So you have a young dog. You used to get along well with her, you believe you have given her enough of your time. You feed her, try to praise her for good behavior, take her for walks, and every other textbook advice you have consumed about dealing with dogs, but immediately your sister or any other member of your family shows up, your dog gravitates towards them. In fact, it seems she would rather stay with any other member of the family apart from you.
You strongly believe that this behavior started happening recently leaving you to think “Why does my dog not like me?” This leaves you feeling bad and almost embarrassed at times because in your mind, you have put in enough effort into the relationship and it seems not to be yielding the results you expect.
Why does my dog not like me anymore?
Now you need to understand a little about how dogs operate, they are quite different from us in the sense that they don’t choose their pack based on whether they are good or bad morally. What does this mean? Firstly, a dog is attracted to a pack based on the ability of the pack to make him or her feel secure and part of the system. The next thing is after fitting into a pack, they start deciding on who they should have an affinity for based on how the person or the animal deals with his or her adopted pack.
This is why you can have someone who is mean and bad still keep dogs that are loyal to them. The dog or dogs are loyal based on the fact that they fit into this person’s environment and life. They get a place to sleep and eat. They move and operate around these people in a way which they are unable to do around other people, hence they feel secure in their place.
Understanding this will go a long way in helping you to improve your relationship with your dog. Simply put, it doesn’t matter if you are a good or bad person. What matters with your dog is the way you treat them.
Now, having addressed that, you should understand that your dog not liking you is based on how you are interacting with them, either knowingly or unknowingly. Make them feel secured and comfortable around you and they will gravitate towards you. Make them feel the opposite and they would move further away from you. Now here are some things you may be doing knowingly or unknowingly that make your dog dislike you.
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1.Your body language around your dog.
What you may consider as your normal behavior may be putting off your dog. Speaking loudly around them, always making direct eye contact, acting aggressively around them, overexpressing yourself around them, etc.
Now, these actions may not even be directed at them, they may be directed to another individual or pet within the pack, this just shows the dog that you treat your pack members badly and hence should be avoided.
So when this same attitude is directed towards them, it puts them in an uncomfortable position. For example, starring or making direct eye contact with your dog for a long period is interpreted by most dogs as a challenge. Any dog expert or animal trainer would tell you that this is the wrong way to build a bond with a dog.
So, if you are in the habit of making direct eye contact with your dog, there is a big probability that your dog would not be comfortable or relaxed around you.
2.Touching your dog inappropriately.
Pulling your dog’s tail, tugging on her ear, smacking their buttocks, handling their legs carelessly, all these are not things your dog would enjoy. It’s a guarantee that if you do these things continuously to your dog, he or she would start avoiding you at all costs. Truth be told, doing any of these things is reckless and downright irresponsible, even when you believe you are doing it just for fun.
3.Being rough with your dog.
Carrying your dog without bringing the act to his or her attention, tugging furiously on the leash to redirect them, pushing them around even as a play-act, etc. All these are ways you can be rough to your dog even if these actions are not intentional.
These actions would be worsened if they are accompanied by some form of vocal rebuttal. Raising your voice on your dog and smacking them only leads to the negative reinforcement of the problem. This actually leaves your dog confused, defensive, and scared.
4.Hugging your Dog Unnecessarily.
Most dogs do not like to be hugged, funny enough many people including dog parents don’t know this. Hugging an average dog means you restrict his or her ability to move. A dog that is in a position where he or she can’t move is a defenseless dog. How often do you think you will put your dog in a position where they feel defenseless and they would continue to tolerate it? The answer is not for long.
Your dog would do anything to avoid feeling defenseless and keeping away from you because of unnecessary hugging would make you feel your dog doesn’t like you.
5.Exposing them to negative situations.
A perfect example is this. Most dogs do not like petting on the head. If you have a situation whereby every time you go for a walk people would easily pet his or her head, that is a lot of negative experience for just going on a walk with you. After some time, your dog would try to resist going on walks with you. They may even opt to do this with another member of the pack leaving you a bit confused as in your mind you feel going on these walks would be helping to build the bond between you two. Obviously, you can see how easily this can go bad from the example here.
Other possible scenarios can be exposing them to objects or sounds that unsettle them. Having them around pets or individuals that bully them, or just not looking out for them at all.
6.Playing pranks on your dog.
Some people do this all the time with their dogs, they think it is funny watching their dog search around for clues to the unknown noise or get frightened by the snake toys thrown at them. Do it once in a while, your dog might not attach much importance to it, but when things like this occur often around you and your dog. Well, your dog would definitely not appreciate it, and would not like coming to you as you seem to be the architect of whatever is happening.
Look at it this way, would you like to be around people who make you look stupid all the time? I doubt you would. People like that have no regard for feelings, you probably think they are jerks and that exactly is what your dog would be feeling towards you for continually playing pranks on them.
7.Not keeping to schedule
Most dog parents are guilty of this, some would manage to maintain feeding times and some may maintain sleeping time but miss out entirely when it comes to time for exercising, socializing, or bonding. Some dog parents don’t even take time to let the dog understand that they are the ones providing the food.
