Why Won’t My Bulldog Cuddle With Me Anymore? Here’s Why!

If your ever-affectionate and sweet Bulldog stops liking hugs, you’ll surely feel confused or even betrayed. Why won’t my dog cuddle with me anymore, you ask? This behavior is actually more common than you imagine. It might be the timing of your cuddle or jealousy, physical pain, old age, and even your odor.

In this post, I will discuss the possible reasons why Bulldogs will suddenly stop cuddling with their owners. While it’s sad, there are ways to win back the love of your furry baby.

Why Won’t My Bulldog Cuddle With Me Anymore?

Is your Bulldog resisting your hugs lately? The following might be the reasons why:

1. Bad timing

why won't my Bulldog cuddle with me anymore

Like humans, Bulldogs aren’t always in the mood for a cuddle. You probably tried to hug the pooch in a bad mood or when it just wants to rest alone.

Just imagine yourself enjoying your time on the couch, then someone rings the doorbell. The same feeling of frustration is what your Bulldog feels when you cuddle with them when it doesn’t want to.

It’s important to observe your dog’s body language. Call its name and see if it will respond and come to you. If your Bulldog just stared and didn’t move, take it as a cue to leave them alone for now.

Just like in any relationship, your Bulldog doesn’t always want to get loved up. Try after an hour, and you may have better luck.

2. Physical pain

Another reason why your Bulldog may resist a cuddle is physical pain. Your pooch probably zoomed too fast outdoors and hurt its leg or body. Perform a quick check and see if your pet will twitch or cry in pain when applying gentle pressure on a specific body part.

Aside from that, Bulldogs suffering from health problems like kidney issues, digestive problems, and so on will become cranky. If your dog is usually happy and clingy, it won’t hurt to bring it to the vet. You should do so, especially if the canine is also exhibiting unusual symptoms like lethargy, nausea, and poor appetite.

Also, you might be cuddling too tight and hurting your Bulldog. This will make the experience unrewarding and unpleasant for the canine.

3. Old age

why won't my Bulldog cuddle with me anymore

Sometimes, Bulldogs feel too old for cuddles. While there are Bulldogs that get clingier as they age, some prefer to be left alone.

Senior dogs are prone to a slew of health problems that will make cuddles unappealing. For example, a Bulldog with arthritis will find it painful if you try to carry them around or hug them.

Aside from that, old dogs are susceptible to canine cognitive dysfunction. Like humans, Bulldogs can also develop dementia, which will make them exhibit weird behavior.

Bulldogs that used to be affectionate in their younger years can grow aloof during old age. However, there are cases when a standoffish dog will start to form a bond with its owner after several years.

If this is the case with your dog, it’s best to let the pooch enjoy his golden years on his own terms. In short, wait for the cuddle to be given. 

4. Jealousy

Bulldogs are whiny and jealous dogs. If you brought home a new puppy, don’t be surprised if your Bulldog won’t like to cuddle with you anymore.

Aside from the scent of the new puppy clinging to your body, your resident Bulldog will feel left out. This happens to a lot of Bulldogs that are used to being the only ‘baby’ in the house.

Most of the time, the new puppy gets the most attention. Meanwhile, the Bulldog will suddenly lose all the love that was once given to him. This will make your resident doggo become withdrawn and sad.

It’s very important not to pick favorites between the two pets. Actually, it will help a lot if you’ll give your Bulldog more attention once the second pup arrives. This will allow your resident doggo to associate the newcomer with something positive.

5. Undesirable odor of the person

If there’s no other pet and your Bulldog is in good health, it might be time to sniff yourself. Dogs have a very strong sense of smell. If you stink, they will find it overpowering, thus running away when you try to cuddle.

Try taking a shower or changing body products and see if your Bulldog will start to cuddle with you again. Also, avoid touching other dogs outside. Your Bulldog will know it by the smell!

6. Intimidation

Bulldogs are pretty sensitive when it comes to how you treat them. They are like sulky toddlers who will pout their lips in the very least form of mistreatment.

Stomping your feet and raising your voice are just some of the typical ways to intimidate a Bulldog. Its feelings will get hurt thinking that you’re angry towards them. When this happens, your Bulldog will distance itself from you.

Other pet owners hit their dogs, which is a mortal sin when raising a canine. You can ask all animal behaviorists, and they will tell you that violence does nothing if you want to bond with your pet. Instead, you should practice positive reinforcement.

7. Rewarded behavior

why won't my Bulldog cuddle with me anymore

There are instances when pet owners inadvertently reward their dogs for not cuddling. Over time, your Bulldog will think that staying away from you is the accepted behavior.

For example, if you provide treats the moment your dog hops off the couch, it will think that rewards are only given at a distance. Cuddling and hugging will become the opposite of a rewarding experience for your doggo.

8. Confusing signals

Lastly, you might be sending confusing signals to your Bulldog. If you want to cuddle with your dog, you have to let the pooch know that you want to do so.

