Do Golden Retrievers Like to Cuddle? What to Do If They Don’t Like It

Even though they can’t talk, I would still consider golden retrievers to be the perfect companions. We are not always looking for answers, we’re just looking for someone who can listen to us and share the moment with us, and Goldens are just amazing at that.

But this also begs the question, what about snuggling? We all like physical contact, and it has a warmth that we need in our lives.

So, what about our goldens? Do golden Retrievers like to cuddle? Yes, Golden Retrievers like to cuddle very much. They are very affectionate ad emotionally intelligent and will even seek you out when they feel you need some cheering up. Goldens love to snuggle and remain puppies in heart for life, no matter how old or large they get.

We understand why do we like to cuddle. We like the feeling that we’re not going alone through life, and cuddling – along with other ways of physical contact – releases hormones in our brains which make us feel happy and safe.

But what about our dogs? Why do they like it, and what should you do if your golden retriever doesn’t like to cuddle? Keep reading to find out….

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

Why Do Golden Retrievers like to Cuddle?

Now that we’ve established that Golden Retrievers are cuddly balls of fur, we should talk for a bit about why do goldens like to cuddle, because this is just part of their charm.

There are a couple of scientific reasons why dogs like to cuddle, and others that are not so-scientific but are just as important to mention.

Cuddling is a Stress Reliever

Cuddling has been shown to increase oxytocin levels in dogs just as it does in humans. Oxytocin is the love hormone, and it helps strengthen our connection with our dogs. It is often associated with trust as well.

Oxytocin is also released when we gaze into our dogs’ eyes, and recent research has proved that human-dog interactions indeed elicit the same positive hormonal response that mothers have with their babies.

Mutual gazing had a profound effect on both the dogs and their owners. Of the duos that had spent the greatest amount of time looking into each other’s eyes, both male and female dogs experienced a 130% rise in oxytocin levels, and both male and female owners a 300% increase

Science Magazine (Source 2)

It’s in their Genetics

Research shows that thousands of years ago, being able to bond with humans was an evolutionary advantage for some wild dogs, and one that has provided them with an unfair advantage over other animals and other wild dogs that could not bond with humans in the same way.

By bonding with humans, these wild dogs were able to gain the most powerful ally on the planet and guarantee their survival, and they had the best chance of breeding which only strengthened these traits over the centuries.


Golden Retrievers were bred to be friendly with humans from the start, and we have only made them friendlier by selectively breeding the friendliest of them.

At the end of the day, breeders want to make profit, and this means they have to be smart in breeding their dogs, and they quickly figured out that certain personality characteristics were loved by people more than others, so they focused on them like they focus on the physical characteristics.

This means that over the last century, we have been making our goldens friendlier and more attached to us, and this just means they crave being closer to us more than ever, and this includes more cuddles.

By the way, it’s not just the breeders, we have also made this ourselves – the families. We have been breeding the dogs we love and making more of them, and this only reinforced the same characteristics.

Goldens Are Incredibly Affectionate

Goldens are incredibly loyal, affectionate, and loving dogs. They absolutely love their humans and can’t spend much too time away from them. Cuddling gives them a great chance to spend time as close to us as they could get, and this is not only good for their mental health, it’s necessary.

Cuddling is also a great way for them to show their affection, and somehow they have figured out over the years that it’s something that we appreciate, and being the loving dogs they are, they will keep doing it more and more since we like it so much. That’s just goldens do, they try to make us as happy as they could.

It’s also necessary for some humans to spend this kind of quiet quality time with their dogs – and I’m one of those people, can’t and won’t deny it.

Take a moment to discover the other 20 reasons that make Golden Retrievers such awesome companions here.

Provides Warmth

In the wintertime, cuddling is good for warming up. This goes for both us and our dogs. So you will notice that your dog may be cuddling with you more frequently or that the cuddles are a bit longer in the wintertime than in summer.

Why Doesn’t Your Golden Retriever Like to Cuddle?

While most golden retrievers will be excited to cuddle with you, others may not be so into it. If that’s the case with your and your dog, you need to figure out why and take some steps and actions that can fix whatever problem is causing it.

