Can You Spoil a Puppy By Holding It Too Much?

By John Martin - March 26, 2022

Dog owner holding puppy

Nothing can beat the feeling of holding and cuddling your brand new fluffy puppy. And, soon you’ll realize that you’re not alone!

Everyone in the family is doing pretty much the same and your puppy is being passed around from one family member to another, being held and petted all day. But the important question to ask here is, “can you spoil a puppy by holding it too much?”

Benefits of Holding Your Pup

Physical contact with your furry pet is important for many reasons including:

  • It helps to nurture your relationship and strengthen the bond with your pup.
  • It will help your pup to develop into a friendly and affectionate adult.
  • Your puppy will not get agitated when other people touch or pet him.
  • Holding and cuddling can help your puppy feel safe, secure and loved and help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Your puppy can learn to distinguish between good and bad behaviors when he receives or does not receive physical contact from you.

The important thing to remember is that too much holding and cuddling can spoil your puppy. However cute and adorable your puppy may be, he will try to push his boundaries with you and you must not allow your pup to take advantage of this.

Is It Okay to Hold Your Puppy a Lot?

Holding and cuddling your furry puppy is a wonderful way to forge a strong bond with the newest member of the family and can help your puppy to grow to become a friendly, pleasant and well-rounded adult. However, like little children, puppies too tend to pick up behaviors from their environment and just like kids, puppies need to be disciplined too.

And, while there’s nothing wrong with holding and cuddling your little puppy, avoid doing this all the time and treating him like an infant. Too much of it can cause your puppy to become over-reliant and he can end up developing attention-seeking behaviors and separation issues. Too much affection can also cause over-stimulation and cause instability in your pet.

Puppies are super intelligent and smart and the minute your puppy discovers that he will be picked up, held and cuddled when he starts whining or crying, he will learn this habit and will just not stop.

And, if your puppy gets accustomed to being picked up, being carried around and held all the time, he will learn to cry and whine the minute you put him down, causing you to pick him up again to cuddle and comfort him more.

And, if you do this each and every time he cries or whines, this will end up becoming a habit that your puppy will adopt to get your attention all the time, causing him to become completely spoiled. Holding and cuddling your puppy all the time will also make him lazy and fat.

Also, over-coddling your pup will make him unduly reliant on you and this habit can continue way beyond the puppy years, even when your dog is an adult. So, the important thing is to pick and choose your moments to hold, cuddle, kiss and hug your puppy.

Your puppy may be crying and whining because of various reasons and so when he does, it is best to ignore him and let him deal with it on his own. While this may be difficult at the start, your pup will eventually learn.

And once he is used to his surroundings and figures out how to deal with things on his own, he will learn to comfort himself and stop crying and whining.

Also Read: Why Does Your Dog Bury Its Head in the Couch?

How Much Attention Does Your Puppy Really Need?

Determining how much attention, holding and cuddling your puppy needs will, in turn, determine whether your lil’ one is spoiled or not. And, the key is to get the balance right. When you bring your puppy home for the first time, he is probably very insecure and scared and needs plenty of attention, love and care.

While you should not leave your puppy alone for long, you should not cuddle him round-the-clock too. There is no need to interact with your puppy or assist him constantly.

Allow your puppy to sniff around your home, explore, lay around, get comfortable with his surroundings and find his way around without being around him and coaxing him to do this and that all the time.

Let your pup play, sleep, relax, take a break from you and the other family members and do things on his own. Letting your pup do this will not only make your pet independent but will also encourage him not to develop attention-seeking behaviors such as crying and whining all day long.

Ensure that he gets accustomed to the ways of your home, learns good habits and stops undesirable behaviors like chewing up your shoes, peeing on the carpet, digging up the yard, etc.

Spend time with your puppy to ensure that he has everything he needs such as feeding him, taking him for walks, playing with him, teaching him things instead of holding and cuddling him all the time. Doing these things with your puppy will ensure that a strong bond is created between both of you.

When Should You Cuddle Your Puppy?

It is extremely important to be very selective when holding and cuddling your puppy and this can make a huge difference in learning overall behavior. Choose appropriate moments to hold or cuddle your pup.

Save them for special moments when your pup has done something praiseworthy such as following a command, done his job properly, etc. that deserves some positive attention.

By doing this and reserving cuddles and pats for special moments, you are essentially reinforcing that positive behavior will earn your puppy cuddles and rewards and that he should not take undue advantage of you.

What Are the Alternatives to Holding Your Puppy?

Holding your puppy and cuddling him when he is a baby can be fun; however, as your pet grows up, especially if he’s a large breed weighing around 150 lb, you probably don’t want him jumping onto your lap for cuddles and snuggles all the time.

So, instead of holding your pup on your lap often, place him on the floor and then sit by him while petting him. You can let him rest his head on your lap or knee.

Get your puppy his own bed and encourage him to sleep in it. Put him in his bed at night and praise him for it. If he attempts to get into your bed with you, then discourage him firmly.

By introducing these behaviors right when he is young, you can ensure that your pet behaves consistently and is well behaved even when he grows up. This is crucial for the development of your pup because all that he experiences at the time when he’s growing up will affect his behavior as an adult.

Also Read: Are Runts of the Litter More Aggressive?

How Much Supervision Does Your Puppy Need?

When you bring your puppy home for the first time, as an owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you supervise your pup around your home in the first few weeks to introduce new and desirable habits and stop undesirable ones. It may be difficult to be around your puppy all the time and supervise him constantly, which is understandable.

After all, you have other things to do and so at this time, it is a good idea to use a kennel or a crate. When they are young, puppies sleep a lot and a kennel or crate not only enables them to sleep and relax in a safe and secure environment, but they can be very effective training tools too.

How Much Playtime Does a Puppy Need?

Often, pet owners are confused about how much playtime is sufficient for their puppy. Playing not only keeps your puppy physically active but also provides mental stimulation, keeping your pet healthy and fit. So instead of holding and cuddling your pup, playing with him is much better.

A puppy without exercise can become lethargic and bored, leading to destructive behaviors. Start exercising your puppy when he is 6 months old. Experts recommend an hour of exercise daily at least. Regular exercise can help your puppy to reduce fat, build muscle mass and improve energy levels.

Since young puppies have shorter attention spans and get bored very easily, keep their exercise routine interesting and varied. Also, socializing your puppy is very important for his development and so take your pet to various places and let him learn by exploring and experiencing different smells, animals, people and scenarios.

Also Read: Should I Leave the TV On For My Dog?

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, no doubt, holding, hugs and cuddles are very important for your puppy and are a necessity for building a strong bond between your pet and you. However, the key is not to hold your puppy or overdo the hugs and cuddles because too much of it can be bad for your pup and you must restrict this before your pet becomes a “spoiled brat.”