How to Get Your Dog to Let You Pick Him Up? Tips

If you have ever tried to pick up your dog and encountered resistance or reluctance, you are not alone. Many dogs are wary of being lifted off the ground, as it can be a vulnerable and uncomfortable experience for them. 

However, with patience, positive reinforcement, and understanding, you can help your furry friend become more comfortable with the idea of being picked up. 

In this article, we will explore practical tips and techniques to build trust and confidence in your dog, making the process of picking them up a stress-free and pleasant experience.

Understand Your Dog’s Body Language

Before attempting to pick up your dog, it’s crucial to understand their body language. Dogs communicate primarily through non-verbal cues, and being aware of their signals will help you gauge their comfort level. 

Signs of anxiety or fear include a tucked tail, cowering, lip licking, or panting excessively. If your dog is displaying any of these signs, it may not be the right time to attempt picking them up. Instead, give them space and work on building trust gradually.

Gradual Exposure to Touch

If your dog is uncomfortable with being touched, start by offering gentle and positive touches in non-threatening areas, such as the back or the sides. 

Use treats and praise to reinforce positive associations with touch. Slowly progress to areas like the paws and belly, making sure to read your dog’s reactions throughout the process. Never force physical contact, as this can lead to fear and aggression.

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Work on Basic Obedience Training

Training your dog in basic commands such as “sit” and “stay” can be incredibly helpful in gaining their cooperation when you want to pick them up. 

These commands not only establish your position as the leader but also provide a sense of security for your dog. Consistent training will create a bond of trust and respect between you and your furry companion.

Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Make sure your dog has a designated space where they feel safe and secure. This could be a crate, a bed, or a cozy corner in the house. 

A comfortable environment will reduce stress and make your dog more receptive to human interaction. Provide toys and treats in this area to reinforce the idea that it is a positive and enjoyable place to be.

Positive Reinforcement and Treats

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training. Whenever your dog allows you to pick them up or approaches you willingly, shower them with praise and treats. 

Use verbal cues like “good boy/girl” to reinforce their positive behavior. Over time, your dog will associate being picked up with rewards and affection, making the process much smoother.

Avoid Sudden Movements and Loud Noises

Dogs can be sensitive to sudden movements and loud noises, which can startle and stress them out. When attempting to pick up your dog, do so slowly and gently. 

Avoid any sudden jerks or movements that might frighten them. Similarly, keep the environment calm and peaceful, especially during the early stages of training.

Assess Your Dog’s Health

If your dog suddenly becomes resistant to being picked up when they were previously comfortable with it, there might be an underlying health issue causing them discomfort. 

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Check for any signs of pain or discomfort and consult your veterinarian if you suspect any health problems.

Be Mindful of Size and Breed

It’s essential to recognize that not all dogs will be comfortable with being picked up, particularly larger breeds. Some dogs might have physical limitations or past negative experiences that make them uneasy about being lifted. 

Respect your dog’s individuality and consider other ways to show affection and care, such as belly rubs or gentle massages.


Gaining your dog’s trust and comfort when picking them up requires time, patience, and understanding. By paying attention to their body language, providing positive reinforcement, and creating a safe environment, you can build a strong bond with your canine companion. 

Remember that every dog is unique, and some may take longer to adjust to the idea of being lifted. Be gentle, consistent, and always prioritize your dog’s well-being. 

With love and dedication, you can make the process of picking up your furry friend an enjoyable and stress-free experience for both of you.