Do Dogs Like Being Picked Up – 3 Key Factors

When it comes to showing affection to our furry friends, many dog owners wonder about the appropriateness and comfort level of picking up their pets. While some dogs may seem to enjoy being lifted off the ground, others may not be as receptive.

This article explores the varied reactions of dogs to being picked up and the safety considerations involved for both the dog and the owner.

Holding a Dog Like a Baby

Understanding Your Dog’s Comfort

The response of dogs to being picked up can vary widely based on their size, breed, and personal history. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians, are often more accustomed to being held due to their size. However, larger breeds may find the experience unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Additionally, a dog’s past experiences, especially if they have a history of being mishandled, can greatly influence their comfort with being lifted.

It’s crucial to observe your dog’s body language when they’re picked up. Signs of discomfort include stiffening of the body, trying to squirm away, or showing the whites of their eyes. On the other hand, a relaxed body, a wagging tail, or a calm demeanor can indicate that they’re comfortable with the interaction. Some dogs appreciate being carried if they need to walk a longer distance. However, it is important that all dogs get some level of exercise.

Do Dogs Like Being Held Like a Baby

Holding a dog like a baby—on their back in your arms—can be a contentious issue. While some dogs may find this position comforting and enjoy close contact, others may feel vulnerable and exposed. This position takes away their ability to escape or move freely, which can be distressing, especially for dogs that value their independence or are not used to such handling.

Safety is another concern when holding a dog like a baby. This position can put pressure on the dog’s spine or restrict their breathing if not done carefully. Always be mindful of your dog’s size and physical condition when attempting to hold them in this manner.

Do Dogs Like Being Picked Up

Dog’s Reception to Being Picked Up

The breed and size of the dog are significant factors. Smaller breeds are often more used to being carried due to their size, making them generally more tolerant. Larger dogs, however, may not only be unaccustomed to being lifted but may also be too heavy, making the act unsafe for both the dog and the owner.

A dog’s individual personality plays a crucial role, too. Some dogs are naturally more affectionate and enjoy close contact with their owners, while others value their independence and personal space. Recognizing and respecting these personality traits is key to ensuring a positive experience for your dog.

Training Your Dog to Be Comfortable with Being Picked Up

If you want to train your dog to be more comfortable with being picked up, it’s essential to start slowly and with positive reinforcement. Begin by gently lifting them off the ground for a short period, and then gradually increase the duration. Always observe their reaction and back off if they show signs of distress. Treats and praises can be used to associate the experience with positive outcomes.

This training should be consistent and done in a calm and reassuring manner. Avoid forcing your dog into uncomfortable positions or lifting them abruptly, as this can lead to fear and resistance.

Safety Considerations When Picking Up a Dog

Safety is paramount when picking up any dog. Ensure you are lifting with your legs, not your back, to avoid injury. Hold the dog close to your body to provide support and make them feel secure. Be especially careful with puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with health issues, as they are more prone to injury.

It’s also important to teach children the proper way to pick up a dog. They should always ask for permission from the dog owner and be supervised to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.

When to Avoid Picking Up Your Dog

There are situations when it’s best to avoid picking up your dog. If your dog is injured or recovering from surgery, lifting them might cause more harm. Also, if your dog is showing clear signs of

discomfort or fear, it’s important to respect their boundaries and not force the interaction. Additionally, if you are not physically capable of safely lifting your dog, especially larger breeds, it’s better to refrain from doing so to prevent injury to both you and your pet.

Woman Walking Dog

Consulting a Professional

If your dog consistently shows signs of distress or aggression when being picked up, it may be beneficial to consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can help you understand the root cause of your dog’s discomfort and work with you to address these issues. It’s important to ensure that your interactions with your pet are positive and do not cause undue stress or fear.


Understanding and respecting your dog’s preferences when it comes to being picked up is crucial in maintaining a healthy and trusting relationship with your pet. While some dogs may enjoy being held, others might not, and it’s essential to be attuned to your dog’s body language and comfort level.

Safety should always be a top priority, both for you and your dog. By being considerate of your dog’s individual needs and preferences, you can ensure that your expressions of affection are enjoyable for both of you.

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