We all go through difficulties in our relationships, but can this also happen with our furry best friends? While we never think it will happen to us, even dogs have moments where there is a shift in how they respond to their owners. When this happens, it leads to the following question:

Why doesn’t my dog like me anymore? Depending on the situation, your dog may have started to respond differently to you due to:

  • Health issues (new or old)
  • Dramatic lifestyle changes
  • A change in yours and their relationship
  • Their social personality.

National Geographic shares that newer studies have shown that dogs are more intuitive than originally thought. What this means is that your fur baby may react to something before it actually has happened yet. An example would be when you’re getting ready to leave your house, and your dog gets anxious or getting ready to not see you again. With these instincts, dogs are more sensitive to change, and they can show this through being afraid.

My Dog is Scared of Me

While not all the time, many situations of fearful dogs are related to being adopted. A large number of adopted dogs have had past experiences that have caused them to be fearful of their new masters.

Most of these anxieties have very similar signs, but by knowing the differences in your dog’s behavior, you may narrow down the list and figure out what your little buddy needs. The list below shares the common anxieties that dogs have, along with the signs and tips to help you in those moments.

Dogs also react differently to sickness than we do. When your dog is not feeling well, the below signs of fear or anxiety may be produced to hide the sickness. If your dog is sick, confirming with a vet about remedies will help him get back to normal.

Remember: If you think that your dog is behaving more abnormally than usual, you can always consult your veterinarian.

Behavior Signs Tips
Separation Anxiety – Barking or howling – General destruction of their surroundings – Pacing – Coprophagy (consuming feces) – Urination/defecation – Departure activities (ex. you can pick up your keys and give them a treat) – Play fetch or go on a walk before leaving – Trusted pet sitter – Calming essential oils – Puzzle toys or other engaging distractions
Car Anxiety – Panting – Pacing – Shaking – Howling/barking – Extra salivation/vomiting – Urination/defecation – Treats before entering the car – Slowly walk your dog around and in the car before leaving – Limit food before car rides – Comfort items (blankets, toys, kennel, music)
Noise Anxiety – Hiding/looking for owner – Chewing/panting – Pacing – Digging – Extra salivation – Attempted escape – Barking/Howling – Trembling – Flatulence – Balanced responses (don’t act like nothing is happening or be overly affectionate) – Try to do something your dog enjoys (like tug-o-war or fetch) – Put on his ThunderShirt
Fear of people and other animals – Pacing/panting – Trembling – Hiding – Extra salivation/lack of appetite – Easily distracted – Unable to settle down – No forced interaction (let them get comfortable first) – Use a leash – Reward calm and interactive behaviors – Continued positive training techniques
Hides from me – Trembling – Hiding – Tucked tail – Ears pulled back – Cowering/crouching – Spend time on the floor together – Move slowly and gently – Reward good behavior with treats – Dog trainers and behaviorists help in severe cases

What Do You Do When Your Dog Doesn’t Like You?

Cesar’s way says that dogs have allelomimetic behavior, which basically means that they tend to imitate the behavior of those around them. In many cases, you, and your family, maybe the only people that your dog sees.

So, if you (or those around your dog) display fearful behavior, your dog can pick up the habit. What then can be done when you don’t know which behaviors your dog will be picking up? Does this mean that the fear of spiders can transfer?

Not exactly. Having a history of being pack animals, dogs have a deep-rooted sense of protecting their loved ones. Just remember that bonds are built over time, and if your new pup has had a difficult past, it may take extra time for those hurts to heal.

So, when your dog is showing signs of cowering away from you or hiding when you enter the room, fear not! These behaviors can be fixed with a little bit of TLC. Patience and positive reinforcements are man’s best friend when it comes to fearful dogs.

By consistently rewarding your pup with treats when he displays appropriate behaviors, you can help him learn that you’re not as bad as he thinks.

Also, due to their pack instincts, dogs are looking for someone that can be a leader. This doesn’t mean you have to lead them on a hunt for prey, but it does mean that you show your dog that everything will be okay with your actions rather than with your words.

Your dog is also looking up at you all the time, by sitting on the floor at his level you can continue to deepen your bond and let him know that you are just as much his buddy, as he is yours.

Note: In extreme cases, you can contact a dog behaviorist specialist (or dog trainer) to help retrain your dog’s fearful nature.

How Do You Know if Your Dog Has Bonded with You?

The biggest tip-off that your dog has bonded with you would be their responsiveness towards you.

This includes:

  • Coming when you call
  • Obeying your commands

Other signs that your dog has bonded with you would be:

  • Wagging tail, or general happiness, when you come home (or in the same room as them)
  • Enjoys being around you
  • Relaxed when you’re around
  • Cuddles with you (or your stuff)
  • Will come to check on you every so often if they like to hang out in other places
  • Doesn’t refuse to make eye contact with you

Just as we use body language, dogs can also share what they’re feeling through how they act. The easiest way to tell how if your dog is happy or scared is by the position of their ears and tail. When ears are normal or up and the tail is wagging or relaxed, you have a happy dog. When ears are down or back, and the tail is tucked under, your dog may be distressed.

How to Repair Your Relationship with Your Dog

Similar to how you would repair a relationship with a friend, spending time and clear communication can help mend broken bonds with your pup. When your fur baby sees more of you, he can build trust that you will not leave him anytime soon. With clear communication, he knows your expectations.

An old quote says that the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach. This very much applies to dogs. They will notice any extra treats or special yummies that you give them, whether in their food bowl or as a reward.

Another way to repair your relationship is to spend time playing and training. Playing is a brilliant way to get to know each other in a positive and happy atmosphere. Training allows for your dog to understand what you are asking of him, which, in return, reduces frustration on both sides.

Tip: By knowing your dog’s favorite food and games, they will notice that all the things they like are being offered by you. Thus, deepening your relationship.

Remember

Again, something may have happened that led to a strained relationship with your pup whether it is due to sickness, lifestyle changes (new owner), change in your relationship (not home as much), or because they’re extremely social (enjoy being around new people).

While it may look like he started to dislike you recently, there may be other factors at play. Always watch his behavior to see when the change takes place.

With a combination of treats, dog trainers, patience, and time there are many ways to repair your bond and help your buddy to let go of his fear of you.