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For pet parents, the Christmas season is a great time to show their furry friends some extra love and appreciation.
Cuddling: no. Talking: yes, please!
We think our dogs are so cute that we want to hug them. But dogs do not understand this gesture very well – they feel trapped by the arms around their body. It is not safe and the dog can respond aggressively when you don’t expect it. It is also not a good idea to put the front legs of a dog on your shoulders and hug your dog that way – legs on your shoulders means to a dog: I am in charge of you. A dog doesn’t want that at all and it will confuse them. So stay away from hugs and stick to gentle patting.
What you can do, though, is talk to your dog. It’s a very effective and important way to give affection. You can put a frightened dog at ease or calm an overexcited dog down by talking to them. Be aware of your own state of mind: if you are tense or scared yourself, the dog will sense it in your voice. Make sure you are relaxed and then enjoy talking to your dog!
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Do dogs cuddle more when they get older or when they are sick?
Oftentimes, as a dog becomes an adult, you might actually see them cuddle less. They are learning to be independent – which is an excellent skill to prevent separation anxiety!
However, there are dogs that do grow to love cuddling more with age. This is usually due to their owners helping to make them comfortable with snuggling, rather than pushing them to cuddle when they don’t want to.
The answer is very similar when we talk about sick dogs – it depends.
If your dog naturally likes to cuddle, they might seek more attention and cuddle more when they don’t feel well. This is especially true if they are seeking reassurance.
However, sometimes dogs just want to be left alone when they are sick, much like some people. Rather than cuddle, you might find your dog being more lethargic and spending more time on their own.
Rather, you might find your puppy cuddling more when YOU are the one who is sick.
Dogs often have a good sense of how we feel, and they sometimes offer extra snuggles and attention when we are feeling under the weather.
If your dog doesn’t cuddle when you’re sick, that’s OK too though. Not all dogs show their affection for their owner the same way.
If you think your puppy may be scared of you or other people, then be sure to read our post on that subject here.
Be sure to read our post: Is it OK to play rough with your puppy?
How to Get Your Dog to Love You More than Anything
Affection is an important part of the human dog bond and when thoughtfully utilized, can be beneficial for both dog and owner. However badly timed affection can worsen problems, build over stimulation, reward inappropriate behavior, and create instability in some dogs. Want to learn a few simple tips to help ensure you are giving your dog the affection they need? Read on…
WHEN Lets start with discussing when affection/attention should be given. If most or even some of the time that you are giving your dog affection is when they are in an excited state of mind (think you just got home from work or always in the middle of high energy play time) you are actually conditioning your dog to stay in that excited state. It would be like giving them a treat every time they started to get excited. For a medium or high energy dog, this can create issues ranging from hyperactivity to jumping on guests, separation anxiety and even an inability to control their own impulses.
In addition, if you have a dog who is pushy or demanding for affection/attention and you pet them when they show those behaviors, you are not only rewarding them for acting pushy, you are creating a dynamic where you give into them regularly (and then we have to ask, who is training who??). You might not even notice how demanding your dog is being for your attention but if you really step back and watch their behavior you might be surprised. If your dog constantly brings you toys expecting you to play whenever they feel like it, or if they bark at you, invade your space regularly, nudge you repeatedly and have mastered the begging look, chances are you have been rewarding these pushy behaviors. And even though they can be quite cute, your dog’s pushiness can send them the wrong message about who is in charge which can spiral into other problems.
HOW So how do you solve these issues? It’s pretty simple! For over excited dogs, get in the habit of ignoring them when they are too excited (for each dog this can be a little different but typical signs of over excitement are fast movements, tail wagging uncontrollably, barking/whining, jumping up, zoomies, and inability to hold still). So yes when you first get home and your dog is SO excited to see you, it’s best to simply ignore them until they have a chance to calm down, as difficult as that may be. The more you do it, the more it will become second nature to you and your dog.
Also remember to not give in to pushy behavior! If you dog demands something from you, ignore them or tell them no and stand your ground. Then when they give up, you can call them over and give them what they wanted because now it’s on your terms not theirs!
The important point to realize is that, once you get started, you actually can give your dog the same amount of affection and attention so long as you do it when they are in a calmer state of mind and are not being pushy about it! Doing so ensures you have the same close relationship while also assisting your dog to be well mannered and stable.