Here are some of the problems that may be causing your golden retriever to avoid cuddling and what you should do about it.

They’re in pain

Dogs do not like to be touched when they’re in pain. If your dog is usually cheerful, friendly, and cuddly and they are not in the mood all of a sudden, this could be the cause. They might be suffering from an illness or an injury that you have not been able to notice.

Try to find out if there are any other symptoms that they may be injured or sick. For example, can you find clumps of hair fallen off their coat? are they shedding more than normal? do parts of their skin look red? are they licking certain parts of their bodies – such as their paws?

In case of an illness or injury, dogs will be back to their normal personality after they get the help needed. Take them to the vet, give them their medications, and they will be fine in no time.

They are fearful

Dogs can also avoid physical contact when they’re fearful and try to find a safe spot to hide instead. They can be fearful of loud noises such as a storm, strange lights (thunder or fireworks), or new people around the house.

They can also be fearful of a new environment (such as after you move houses). Dogs can also be anxious during stages in their growth when the chemicals and hormones in their bodies are going insane and so much is changing in their bodies that they don’t know how to handle it.

You can learn when do goldens calm down and how to help them calm down quickly here.

Bad Previous Experiences

If your dog was adopted from a shelter (thank you!), then their previous owners may have mistreated them and caused them to dislike showing affection.

Dogs will remember what happens when they have shown affection, and if they have been abused, they will not want to repeat the experience and will avoid physical contact or will be even afraid of it.

In this case, you will need to spend time comforting your dog, socializing them, and spending more time with them. As time goes on, they will learn to trust you and show affection in return.

There are literally millions of stories of how fearful dogs of all breeds make for incredibly affectionate dogs after some time. Just be patient, love them, and show them lots of attention and affection.


Dogs get depressed. It’s not the same kind of depression as humans, but they do experience depression. When dogs are depressed, they will be more withdrawn, lethargic, and overall sad.

Dogs can get depressed for many reasons such as a change in the dog’s normal routine. More commonly though, dogs get depressed when they lose someone they loved dearly such as a human family member or a companion animal.

You can cheer up your depressed dog by engaging them in fun activities like games, fun tricks, and training. Taking your dog to places where they can play freely and engage with other dogs can help your dog cheer up.

Related Questions

Are Male or Female Golden Retrievers More Affectionate?

Male Golden Retrievers are generally more affectionate than their female counterparts. Females are still affectionate on their own rights, but for reason, male golden retrievers tend to be more obvious with their affection and will show it more often than females.

You can learn about the 19 differences between male and female Golden Retrievers here.

Are Golden Retrievers Affectionate?

Golden Retrievers are very affectionate dogs. They are easily one of the most affectionate dog breeds and this has made them America’s 3rd most popular dog.

Goldens were originally bred to be around hunters and their friends, so they had to be friendly with strangers and humans. Being affectionate is just the next logical step in their evolution. It’s also one of the reasons why Goldens don’t make such good guard dogs, but they can be protective of you. You can learn here whether your golden will attack an intruder.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Put Their Paw on You?

Your Golden Retriever will put their paw on you to gain your attention. They will usually look directly at your eyes while they do this, and their wide eyes will be focused just on your eyes and nothing else.

This will often happen when you’re talking with someone, watching the TV, or even working on your desk. They will put their paw on you to tell you that they want your attention.

Why do they want their attention? It depends. Sometimes they will be simply hungry and you may have forgotten to feed them at the usual time, other times they will want to remind you that it’s time for a walk.

Some smart dogs will give you a clue to what they want after you give them attention. For example, I can sometimes get too involved in work, and when I get too focused on work and forget their walk time, they will put their a paw on me, wait for me to look at them, and then run to where I’m hanging the leash and then dash to the door. That’s them clearly telling me “hey buddy, time for a walk”.

When this happens, to be honest, I feel guilty that work has made me forget about their walk, and I immediately pause work and take them for their walks. Thankfully, my dogs are easy on me and forgive me for these little mistakes immediately. One of the millions of reasons why I love my dogs more than anything else in the world.


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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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