Why Is My Dog Suddenly More Affectionate?

Why Is My Dog Suddenly More Affectionate?

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I think we can all agree that dog owners love to cuddle their canine kids.

But, is there a point where the love starts to get a little too intense?  Maybe you’re having trouble getting work done around the house because you seem to have a dog attached to you, following you everywhere and watching your every move!

Are you wondering why your dog is suddenly more affectionate than before?

Your dog could be feeling anxiety, fear, or jealousy from a recent change, or they might be feeling your stress and possibly even sensing pregnancy.  Maybe, your dog is getting old and hard of hearing or sight.  It’s even possible that your dog is trying to protect you or is afraid of something. 

Let’s look into some possible causes of your dog’s recent change in behavior, and make sure that nothing is a problem for your pup!

Reason 1: Your Dog Could Be Feeling Stressed.

Did you know that physical touch is soothing for dogs, just like it is for people?

Imagine the good feeling and sense of calm you get after a good massage.  You feel energized, calm, and relaxed.  While this is partially to do with the actual massaging of your muscles, another element of this relaxation can be found in the physical touch of the massage therapist.

Dogs experience the same calming effect from touch that we do and there are even studies proving this.

From the day they are born, dogs seek out a physical touch from the beings around them.  Puppies will often pile on top of each other when sleeping as a way to find comfort.

Your dog may be more affectionate all of a sudden because they are feeling stressed or anxious, and they are seeking comfort.

The most common form of anxiety disorder that dogs develop is separation anxiety.  This might go without saying but a side effect of separation anxiety is your dog wanting to be near you at all times.

The reason for this is of course the comfort they find from your presence and touch.  So while it’s sweet that your furry friend has been more cuddly lately, it could be a sign that they are a little stressed of anxious!

Reason 2: Maybe You’re Stressed!

Perhaps your dog isn’t the one who is dealing with stress.  It could be you!

We mentioned above that dogs can become anxious and develop a need for cuddles to soothe and calm them.  On the other hand, dogs have a great sense for pain and a power for emotional healing.

Dogs are actually incredibly sensitive to the stress and anxiety of those around them.  So while some dogs take on this stress by becoming anxious as well, other dogs may deal with this stress by offering their owners some emotional support!

Certain breeds of dogs like, Golden Retrievers, often make wonderful emotional support animals.  This support is something they naturally give the people around them.  But, any breed of dog can act as a helper when you are experiencing emotional stress.

One of the ways a dog supports their owner is by touching, leaning, or sitting on their owners.  This presence helps calm some of the owner’s stress and anxiety.  dogs can be trained to do this but often, dogs will do this without any training.

Maybe your dog is inclined towards supportive behaviors and had suddenly become more cuddly because they sense your stress. This is especially common since stress (hopefully) ebbs and flows through the months and years so your dog’s sudden increase in affection could be a result of an especially stressful time in your life.

Reason3: You Have a New Member of The Family

Just like us, dogs can get jealous.  Your pup could be more affectionate now because they’re jealous and want to make sure they get all of your attention.

Did you recently add a new member to your household?  This could be a new partner, a baby, a roommate, or even another dog! Even though the dream of adding a new canine companion to your home is appealing, not all dogs are ready to get along with a new pooch.

This new addition is probably taking up a lot of your time and energy.  If you’re giving them more attention and giving your dog less attention, this could make your dog suddenly a lot jealous and affectionate.

Being more affectionate is one way a dog communicates that they want attention.  They show you that they need to know that they are still an important member of the pack.  Your dog’s newfound love of cuddles could definitely come from a little jealousy and a need to let you know they’re still there!

Reason 4: Your Schedule Changed Recently.

In life, it’s normal for our schedules to change, sometimes even constantly.  As people, we understand why this is sometimes necessary.   Dogs, on the other hand, do not.

If you are spending more or less time in the home than normal, your pet might have an opinion about that!

If you recently went back to the office or started a longer job with a commute, odds are you are seeing less of your dog than you were before.  Sadly, your dog definitely noticed this!  To them, you are their world!  Your daily schedule dictates their entire day and life.

Your dog could be missing you and is being more affectionate towards you when they can.  They realize that you’re not home all of the time and want to make sure they are with you when you are.

On the other hand, your schedule may have changed in the opposite direction.  Maybe you recently left your job or started a career that allows you to work from home.

In this case, your pet is probably thrilled!  It might seem like they are being more affectionate, or maybe even clingy. You feel this way because you’re always home.  They take advantage of this by staying close and cuddling.

Whether it’s spending more time at home or less time, your dog notices this schedule change.  They will also take advantage of the time they have now to spend with you and may seem like they are being overly affectionate compared to how they usually act.

Again, this explanation is especially common since schedules regularly change as we take new shifts, completely change jobs or form new relationships in our life. For us, these transitions are usually planned long in advance but for our dogs, it feels as though it happens suddenly. That can lead to not only a sudden increase in affection but also sudden clinginess overall.

Reason 5: Your Dog Is Getting Old.

Is your little dog not so little anymore?  Time flies when you have a good companion and you may not realize that your dog is starting to get older.

We all know that dogs age more quickly than people.  But how do you know when your dog is considered a senior or a geriatric dog?

This chart from Rancho Sequoia Vet Hospital gives an excellent example of dog years compared to human years and how we can tell when your dog is getting old.

