Why Do Dogs Become More Affectionate

  • Home >
  • The Daily Wag! >
  • Behavior >
  • Why Do Dogs Become More Affectionate


Has your dog, over time, become far more affectionate then they used to be? Perhaps this happened with old age as time went on or perhaps they have become debilitated by some medical condition. Truth is, dogs often become more affectionate for completely natural reasons but it all could be due to an underlying medical condition. There is no point in getting ahead of yourself as this is a natural progression as time goes on and your canine becomes more familiar and comfortable with you and your family. However this can be the cause of a loss or weakening of general senses or deteroriation of health.

The Root of the Behavior

Canines who are aging are likely to grow more affectionate to their human companion as their reliance on them grows. This is doubly so for canines who are experiencing deafness, blindness, or trouble smelling provided these are not lifelong disabilities. Disabilities that form later in life can be harder to adapt to. A dog who cannot see from birth will use their other senses to navigate efficiently, however, a dog that becomes blind later in life will have a much harder time adjusting. That being said, dogs may just become more affectionate due to old age, a lack of excess energy that they may have once had. They may have grown closer to you because they have more time that they just want to relax and they are accustomed to relaxing with you.

A puppy or unfamiliar dog introduced to the house will often go through a period where they can be frightened by the human companions. This often takes a bit of time to overcome, but just your natural interactions with the dog should be enough. This behavior is caused by an unfamiliar environment and higher stress levels. Dogs can also be known to grow more calm and affectionate in response to their human companion becoming sick and weak. They recognize the frail nature and will often try and nurture and accompany their companion during this time. Canines can also be trained to be more affectionate and much of this training occurs in the process to ready a canine to be a therapy, support, or special needs dog. This training is often needed due to the human's constant reliance on a highly affectionate and attentive canine. Your dog showing a higher level of affection then normal should not be cause for concern unless it is coupled with additional symptoms. If they are growing weak or easily fatigued they may have some underlying medical issues.

Encouraging the Behavior

Training a dog to show a higher level of affection can be a challenging thing, and not always for the best. We often want our canines to behave around our children or strangers kindly and show them care and affection. However children of a young age often do not treat a dog well, albeit unknowingly. Their tight squeezes and rough housing can hurt the dog, and although the dog would be unlikely to lash out, they may specifically avoid the child who does that. It is important to remember that if your dog doesn't like it, you shouldn't do it. Forcing a dog to remain in close quarters with a child they are afraid of could compound into a bad scenario. A dog put in a corner through fear may enter fight or flight and lash out.

Taking your dog through the steps to certify as a therapy dog would include this type of training however a local dog trainer could address this themselves. A primary contributing factor is going to be exercise. If they are full of energy and cannot sit down then you cannot reasonably expect them to sit down with you. Making sure to get them enough exercise is going to calm them down around the house and with the reduced energy they may just be more prone to affection.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Contacting a behavioral specialist or dog trainer may be your best bet if your dog is unusually distant or fearful of affection. They can help you to identify what is causing this behavior and what you can do to change it.

Most of the time you can get some additional affection from your canine by simply giving them some of the same. Play some games with your dog, show them affection when you can, and don't turn them away if they come up to you for the same kind of love. If you turn them away each time they approach you for affection, they will simply stop approaching you. Not because they do not like attention from you, simply because they do not think they can get it that way anymore.


Dogs show an increased amount of affection as the years go on for a ton of different reasons. It may not be one specifically, but a culmination of different causes. Doing your best to spend some time with them and show them affection when you can will help to make them feel more comfortable around you and in turn be more affectionate.