Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Not Affectionate? [6 Revealing Reasons!]

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So, you’re dying to know, “Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Not Affectionate?”

This question is pretty common among new puppy parents!

I’m sure you’ve imagined life with a Golden Retriever puppy to be filled with hugs, kisses, and lots of snuggle sessions.

After all, you’ve heard and seen how affectionate Golden Retrievers are, and it’s likely one of the many reasons why you chose this breed.

But, your puppy isn’t affectionate, and you’re wondering if your puppy is somehow broken.

Well, rest assured we are going to reveal the 6 reasons why your Golden Retriever puppy is not affectionate in detail below.

Plus, discover the surprising and subtle ways that your Golden Retriever puppy shows his affection, that you may be missing.

Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Not Affectionate?

There are many reasons why your Golden Retriever puppy is not affectionate. The most common reason is age, puppies are less affectionate than adult Golden Retrievers. Other reasons include your Golden Retriever being more independent, not feeling well, in pain, being too hot, or you just haven’t earned your puppy’s affection yet. Chances are, your Golden Retriever puppy is showing his affection in other ways and you just haven’t noticed.

1. Golden Retriever Puppies Are Less Affectionate

Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Not Affectionate - A Golden Retriever puppy walking on sandy ground.

The age of your Golden Retriever has a lot to do with how affectionate they are.

Your Golden Retriever puppy is likely more interested in playing and exploring the world around him, than being hugged or cuddled.

As your pup gets older you might see him becoming more affectionate.

Right now everything is new and fascinating to your puppy, including you. It just takes time for your pup to warm up to you.

With age, you will begin to notice your pup’s personality start to show. This means that your puppy could become a cuddly dog, or become more independent.

2. Your Puppy Has An Independent Personality

While there is a generalization that all Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and gentle dispositions, each one will have a different personality.

Some Goldens are more independent and want their own space, while others are very clingy and enjoy cuddling.

You simply can’t change the personality of your Golden Retriever.

Your Golden Retriever may just enjoy being near you, perhaps in the same room with you or within eyesight, he just doesn’t enjoy snuggling up to you.

This doesn’t mean that your puppy doesn’t love you, it simply means they aren’t the cuddling type.

RELATED ===> Do Dogs Love Their Owners?

3. Your Golden Retriever Puppy Is Sick Or In Pain

If you notice that your puppy is not as affectionate, as they were before, it could be that your pup is sick or in pain.

Any changes in your pup’s behaviour could indicate that something is wrong, and it is best to consult your vet to rule out any medical conditions.

This is especially true if your Golden Retriever suddenly doesn’t like being cuddled or touched.

Other signs of pain or illness include:

  • Lethargy.
  • Whining when being touched.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Limping.

Just as some humans want to be left alone when they aren’t feeling well, so do some dogs.

4. It’s Just Too Hot To Be Smothered With Affection

A Golden Retriever puppy laying on a cool tiled floor.

All that hugging, cuddling and snuggling next to you on the couch, bed or under the blankets is just too hot for your Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever owners are certainly aware of how much these dogs can overheat. Many of them prefer the cooler temperatures of winter over the hot temps of summer.

I’m sure when the temps rise you can find your Golden Retriever laying on a cool surface such as your kitchen floor or even hogging the AC vent.

With all that thick fur, the last thing your Golden Retriever wants to do is snuggle next to you especially when it’s hot.

Don’t take it personally.

Many owners experience their Golden Retriever becoming less cuddly and affectionate in the summer as compared to winter.

5. Affection Has To Be Earned

Affection from your dog is something that has to be earned. It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and patience.

Both you and your puppy need to develop a strong bond that’s built on love, security and trust.

A strong bond can be formed by being the source of fun for your puppy and sharing positive experiences together.

Playing, walking, training, feeding your puppy, and maintaining a regular routine will make your puppy feel safe, secure, and loved.

In return, your puppy will learn to trust you and reward you with his loyalty, which is the most flattering form of affection.

A common mistake that many people make is offering treats as a way to build affection.

While Golden Retrievers do love treats, it’s not the way to get affection.

Offering your puppy a treat will only make him want more treats, and as soon as someone comes along with better treats, you’ll be forgotten!

