Your dog has been avoiding you lately. Why is this happening? There could be many reasons why your dog has stopped seeking out human contact, so it’s important to get the right diagnosis and treatment for them. This blog post will explore some of the possible causes that may be affecting your dog’s behavior.
The reasons why your dog ignores or avoids you can range from medical issues or illnesses to something causing them to become intimidated, depressed, in trouble, or a traumatic event.
It’s normal for any dog owner to be concerned if your dog has been avoiding you for more than a week or so. If your dog is not eating, drinking water, or using the bathroom at normal times, then it’s likely that there are some serious issues going on.
One way to figure out why your dog is avoiding you is to observe the situation. Try to remember when they started to show this behavior and what you did back then. What was the situation like when your dog started to avoid you? Did you scold your dog or even beat them? This could be enough to stop your dog from coming near you.
1. Has Your Dog had an Injury or Illness that Has Affected Their Mood?
The leading cause as to why your dog has suddenly started avoiding you lately is that they might suffer from a medical condition. If your dog has started not to eat as much, vomit, limp, and/or become more sedentary than usual at the same time that they started avoiding you, then there is a high chance the cause of their avoidance behavior may be due to an illness or injury.
And if you have an aging dog, the likelihood of them having a disease increases. They are more likely to get joint disorders or degenerative diseases.
Because of these, they are no longer active anymore. Instead of following you around the house, they may opt to stay in one spot and avoid you, and so it might seem as though they avoid you.
Other signs of a sick dog that you should be aware of include:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive panting and/or salivation.
- Increase in aggression such as biting, growling, snapping at people or other pets (this could be due to pain)
- More lethargic than usual. This would also include not being able to get up from a lying position without help.
Caring for a sick dog can take a lot of work. Here are things that you can do to help:
- Take your dog to the vet right away to get the right diagnosis.
- Your vet will give you specific recommendations on what to do and likely prescribe medication or other treatments.
- Some dogs might need to be hospitalized, while others may need some medication and supportive care at home.
- Be sure that your dog is getting enough water; they may not drink much when unwell due to the illness itself or its treatment.
- Your veterinarian will recommend whether it’s best to keep your pet warm (if too hot) or cool (if too cold). Make sure there are plenty of blankets available, and try misting them with water if they seem uncomfortable – but never use ice cubes!
- And on top of all, remember to stay calm during this time, speak in a comforting and reassuring voice.
2. Dogs can Feel Depressed Too
It is possible that your dog avoids you because they are experiencing depression or another mental issue. Although some dog owners might not believe that their dogs can experience depression, the truth is, although dogs cannot reason the way we do, they can get depressed from time to time.
There are several potential causes of depression in dogs, for example:
- A physical illness or injury
- Grief from the death of their furry friend or other dogs.
- Environmental changes such as moving homes, construction work going on Nearby, new landscaping that has changed their usual path to go outside to potty.
- Or you may have recently brought a new pet which is causing them stress and anxiety.
If your vet thinks depression is the culprit of your dog suddenly avoiding you, consider doing the following things to turn a depressed dog around:
- Exercise regularly with your dog, or engage in games and other fun activities. One of my favorite things to do is play fetch with my dog! It’s quick, but it really does make them happy again.
- Get back into light training by getting your dog to re-learn basic commands like “sit” and “come.” This will also give you some time to bond with them.
It’s natural for dog owners to want to pay attention more when their dogs are sad, but it can be detrimental if you’re constantly coddling and comforting them.
This will reinforce the behavior of being upset or depressed because they know that as soon as something is wrong or upsetting, all they have to do is cry out loud enough so someone may finally decide to comfort them with a pat on the backside.
3. Has Your Dog Ever Experienced a Traumatic Event Before?
As sensitive animals, dogs can develop fear and anxiety disorder when they are exposed to some kind of trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD). PTSD in dogs can manifest itself in a wide range of psychological and somatic forms, such as shaking, hiding, urination, and/or defecation. Among all of those manifestations, avoidance behavior is the most common occurred one.
For some reason, dogs may develop an association between their owner with fear or anxiety during traumatic events, which could be the explanation for your dog ignoring or avoiding you.
