Why Do Goldendoodles Like to Be Held? (Revealed!)

If you are a Goldendoodle owner or if you have just had the good fortune of meeting one of these special dogs, you probably noticed how affectionate they are. Maybe they love to snuggle up beside you, want to be in your lap all the time, or even do not mind being carried. Not all dogs are excited about being held, so why do Goldendoodles like it?

This article will cover all the major factors contributing to Goldendoodles’ affinity for being held.

Why Do Goldendoodles Like to Be Held?

Goldendoodles love being held first because of genetics. The rest is left up to how they are raised, trained, and their individual history.

Most importantly, Goldendoodles are dogs, which means they are one of the most domesticated animals on the planet. Secondly, they are a product of two of the most cuddly breeds out there: Golden Retrievers and Poodles.

Finally, how a Goldendoodle puppy is raised and socialized will usually make or break whether or not they like to be held.

Dogs and Humans

Dogs descended from wolves, and wolves were already social creatures. Much like us, they live in family units or even larger groups (either is called a pack). Wolves and wild dogs, therefore, were already equipped to show affection long before humans domesticated them.

During the domestication process, the canids that became dogs learned to trust humans more and eventually came to accept them as if they were family members. This opened the door for people and dogs to share affection.

The ability to bond with humans has been bred for and refined ever since then, generation after generation. The phrase “dog is man’s best friend,” captures how well these animals have become hardwired to live with, interact with, and bond with our species.

The result is the existence of many breeds of dogs that crave cuddles, coddling, smooches, belly rubs, and even to be picked up or held by us. Two of the most cuddly of all breeds happen to be the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. Both were originally bred for working purposes, but these dogs also developed enormous capacities for affection towards their owners and people in general.

If a Goldendoodle likes to be held, it is in part because of the thousands of years of breeding that made dogs so well-tempered in the first place. The degree to which they like to be held is further determined by their parentage.

And since Golden Retrievers and Poodles have a strong reputation for enjoying being held and snuggled by their humans, the odds are very good that a Goldendoodle with that same nature inherited it from its parents.

Puppy Imprinting & Socialization: Are Goldendoodles Born Cuddly?

Yes and no. It is hard to argue a newborn puppy is not cuddly – they certainly are. However, the first weeks and months of life are a critical stage during which humans should be present if puppies are to have a chance at being unquestionably at ease around people and ultimately cuddly as an adult.

When puppies are first born, they are blind and deaf and mainly limited to sleeping and nursing from their mother. In the period between four and eight weeks of age, they begin exploring and learning about the world around them.

This is a crucial time where they learn to be a dog from their mother, siblings, or any other dogs present. It is also when they learn to live with humans.

This is a time when dogs are open to new experiences without a developed fear response. Whatever they become accustomed to during this time that is not harmful to them, they will more easily be able to accept as normal for the rest of their lives.

Dogs who were not raised around humans during this formative period, such as litters born to strays, can have a much harder time acclimating to life with people and warming up to them. Thus, breeders need to ensure that the puppies they are raising are exposed to a variety of different stimuli, people, and children.

With a baseline comfort level intact, it then becomes very easy if not predictable for most dogs to go on to be great companions who enjoy being pet and held by humans. If your Goldendoodle loves to be held, another reason for this is they were probably responsibly raised by a human who took care to socialize them well.

Practicing positive socialization cannot and should not end with puppyhood either. Even dogs who matured in a caring environment can withdraw if they suffer a frightening event later in life.

Why Do Goldendoodles Like To Be Held

This is just one reason why it is important to be kind to dogs, use positive reinforcement, and make their experiences around people as pleasant as possible throughout their lives. When they trust and feel loved by the people around them, Goldendoodles and other dogs will be able to maximize their comfort level.

This means they will be more likely to enjoy a lot of physical contact with humans, which includes being held.

Why Doesn’t My Goldendoodle Want to Be Held?

Why Doesn’t My Goldendoodle Want to Be Held? If your Goldendoodle does not want to be held, you should not force them. They probably have a good reason, whether it be pain, a traumatic past, inadequate socialization, or they just do not feel like it!

You might be able to increase your Goldendoodle’s ease with physical touch, cuddling, and holding over time. However, they are worthy of your love and respect no matter what degree of affection they can show.

Past Trauma

While many people purchase Goldendoodle puppies from a breeder, occasionally they can end up in shelters where they will hopefully be matched with their next forever home. If you adopted your Goldendoodle, you did a great thing giving a dog in need a home!

One of the challenges to adoption, though, is that you may not know your dog’s exact history. The circumstances that led to them being put up for adoption may also have had negative consequences for their mental health. Animals that end up in shelters sometimes come from abusive or neglectful backgrounds.

If your Goldendoodle suffered any kind of trauma in their past life, it can impact how willing they are to trust or show affection to people now. They may be reluctant to be touched at all. In these types of situations, it is important to always be patient.

Treat your Goldendoodle with respect and compassion, and they may start to work past any lingering fears or concerns. Even if they never want to be held, you can certainly improve their lives in this way, which is itself a reward.

Poor Upbringing/ Lack of Socialization

Sometimes, it is not that a dog has had a traumatic past that is the problem. It could also be that they were treated well but under-socialized during their formative time as a puppy. This could be in relation to either dogs or humans or both.

Without that critical exposure, being comfortable around people to the point of being held will most likely not come naturally to them, and it may take longer to get them to that point if you can at all.

This does not mean you cannot have a great relationship with your Goldendoodle, just that they may not be exceptionally cuddly, which is okay!


Maybe your Goldendoodle used to enjoy snuggling and being held but they do not anymore? Much like dogs who lose interest in getting up on the bed or couch, this could be a sign of physical discomfort.

Aging dogs who develop arthritis will be less inclined to allow themselves to be squeezed or handled too forcefully.

If not arthritis, then something else could be amiss with their health. Either way, if you suspect that your Goldendoodle is in pain while being held, it is a good idea to get them checked out by the veterinarian.

Your Relationship With Them

As much as we would all like to believe our relationships with our pets are perfect, this is not always true. Your Goldendoodle might not want to be held by you because you have not achieved (or recently lost) that level of closeness with them.

If your relationship with your pet seems to be suffering, don’t be embarrassed and don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. Someone like a certified dog trainer can help you get to the bottom of your and your Goldendoodle’s needs.


Let’s say everyone did everything right, and your Goldendoodle is a great dog! But they still do not want to be held. This is entirely possible and not necessarily indicative of a problem. At the end of the day, all dogs are individuals with their own preferences.

Some may just not enjoy all that much more physicality other than some petting. I can certainly think of some cats who are like that! Dogs too. It doesn’t mean they love you any less, it is just who they are, and they will be better off if you allow for this.


Why do Goldendoodles love to be held? For the most part, it is just who they are! Their genes specifically predispose them to want to love humans, which includes wanting to be held. Raising them right, socializing them as puppies, and treating them well throughout their lives all but guarantees an affectionate Goldendoodle.

If they do not want to be held, don’t be too distraught. Consider their unique circumstances, think through what they might need, or whether there is a problem at all. Always seek professional advice if you need it, but otherwise, be good to your pet, take care of them, and it will all be okay whether they like to be held or not!

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