Why won’t my dog let me hold it?

Why won’t my dog let me hold it? If your dog has not been properly trained, it may not respect you as its leader. Dogs that are rewarded for bad behaviors, such as being allowed to jump on furniture or being given food when they bark, may also begin to see you as someone who is not in charge. If your dog is anxious or intimidated by you, it may also be less likely to respect your authority.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog won’t let you hold it and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog won’t let you hold it

Below are likely reasons why your dog won’t let you hold it and what would make each of them more likely.

Injury

The cause could be that it has gotten an injury. This would be more likely if your dog has stopped wanting to be held suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of having an injury such as limping and not moving around as much. In this case, the best option would be to take it for a checkup.

Intimidation

It might also be the case that it gets fearful when you hold it. This would be more likely if it tends to stop you from doing it more when you approach it quickly and loudly. If it seems like your own actions could be intimidating your dog, it would help to be calm around it and to give it positive reinforcement training as opposed to negative reinforcement.

It does not like the way you hold it

It could also be the case that the way you have been holding it has been painful for it. This would be more likely if you have been holding it forcefully and it does not have issues when you hold it gently.

Excitement

The cause could be that it is exciting. This would be more likely if it shows signs of excitement when it does it by doing things such as wagging its tail, having wide-open eyes, and showing its tongue.

Surprise

The cause might also be that it was not expecting you to hold it. This would be more likely if it only stops you when you hold it suddenly or when you grab it from behind.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your dog did let you hold it in the past

If your dog has let you hold it in the past, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped letting you hold it. If it stopped letting you do it suddenly, it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to stop. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to getting injured but it might also be due to holding it in a usual way as well.

If your dog does let you hold it sometimes

If it does not always stop you from holding it, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you grab it quickly or forcefully, it would be more likely that it does it because it doesn’t like being held that way.

What to do about your dog not wanting to be held

Here are some things you can do about it.

Hold it gently

If you have been grabbing quickly or forcefully, it would help to avoid doing so and to pick it up slowly and gently instead.

Don’t hold it

If your dog just does not like being held, the easiest option would be to only hold it when absolutely necessary such as when getting it into a car.