For example, if you recently have scolded or punished your dog, they could be afraid of this and started to avoid you as a result.
Treatment of emotional trauma in dogs is one of the most challenging tasks that dog owners face. Here is a couple of options that you can try to help dogs with emotional trauma:
- Systemic desensitization: It exposes your dog to whatever brings up their anxiety or fear in order to make them less triggered by it over time and even associate it with something good (like treats).
- Behavior modification training techniques: They train our dog how to react appropriately when they see triggers, like dropping low instead of jumping up and barking at people who have been around during the traumatic event.
4. They Think They Are In Trouble
As a dog owner, you probably have noticed your dog avoiding you when they are in trouble. They might not come to greet you, or they avoid eye contact with you. Your dog likely has done something bad before, and you responded negatively as a result.
Their memory of that event may make them think you are going to be mad at them. This is why they have learned to avoid being near you when they know it’s not their best behavior, which makes sense from a dog’s perspective.
When a dog looks like it feels guilty, you might see that the dog’s body language is different. Aside from avoiding direct eye contact with you, they may also dip their heads, lower their ears, and tuck their tails between the legs.
5. Could It Be That Your Dog is Feeling Neglected and Unloved?
Dogs that came from shelters or unwanted houses could be feeling abandoned and lonely. In this situation, their first instinct is to act impulsively and to engage in some type of habitual self-destructive or self-soothing behavior.
They could do a lot of things for attention, such as or chewing everything in sight. If one of these scenarios is happening with your dog, it’s likely because he feels ignored and unloved by his owner.
When owners ignore their fidos’ behavior problems instead of addressing them, the problem will often worsen over time, leading to your dog avoiding you and other people.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Avoiding You?
1. Spend More Time With Them
Dogs tend to build their own safe space when they feel isolated or sad.
It’s your job as a dog owner to lure them out of their cave and make them feel noticed. When you spend time with your dog, they will feel much better and be less likely to avoid people or other dogs when out on walks.
In order to get your pup back in the habit of spending more time around others, start by having them participate in daily routines or playtime. For example, doing a few short fun activities together each day, such as playing fetch or tug-of-war for about 15 minutes after dinner.
If that goes well, gradually increase the playtime from 30 seconds up to an hour before bedtime, so it’s second nature for them again.
2. Recondition Your Dog’s Behavior through Positive Reinforcement Training
If the cause of your dog’s sudden change in behavior is not medical issues, you can try to encourage them to behave with positive reinforcement training.
Positive reinforcement training is a method of training that is based on the idea that dogs learn better when they are rewarded for doing something right, which is the dog training method that most dog trainers highly recommend.
Unlike the fear-based dog training method, positive reinforcement training does not involve punishing the dogs when they do something wrong.
Here’s an example of how you could use positive reinforcement training to make your dog want to spend more time with you.
Begin by finding a low-key activity that your dog enjoys doing and allow them to do it for several minutes without interruption or correction. When they finish the activity, reward them (with their favorite dog treats).
Then repeat the same process but increase the length of each session over time until you reach 30 mins of uninterrupted playtime together. If at any point they stop playing, try again later in the day/week and start from where they left off – this way, they don’t forget what’s being rewarded!
In order to maintain these new habits, be sure not to interrupt their playtime, even if there is something else going on around.
3. Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried everything and your dog still won’t come near you, it’s time to get some professional help. You’ve probably already had a vet check the animal out, so this may not be necessary, but if not, then head straight for the vet office with the puppy in tow.
If you feel like your dog has been less than friendly lately, it may be time for a little more TLC. It’s important to keep in mind that dogs have different personalities, and some of them don’t always enjoy the same attention as others. Just because they want to play one minute doesn’t mean they want cuddles later on.
And if you’ve changed anything about their routine, be sure to give them plenty of adjustment time before deciding whether or not all is well at home! But even with this knowledge, there are still many reasons why your dog might be avoiding you – including illness or injury. So make sure to consult an expert veterinarian if you notice any concerning changes in behavior.
This could be because they were abused by people or other animals. It can have roots in their genetics, as some dogs are naturally skittish. Or it could be because they weren’t properly socialized as puppies and don’t know how to interact with humans.