Basically, your activities with your dog are erratic, one week it seems you are the one exercising with them, the next week you are missing, out of the blue you provide food for your dog a day or two, just for that to disappear and the dog begins to imagine that her food bowl magically produces food at some time in the day.
Just like a school student that attends classes without checking the school timetable, or a client who is always late for a meeting, nobody takes them seriously, that’s the same way your dog would see you.
You are not taking them seriously so why should they be excited around you.
8.Bad past experiences
It may be that your dog has had some traumatic experience in the past and you just remind him of that experience. Maybe he or she was beaten physically in her last pack by her owner or was stepped on as a young puppy. Whatever bad experience it is that happened in the past, Being around you may be reminding the of these experiences.
There is nothing much you can do here, remember dogs have individual characteristics just like humans have theirs, what makes one dog of the same breed like you might be the same thing that makes another dog of the same breed dislike you. There is no hard and fast rule here.
It’s best to contact an animal behaviorist to assist you in understanding our dog and dealing the past experience.
Signs your dog doesn’t like you.
i.) Your dog is nervous around you.
If you come around your dog and he starts to pace around, smack his lips, and yawn unnecessary amongst other things, it is likely that your dog is nervous around you. This is an indication that your dog in addition to not liking you is also afraid of you.
ii.) Your dog leaves any space you are around.
A dog who leaves a room or an environment in which you come into and settle doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. This usually occurs when a dog does not like you or is not interested in you. Either way, your dog would prefer to avoid having any conflict with you instead of engaging in any type of confrontation, hence leaving the space for you would be the best choice.
iii.)Your dog avoids eye contact with you.
As we mentioned earlier, maintaining eye contact with your dog for a long time is like issuing a challenge to fight your dog. The way our dogs use eye contact is to interpret our body movement for communication purposes. When they stare at us, it is to confirm that whatever they are about to engage in is the right thing.
So a dog that avoids making any type of eye contact with you is a dog that doesn’t want to communicate or confirm anything from you. Simply put your dog doesn’t like you and wants nothing from you.
iv.) Your dog refuses treats from you.
This is one of those extremes, a treat can be used to bribe a good percentage of dogs out there so if your dog refuses treats from you, this doesn’t only mean that they don’t like you, it means they don’t trust you at all. You will notice them rolling their eyes as if trying to imagine something else apart from you and the treat.
v.) Your dog’s fur stands and he stiffens when you try to touch them.
This is more of a reflex action. A dog that doesn’t like you will stiffen itself and hairs would be raised if you attempt to touch them. They would feel like ice. This is because they are somewhat paralyzed by the current situation (you trying to touch them) and will be anticipating that something bad is about to happen to them.
In situations like this, they would be observing you closely to make sure that you don’t pull a fast one on them.
vi.) Your dog hides away from you.
Your dog hiding away from you always means that they fear you in addition to not liking you. As we mentioned earlier, your dog would prefer to avoid a conflict instead of being in one with you so hiding away from you would be a better option for them here.
vii.)Your dog may bite you.
This only occurs in extreme situations, a dog that doesn’t like you when put in a situation where they can’t avoid you would likely bark and bite you if you approach them. This reaction would be born out of fear and protective instinct as your dog would be in survival mode.
They would snarl at you and show their teeth as some form of warning before biting you. If you notice the snarl earlier, then it is wiser to take a step back and reconsider what you were about to do with him or her.
WHAT CAN I DO TO GET MY DOG TO LIKE ME?
a.)Stop doing the things your dog doesn’t like.
First things first, stop doing the things your dog does not like, we mentioned earlier, from watching your body language around them, inappropriate touching, playing pranks, etc. All these things should be stopped immediately. There is no way you are going to have a chance of mending your relationship with your dog if you continue doing these things.
Maybe before you didn’t know, but now you know so there is no excuse for you to continue in these behaviors that will only produce negative results as far as you and your dog are involved.
b.)Give your dog some space.
Even though you have stopped doing the things your dog does not like, you can’t expect them to start flowing well with you just like that. The relationship whether knowingly or unknowingly has been damaged and your dog needs some time to heal from the psychological damage done.
You can go on with your day-to-day activity as normal, this will give your dog time to observe you and settle into the new routine being created. There will also be the peaceful co-existence which the two of you want as your dog will start feeling at ease around you with time.
c.)Get involved slowly in their day to day activities
When you observe that your dog is beginning to be at ease with you. Start involving yourself in some part of his or her daily life. It is usually advisable to do this together with someone they feel comfortable with. For example at mealtime, have the person call out to your dog to come and eat while you are present filling the food bowl.
You can also be involved in other activities like just being present when they are playing with their favorite person. Going on a walk with them and their favorite person etc.
The aim of all this is for your dog to start building a positive connection about things when you are around. Your dog will start seeing you in a new light and with time, they would be able to open up to you and start liking you.
As you can see, the major issue here is basically how you bond with your dog. Put in a little effort to understand your dog and his or her general temperament. The truth about most dog parents is that they may not be able to keep up with all aspects of their dog’s life, but the ones you can, be consistent with it, show love and respect and you will find yourself getting along extremely well with your dog.
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.