Every dog owner, at some point in their lives, has thought the same thing: My puppy doesn’t like me!
While many of us overreact by saying this, there are some cases in which a puppy actually avoids or shows a dislike of its owner. Sometimes it’s nothing personal, just a way of dealing with new surroundings. But sometimes, it is personal, and it’s up to you to determine the root of your issues.
Every dog has an urge to bond with human beings. It’s written in their DNA, hence why we call them our best friends. One day, your puppy will be all over you, and the next… poof, he’s got his head up in the clouds, far away from you! Why can’t we all be as sweet as Labradors or Golden Retrievers? Well, that certain best friend may leave you puzzled and worried after running away from you or even fighting back.
What on earth have you done?
Were you aggressive towards your dog? Have you hit it or shown you might hurt him? We’d like to think you haven’t. Every decent human being wouldn’t ever hurt animals.
So, what’s the problem? Why doesn’t your puppy like you? We’re here to find out what the issue is and how to approach it. Before you know it, you won’t be screaming, “My puppy doesn’t like me.” You’ll be screaming, “My puppy loves me, and I love him too.”
Because let’s face it: who wouldn’t love those adorable puppy eyes and happy tails?
Does Your Puppy Really Dislike You, Or Is It In Your Head?
Puppies are loving creatures by default. They’re made to love everyone without judging their character. However, when it comes to a situation when a puppy ignores you, avoids, or hides away from you, we can’t help but wonder: Is it YOU, or is it the puppy?
A puppy that shows such behavior must have a reason or two behind it, and it’s up to you to determine what’s behind this awkward behavior.
Here are a few of the most common reasons for your puppy showing signs of disliking you:
• They’ve been abused in their previous household or were feral dogs afraid of humans in general.
• They don’t trust you anymore for punishing them for something they didn’t understand.
• They’ve been forced into doing something they don’t like for a significant period of time, e.g., sending them to their crate and making them stay there.
• They’ve established a bond with someone else in the family. Many single-person dogs like the German Shepherd do this. They become possessive and show affection to one specific family member only.
• Many new puppies are not well-socialized around humans and tend not to trust them easily.
• You haven’t established a bond with your puppy because you’re often out, especially if you work late. In some cases, puppies will attach themselves to other dogs and choose them as their “person” since they’re more around.
These reasons aren’t only signs of your dog disliking you, but they’re also signs of deeper problems. A dog needs its owner, and if you want to be its favorite person, you will have to spend more time around the house. You will need to take them to the park, play, cuddle, and show affection. Otherwise, you shouldn’t consider having a dog at all.
A puppy that has created a bond with its human is a happy puppy that shows how much it likes its owner.
How To Tell Your Puppy Doesn’t Like You
If you suspect your dog doesn’t like you, then you should pay attention to the signs it tells you. Some of them aren’t that obvious, so you might think it’s normal behavior. Unfortunately, they’re not, so you will need to find out why they’re acting like that.
If your dog tracks all your movements, it doesn’t mean he’s attached to you. It could mean he watches you because he doesn’t trust your next move. The dog feels uncomfortable around you, and you might catch them staring at you from a distance, worrying about your movement.
Not making eye contact is the most obvious sign your dog is avoiding you. If your puppy avoids your touch, moves away as you enter the room, and avoids contact with you in any situation, you can be sure he has an issue with your behavior.
The reason why dogs don’t make eye contact and move away from you is that they’re made for flight rather than fight. No dog is aggressive by default.
If you see your pooch hiding or covering its head, he’s definitely afraid of you. Give him a moment or two to adjust to your presence. Other signs of fear include crouching, pulling back its ears, tucking its tail between its legs, and trembling. These are obvious signs a dog dislikes you. But don’t rush to conclusions. Maybe your pup only hates the vacuum cleaner in your hands.
Does your dog run away every time you enter a room? Hmm, it can only mean he’s trying to create distance between the two of you. Instead of acting destructively, most dogs will just go away and find their peace elsewhere in the house.
Not accepting treats is also a sign something’s wrong in your relationship with your dog. Seriously, who doesn’t like treats? Well, it’s not that your pup doesn’t like them; it’s only he doesn’t like receiving them from you. If you see a pup showing the whites of their eyes while someone offers treats, it’s a clear sign of not trusting that person.
