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Why does my dog dislike being touched?

In this blog post, we'll discuss why dogs might not react well when they're being handled and what you can do to help them feel more comfortable.
woman hugging a nervous looking border collie with the caption why doesnt my dog like being touched


Many dogs are highly tactile animals. They can’t help but check out everything that they see with their noses and tongues!

This is why it’s not unusual for your dog to enjoy being touched by you or anybody else in the family. However, there are a few factors that could make them want to avoid physical contact with people – some of which you might never suspect!

Dogs are just like people in that some dogs enjoy physical contact and being petted; others don’t like it. If you have a dog that dislikes being touched, this article is for you! We’ll go through why your dog might be reacting negatively to touch and how to help them enjoy it once more.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why dogs might not react well when they’re being handled and what you can do to help them feel more comfortable.

Your dog may associate being touched with pain.

If your dog has previously been harmed during a touch-related encounter, (perhaps they were stepped on or poked), they may start to dislike being touched altogether. In some cases, this aversion can be so strong that even gentle strokes will cause them to recoil or run away. This is called a ‘touch aversion.’

If your dog is scared of being touched, you need to take things slow. Start by petting them very lightly and slowly increase the pressure until they’re comfortable with more intense handling. If your dog is hesitant to let you approach them, start this exercise in tiny increments to rekindle the trust between you.

You can also try giving your pup treats when they let you handle them. This will help them learn that being touched is a good thing, which will make them more willing to let you touch them.

Your dog might not like being physically interacted with if it has never been hurt before. There are other reasons why this might be the case. Keep reading to find out more.

Your dog may not enjoy being touched by new people because of their genetics.

Some dog breeds are more hesitant to let new people touch them. They may be naturally aloof or wary of strangers.

Some dogs might not be as touchy-feely with people, but this doesn’t mean they are unfriendly. Certain breeds of dogs were bred to work independently and didn’t need human interaction in order to survive. This means that they might not be as friendly with humans as other breeds.

Your dog may not understand what you want from them.

Many dogs are hesitant to be touched because they’re not sure what you’re trying to do. In some cases, a dog might think you’re trying to hurt them if they don’t understand what’s happening. In some cases, a dog might be confused as to why you would want to touch them at all.

Your dog may be afraid of new people.

If your dog has ever been intimidated by someone new, they may act aloof or even aggressive when it comes to human interactions. When a strange individual approaches them, their body language might show fear and anxiety, so you should be on the lookout for these indicators before attempting to touch them.

Some dogs might bite – thee most dangerous kind of dog is a scared dog. If this is the case with your dog, you should consult a professional dog trainer or behavior specialist to help you work through this fear.

Your dog might just not like being touched.

Some dogs may just not enjoy being stroked and will always try to avoid any physical contact. This isn’t because there is something wrong with them; it’s just the way they are!

If your dog falls into this category, you’ll need to find other ways to show them affection. Try giving them a good scratch behind the ears or playing fetch with them instead of petting them- they’ll love you for it either way.

Your dog doesn’t have a good association with hands coming near them.

It’s possible that your pup doesn’t like having their space invaded. Some dogs may think that when someone comes near them hands first, it might mean that they are a threat. This is because dogs see the world differently than we do- they are more focused on survival.

If you want your dog to feel comfortable when someone touches them, you will need to start by teaching them that hands can be a safe place. Teach your dog a hand touch to give them a positive association with hands.

Your dog may have been overwhelmed by being touched previously.

Dogs sometimes lie on their backs and expose their tummies to others, especially pups. Many people mistakenly believe this is a sign that the dog wants a tummy rub, but it’s actually an appeasement gesture that means “I’m not a threat; don’t hurt me.”

When petting a dog, always start by stroking it for a maximum of three seconds. If the dog wants more, they will let you know. If they make it obvious they want more pets, then it’s ok to continue. But if they don’t, it’s important to respect that. This will help your dog feel more in control and confident during the interaction.

When I see someone giving belly rubs to their dog for ages, it worries me that the dog isn’t really enjoying it, but there’s nothing he or she can do about it.

Your dog doesn’t like things going over their heads.

Many individuals act like the Pope giving blessings when it comes to dogs, yet many dogs hate anything going over their heads, let alone big scary hands.

Dogs can feel scared and intimidated when things go over their head. If your dog is in this category, try to avoid reaching over them. Come at them from the side or in front. In some situations, a dog may feel more comfortable if you touch their chest or the side of their body.

Your dog may have a medical issue.

Sometimes, dogs will avoid being touched because they are in pain when you try to pet them or pick them up. This might be because they have an underlying condition.

For example, if your dog has arthritis, the pressure of their own body on sensitive joints might cause discomfort when touched. If you believe this is the case, take your dog to the veterinarian for an examination and treatment plan.

Your dog may feel trapped.

When you hug a stressed dog, you’re effectively removing the flight option from the fight or flight reponse.

Many puppies get bitey when hugged because that’s the only way they can communicate that they’re not comfortable.

Some dogs feel trapped and this makes them feel scared. Most fearful dogs do not like being hugged because it makes their stress worse. Hugs can sometimes scare animals if they feel like you are trapping them.

If your dog hates being hugged, try petting them or giving them a treat instead. They will appreciate it just as much!

There are other reasons why a dog might not enjoy being touched, but the ones listed above are some of the most common.

If you are still unsure about why your pup does not like to be touched, it is best to consult with a professional dog trainer or behavior specialist. They will help you work through the issue and get your pup loving physical contact once again!

If your dog needs help with accepting visitors coming into your home, check out this post on how to stop your dog from barking at guests.

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