6. Your Puppy’s Idea Of Affection Is Different Than Yours!

A Golden Retriever puppy covered in a purple towel sleeping on a man's lap.

Humans and canines have very different ways of showing affection.

Hugging, kissing, cuddling and snuggling are all normal ways that we show our loved one’s affection.

But, this is not how dogs show affection. In fact, most dogs don’t like to be hugged!

The ones that are being hugged are likely just tolerating it.

RELATED ===> Do Golden Retrievers Like To Be Hugged?

So if your puppy is not cuddly or showing his affection in the same way as humans do, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

Chances are your puppy is showing his affection towards you, but you may have missed the signs.

Here are some affectionate signs to look for:

  • Following you everywhere, maybe even to the bathroom.
  • Bringing you their favourite toy, or even a dead animal.
  • Excited to see you, even if you have only been gone for a few minutes.
  • Being near you, in the same room as you or close by.
  • Leaning against you.
  • Pawing at you, or placing their paw on you.
  • Gazing into your eyes. This releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
  • Licking you.
  • Stealing your personal items, such as your socks because they smell like you.
  • Your puppy comes to you when he is scared. He feels safe with you.
  • Sniffs or noses you. Your puppy is gathering information about you by smelling you.

RELATED ===> Why Do Golden Retrievers Love Socks?

Most of the above signs are mentioned in the video below, as well as a few others. Take a look:

These are just some of the common ways dogs show affection.

I’m sure seeing the list has made you realize that your puppy has been showing affection all along.

How To Make Your Golden Retriever Puppy More Affectionate

A Golden Retriever puppy surrounded by wildflowers, sitting and looking up at you.

So you probably want to know how you can make your Golden Retriever puppy become more cuddly and affectionate.

I’ll list some of the ways below, but keep in mind that you should never force your dog to do something they aren’t comfortable with, such as hugging or cuddling.

  • Socialize your Golden Retriever puppy around people. Positive interactions with people will allow your pup to interact and be interested in them.
  • Develop a strong bond with your puppy. This includes playing, training, walking, feeding and spending quality time together.
  • Show affection towards your puppy by doing the things he loves. This may include belly rubs, ear rubs, scratches, and plenty of attention.
  • Never punish your dog, Golden Retrievers are especially sensitive. You should never yell or raise your voice. Doing so will make your Golden resent you and not trust you.
  • Watch your dog’s body language. If your puppy gets stressed or tries to run away when you try to hug him, stop and give your puppy some space.
  • Respect your pup’s personality. Some Golden Retrievers are just more affectionate while others prefer their independence

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have revealed the 6 reasons why your Golden Retriever puppy is not affectionate.

Those reasons include age, personality, illness, too hot, you haven’t earned your puppy’s affection, and your puppy’s idea of affection is different than yours.

While many Golden Retrievers become more affectionate with age, many of them prefer their independence. It’s just their personality.

Not all Golden Retrievers are affectionate in the ways that you want them to be, such as cuddling or snuggling with you.

Many of them show their affection differently. You just need to look for the signs.

In order to make your Golden Retriever puppy more affectionate, you need to work on strengthening your bond.

It takes time for your Golden Retriever puppy to learn to trust you and love you, and in turn show affection.

Is your Golden Retriever puppy affectionate? What are some of the ways your Golden Retriever shows affection?

Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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2 thoughts on “Why Is My Golden Retriever Puppy Not Affectionate? [6 Revealing Reasons!]”

  1. I had this issue when our family dog first arrived. She wasn’t affectionate, nor did she want to play as much either. It wasn’t until she was around 7-8 months old that she started being more open with us and truly wanted to bond. It turns out our girl was not in good hands her first 2 months of life and she was a little hesitant when being around people she didn’t know. She’s a happy girl now and we could not be any happier that she has settled in her forever home and has trusted us enough to snuggle and give us all the love she has to offer. 

    • Hi Stephanie,

      It does take time for a bond to form between a dog and owner.  Many times as in your case the issue stems from the dog or puppy not being treated properly by their previous owners.  I am happy to hear that your girl is happy and settled in nicely with you and your family.  

      Thanks for sharing your story.



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