both in humans and animals, has no cure.

These days scientists are studying drugs that can help lessen the symptoms.

We can hope that it will benefit our fur babies in the long run.

#6: Your dog isn’t used to it

Adopting a dog is such a kind thing to do. You may get over-excited in showing them the love and care they deserve. 

But same as humans, you can’t change habits in an instant.

Adopted dogs may have come from previous carers that didn’t pet them a lot.

Your dog may warm up eventually, but you have to take it slow.

Forcing them to cuddle with you can be stressful for your furry friend.

If your dog came from the shelter, chances are they may have had bad experiences in the past.

Don’t lose hope, though. They will learn to respond to your loving-kindness soon enough.

On average, it takes 6 to 8 weeks for adopted dogs to adjust to their new homes.

Just be patient, and you both will enjoy the journey.

#7: Your dog is fearful

Buddy likes petting time with the fur parent. It makes Buddy feel loved.

One day, Buddy suddenly doesn’t allow the fur parent to pet them.

What do you think happened to Buddy?

A day ago, the hooman hit Buddy with a shoe for barking loudly while there were visitors.

Buddy has lost his trust. The fur parent doesn’t usually act like that.

It’s a natural reaction for a dog to be fearful when an incident like this happens.

Dogs get fearful when they have an unpleasant experience with a person.

A fearful dog will exhibit signs such as:

  • Hiding.
  • Pacing.
  • Panting.
  • Restless.
  • Trembling.
  • Salivation.
  • Distracted.
  • Lack of appetite. 

Disciplining a dog is important but it should be more on encouraging positive behavior.

#8: Your dog is in pain

Is your dog suddenly hyperactive when you attempt to touch them? Is your dog not excited for playtime? 

If you notice him crying and limping, these are telltale signs that your dog is in pain.

An injured dog avoids touch. Your dog may get minor injuries from playing too much as a muscle sprain.

If they recently got surgery, they may still feel pain in the area. A wince would give it away.

Aside from the ones mentioned, check on your pooch if they show these behaviors:

  • Leaping.
  • Whining.
  • Growling.
  • Pulling away.

Bring your doggo to the vet if these signs are present. 

#9: Your dog is sad

Your doggo, who is usually social and energetic, wants to lie down all the time now.

Going for a walk doesn’t excite them anymore. Having doggy friends over is a no for them as well.

Has your dog become a party pooper? 

Dogs are naturally social animals regardless of their breed. 

It’s easy to notice that your dog is sad or depressed if he’s usually outgoing.

If your dog is withdrawn and energetic, they may have the blues. 

Depression in dogs is real. As the fur parent, try to think about recent events that may have caused his behavior.

Did you transfer to a new home?

Are you working longer hours at the office?

Is there a new baby in the family or did someone die?

These can be possible reasons why your furry friend is sad. Help them to cope with the recent changes.

#10: Your dog wants to mate

There is a new female dog in the neighborhood. 

Your pooch suddenly acts weird and avoids you when you try to pet them.

Your dog acts too excited when the new furry female is around.

What is it now? Get a hint, hooman.

Your dog is in heat and wants to mate.

Their focus now is to get the girl. You can’t bother your excited dog.

It may feel like a betrayal since you are the one who is taking care of them.

But do you remember yourself as a lovestruck teenager?

You barely have the time to notice anything else.

Understand that this is typical behavior for your pooch.

Keep in mind, though, that this won’t only happen once in a lifetime.

There’s a lot of fish in the sea, or dogs, I mean.

How can I get my dog to let me pet him? 3 tips

#1:  Pet your dog the right way

Do you think you can pet a dog in any way you want? Think again.

There is a proper way to approach your dog. Petting can be their favorite time if you know the right strategies. 

Check these petting techniques that can help you become a pro:

  • Eye contact should be minimal.
  • For shy dogs, try to look away first.
  • Allow your dog to approach you first.
  • Avoid hovering or running towards your dog.
  • Greet them properly by squatting down to his level.

We can’t stress this enough but if your canine is a first-timer in the petting game, allow them to come to you first.

A dog may observe you by sniffing and going around you. Once you try to pet them and they back away, please don’t force it.

Your dog will be ready when you notice that he starts to relax. When they lean in and wag their tail, it’s the start of your petting journey.

Learn more about the benefits of petting in this video.

#2:  Pet your dog in the right spots

Can I pet my dog anywhere in his body? The short answer is no.

The long answer is that there are spots in your dog’s body where they’re most comfortable for petting.

Let us start with the body areas that they’re most comfortable with:

  • Shoulders. 
  • Chest area.
  • Under the chin.
  • The base of tail.
  • The base of neck.

Avoid touching your dog from above the head. Your movement should be from the side to make them feel at ease. 

There is also a proper hand movement in petting your fur baby. It should be gentle like you are massaging them. 

Scratching them lightly is another way. Petting can be relaxing for both of you if you know where to hit the right spots.

Enjoy this special time with your furry friend.

#3:  Pet your dog patiently

If your dog avoids petting because he’s sad or adjusting to a new environment.

Be patient with your dog. It’s not easy for them to adapt right away.

Your kindness and patience will be highly appreciated. 

There are some tips to help your dog overcome the blues or cope with the new changes.

Provide a comfy rest area for your fur baby. A good doggy bed or furniture will help them rest well. 

If they have a designated space in your home, they can quickly adapt to the new changes.

Do you have new members in the family? Introduce them one by one. 

Make the meet and greet a relaxing time for your doggy. Avoid yelling and shouting. A soft hello with a friendly smile will do.

Bring your dog outdoors. The sight of other dogs may help ease the blues. 

Give praises and treats if they obey. Rewarding good behavior makes them learn to keep doing it. 

Music can also help your dog get relief from separation anxiety.

If your dog is sad, stop the urge to cuddle and baby them. 

Exercise and a regular schedule would do them better. Start simple but fun games like find the treat or a little tug of war. 

Petting doesn’t only benefit your dog. It helps you as well.  

Research states that it helps reduce stress and anxiety for both the human and the canine.