You can see that dogs age more quickly based on their size!  For example, a small dog might not be considered geriatric until age 11 while an extra-large breed of dog would be considered geriatric at the age of 6!  Compared to senior dogs, geriatric dogs will likely suffer from some health set backs and experience some exaggerated symptoms of aging.

So, how does this tie into your dog suddenly wanting to be by your side all day?

Sadly, two of the most commons signs of an aging or geriatric dog are deafness and blindness.  If your dog is old enough to be considered geriatric, they likely are experiencing at least some deterioration of their senses.  Dogs who start to lose hearing or sight will try to stick close to the things they know and understand.

While this can sometimes mean they stay in their bed more and are less active, this can also lead to a sudden attachment to you!  As a dog hears less and less, they want to keep you in their sight at all times.  On the other hand, as a dog starts to lose sight, they want to make sure they can hear your voice.

Naturally, this leads to your dog being super close to you at all times, and probably leaning in for some pets and cuddles!

Reason 6: You Might Be Pregnant.

Have you heard before that dogs might be able to detect pregnancy before even you can?

It’s true that dogs have a sort of sixth sense.  However, this power most likely comes from a dog’s ability to detect small changes in your hormones and your overall smell.   They know when a change is happening in your body, and for some dogs, this is a sign to stay close.

It’s also very common for dogs to spend more time next to owners who are further along in pregnancy.  This sweet video shows a super affectionate dog who is enamored with his owner’s belly!

This dog obviously became much more affectionate at the onset of this owner’s pregnancy.  The dog stays super close to his owner and even nudges her belly to show his affection.  This is usually a very sweet behavior to experience from your pet and not a cause for concern.

Reason 7: Your Dog Is Trying To Protect You.

Your dog lives in your house, but they’re still an animal.

Dogs are animals that have instincts, and sometimes their instincts tell them to protect their pack.  Historically, some dogs were even bred for the specific purpose of being guard dogs.

It’s possible that your dog just reached an age where they feel mature and responsible.  Perhaps they feel that it is suddenly their job to protect the family.  This could explain why your dog is spending so much time with you.  While of course, they are enjoying the comfort of closeness, they are also staying close to make sure nothing bad happens to you.

This can feel sudden to us, but in many cases, dogs are reacting to something we just can’t notice and protective behavior can change everything from where dogs lay to their favorite sleeping position and of course how affectionate they are.

Reason 8:  Something Could Be Scaring Your Dog.

So your dog might be a brave protector! Or… they might be a scaredy dog!

Dogs are fearful of many things.  Some make sense to us and other do not.  Some of the most common things that dogs are afraid of are storms, fireworks, and strangers.

This video shows a dog who is incredibly reactive and fearful of a strange man coming into her house.

While this is an extreme example, if you watch the whole video, you can see that the dog stays very close to the owner.  This isn’t exactly affection towards the owner, but you can imagine what a more mild case would look like.

When your dog is afraid of something, they want to be near their people, both to protect them and to seek comfort from them.

If your dog suddenly started acting more loving towards you they could be scared of something new in the house, or of something they can see or hear outside of the house.

Reason 9: It’s Cold Outside!

Sometimes the seasons change gradually, and sometimes, winter just appears!

If the seasons have recently turned in your city, it’s possible your pooch is feeling a little chilly.

Is there really any better plan that to cuddle your favorite human when it’s cold?  We don’t think so!

Although it is normal and okay for dogs to feel chilly and want to cuddle up with you, it’s always important to make sure they aren’t too cold!  Small dogs with short hair are more susceptible to cold than larger dogs and can get cold surprisingly quickly!  If you’re curious about the range of temperatures that your dog would be cold in, this article discusses the ranges and provides a nice table.

Regardless you can imagine that if it recently got colder outside, your dog might sit close to you and sleep by you so that they could share some of your body heat.  Hopefully, these cuddles are welcome and are also making you warm at the same time!

How Do You Know Why Your Dog Has Become So Cuddly?

There are so many reasons why your dog could be suddenly more affectionate towards you!  But, the one thing all of these reasons have in common is that they stem from change.  One of the easiest ways to figure out your newly affectionate doggy is to try and figure out what has recently changed in your schedule or in your life.

Your Dog Probably Isn’t Sick Or Injured.

If you were wondering whether your dog might be sick, we can tell you probably not.  Like most animals, dogs like to hide or find solitude when they’re not feeling well.  Sickness is a sign of weakness that most pups aren’t keen to share with the world.  Their natural instincts tell them to hide.

This being said, if you do have a feeling something could be wrong with your dog, the best thing to do is heck with you veterinarian!

Should You Worry About Your Extra Affectionate Companion?

The causes we list for recent cuddliness are not a cause for great concern.  What sticks out to us are the possibilities that your dog our you could be struggling with some mental and emotional health.

If your dog has anxiety, it’s important to find the root of the cause for this.  Anxiety can escalate into bad destructive behavior, and it’s good to get the problem under control before this happens.

Additionally, if you feel that your dog might be sensing your own stress or anxiety, it’s important to focus on your mental health.  They always say it’s hard to take care of someone else before first taking care of yourself.

Our Final Thoughts

We hope that if your dog has suddenly become more affectionate, that there is a good reason behind it.  The reasons above all have simple solutions if you think your dog is being overly cuddly.  And if you don’t find it too annoying, maybe you can just enjoy this newfound affection.