To do this, you should assign a cue word for hugging. You can use ‘cuddle’, ‘hug’, ‘smooches’, and so on. Say the cue word, then try hugging your dog. After that, reward your dog for letting you cuddle with them for a few seconds.

Over time, your dog will learn the association between the cue word and cuddling. From there, you can start reducing the treat rewards until your Bulldog cuddles with you without expecting any food in return.

How to make your Bulldog like cuddles again

As long as the reason isn’t health-related, there’s nothing to worry about your Bulldog not cuddling with you anymore. You can do the following to win your dog’s affection back:

✔️Feed the dog by hand

Feeding your Bulldog by hand encourages physical touch. This will also allow your doggo to associate you with the food reward. Over time, you’ll establish your dog’s affection, which takes you closer to turning them into a snuggle buddy.

I suggest letting the Bulldog eat on your hand on its own volition. Never chase or shout at your dog. Remember, the goal is to win your Bulldog’s trust and affection. Violence won’t help.

✔️Start gently

Once your Bulldog is comfortable feeding on your hand, try hugging it gently for two seconds. After that, release the dog and give it a treat. You should also observe your dog’s behavior and see if it will become nervous about the hug. If so, you shouldn’t repeat the cuddle and wait until your Bulldog is calm before trying again.

✔️Rub the dog’s belly

Another way to express affection to your Bulldog is by rubbing its belly. You can also reassure your pet that it’s okay by speaking softly. If the doggo decides to leave, let it be. This way, the pooch will know that you’re not going to restrain or harm him.

✔️Know what your dog dislikes

Does your Bulldog hate it when you touch its shoulders? Does it hate tight hugs? These simple details will prevent you from sending a negative impression on your pet. It will also let you change your approach based on your dog’s personality.

✔️Wait for your dog to mellow down.

After a short walk or playtime, your Bulldog will get tired and sleepy. You can try petting the pooch while it’s lying down on the floor or couch.

If the doggo doesn’t move or show signs of discomfort, you can try picking it up on your lap. Continue petting your dog and speaking softly. Bulldogs tend to love the attention of their owners, which will help turn them into cuddly canines.

✔️Keep the environment calm.

Some Bulldogs, especially rescued ones, will be jumpy when they heard loud noises or see sudden movement. It’s important to keep the environment as calm as possible. This will help your Bulldog tone down and potentially cuddle with you.

✔️Teach cuddling as a trick

Another way to turn your aloof Bulldog into a cuddle buddy is by teaching hugging as a trick. You can start with the classic ‘chin rest’ where you command your dog to place its snout on your palm. When the dog does this, reward it with a treat right away.

After that, you can start teaching the Bulldog to sit on your lap or beside you on a bed. Again, treats and food rewards go a long way here because Bulldogs are highly food-driven.

This process will take time since Bulldogs aren’t the brainiest bunch. Always be patient and keep training sessions short and rewarding. Also, you should end the training while your Bulldog is in a good mood.

✔️Let your dog set cuddling terms.

If your Bulldog is already starting to cuddle with you, let it set the terms. Allow the dog to go away when it wants to and let go if it tries to wiggle out of your hug. This will teach your Bulldog that he has control over cuddling.

Also, you should observe the time at which your Bulldog loves cuddling. It can be right after a meal, before bedtime, or early in the morning. Use this to your advantage to boost the bond between you and your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do Bulldogs like being kissed?

A: Bulldogs are affectionate and clingy canines, so they tolerate human kisses pretty well. But just like any dog, a Bulldog will not always like your loving kisses. It’s still important to give your dog space when it’s resting or not in the mood to be a lovebug.

Q: Why does my Bulldog become aggressive toward me suddenly?

A: Sudden aggression can be due to physical pain, injury, or lingering illness. If your Bulldog is normally laidback and affectionate, it’s best to bring it to the vet once it acts aggressively. Never punish your Bulldog for it because it will only make matters worse.

Q: Do Bulldogs like it when you talk to them?

A: Dogs have been found to respond to human speech. Many Bulldogs will love the attention and sound of their owner’s voice. However, your tone will affect how well your dog will receive the communication. Also, Bulldogs tend to be stubborn and will try to talk back if you’re using a heated tone.

Q: Is it bad to cuddle with your dog?

A: Cuddling with your dog is a good way to form a bond with the animal. However, make sure that your doggo is in the mood for it. Otherwise, your hug will cause the canine anxiety and discomfort. It’s important to read your pet’s body language and how it acts when you try to cuddle.

Q: Why does my Bulldog back away when I try to pick him up?

A: It’s possible that your Bulldog associated being picked up with an unpleasant experience. It could be bath time, a suffocating hug, or a painful sensation. It’s best to let your dog go if he’s acting this way.

Final words

Why won’t my dog cuddle with me? You have to assess the environment and your Bulldog’s behavior. This will give you an idea of what’s stopping your affectionate pooch from hugging you. But whatever it is, there’s always a way to win back the affection of your furry friend. You just have to be patient and gentle.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of bulldogpapa.com. Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!