Why Your Dog Backs Away When You Try to Pick Him Up

Scared Dog

Does your dog like to run or back away whenever you try to pick him up? There could be a number of reasons for this behavior, some of which could be health-related.

Your Dog is in Pain

One of the first things to check, especially if this behavior is a recent development, is whether your dog has some sort of health issue. Your dog might be backing away because he feels a lot of discomfort or pain whenever you pick him up. There could be an internal injury, for example, that’s causing this. If there is anything else that’s concerning about your dog’s recent behavior then it’s best to get some advice from the veterinarian.

The above is even more applicable to older dogs that are prone to developing joint problems like arthritis. To minimize further issues down the road, it’s important that you learn the right techniques for picking up a dog. Small dogs, for example, can be lifted up by placing your dominant arm underneath the dog’s chest.

Your Dog is Fearful

Dogs may also back away when you try to pick them up because they have associated this event with something fearful. For example, some dogs just don’t like being picked up and it will scare them even more if you have strangers or people that your dog doesn’t fully trust yet try to pick him up.

The first step is to minimize or stop strangers from giving your dog a pat on the head. The stranger might not be picking him up but the initial movements of approaching the dog is still the same and this could trigger a fearful response from the dog. According to American Kennel Club, you can try teaching your dog to face you to stop people from petting his head without your permission.

Your Dog is Anxious

In addition to being fearful, dogs may also back away because they have associated this event with something they don’t like. For example, you might have only picked your dog up when it’s bath time or when it’s time to visit the vet. The dog has picked up on this and knows nothing will come good out of being picked up.

In this kind of situation, you may need to condition your dog so that he knows being picked up isn’t always a negative thing. An example of this could be giving the dog a treat as you make progress on getting closer and closer to the dog without him backing away.

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian when in doubt.