A dog’s fur standing up is a clear way of him telling you to back off and leave him alone. Once the dog curls its back upwards, he’s ready to pounce at something he’s afraid of. Dogs that exhibit such signs often follow it up with the first signs of aggression.
Also, nervous dogs aren’t so great either. Nervous ticks like yawning or licking their lips can be telltale signs they’re uncomfortable. Think of it like human ticks like playing with your hair or biting your nails when you’re nervous.
If your dog stiffens its body, you can definitely say he feels threatened. Such behavior is followed by staring at a person and sometimes even growling and biting.
Now, growling and biting are extreme and serious signs of a problem. Dogs won’t attack you unless they feel afraid for their lives. This is not a common sign that your dog doesn’t like you. It’s more a matter of feeling endangered and trying to fight to survive. Unless you’ve done something that might make the dog afraid of its own life or territory, you shouldn’t expect to see aggressive signs.
Reasons Why Your Puppy May Not Like You
Puppies have a reason or two for not liking you. Some of them might not seem like a big deal, but from a dog’s perspective they’re wrong.
For example, if you’re training your dog to sit or stay, and your body language shows you’re leaning forward and demonstrating force, chances are your dog will hate it. You’re giving off mixed signals, and dogs can’t deal with that.
Hugging is great. Name someone that doesn’t love to be hugged! Okay, dogs don’t. Seriously, even though we show affection by giving hugs, dogs don’t understand these signs. It’s because hugging was never a part of their lives. Their ancestors never showed love by hugging. When you put your hands on the back of your dog, he will understand you’re showing you’re dominant, so he’ll feel insecure and in danger. This may lead to your dog hating you.
Some pups do appreciate hugs, but you will need to determine first whether your pup is one of those or not. if you notice your dog avoiding eye contact, pulling his ears back, licking his lips, he’s telling you to stop with the hugging.
Dogs are curious creatures. Not as curious as cats, but you get the point. While it’s important to teach your dog obedience, it’s more important to have it explore. Your task is to encourage that exploration and make sure nothing dangerous comes its way. Think of your puppy like a toddler. They’re completely restless and want to learn about everything. This sensory stimulation of sniffing around makes the pup’s life a whole lot better.
Did you notice your dog squints as you pat its head? Please stop it. Thank you! Dogs feel endangered when something’s around their face or when the top of their head is being patted. It’s always the best choice to let the dog sniff your hand and then give him a rub around the neck, on the chest, or elsewhere before you move on to gentle head pats.
Dogs need an established routine. They need guidance through all life stages. All puppies play rough, but they still love to have a healthy routine. They must know when their meals are, when to play, and when to poop. Steer them through the daily routine, and you’ll have a calm dog that shows good signs of liking you. If you miss at least one meal and serve it later, some pups may even become depressed or develop anxiety.
A strong bond with your puppy is created through playtime. We understand that not every pet parent has the time to spend the whole day at the dog park. Still, there are other ways that will keep your dog occupied. Dog behaviorists have found a link between boredom and aggressive or destructive behavior in both puppies and adult dogs. To avoid such behavior, you should get lots of interesting toys that will stimulate your pup’s mental development. Puzzle toys that hide treats are terrific for rainy days when their energy levels are high.
The biggest reason your dog hates you might lie in the fact you’re forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to. For example, forced socialization will have a negative impact on your dog’s behavior. Let the dog decide whether he’s ready to deal with certain humans. If he’s willing to but still being shy, motivate him with positive reinforcement. In other words, hand out those treats, man!
How To Make A Scared Puppy Like You
A puppy fears or avoids you because of some bad experiences in the past. Maybe it was you, or maybe it was someone else who made the experience stressful. The important thing is not to push anything and let the dog have some space.
Puppies can become easily overwhelmed with new surroundings, people, and situations. Give them time and space to hide in a safe spot and process everything. Also, don’t try to pet or touch them if they don’t feel like it.
You should build trust with a puppy that fears you slowly. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give him a treat from time to time and slowly walk outside the room. Do this once or twice a day, and your puppy will associate you with something good. Because all puppies LOVE food!
Your interactions should be brief and infrequent. If you see the puppy growling or staring at you as you approach, you should not give him a treat. Choose a better opportunity when you see the puppy acting less anxious.
Increase the number of treats gradually. Sooner or later, your puppy will come to you first and ask for your attention. When this happens, keep your cool and celebrate later!
How To Prove A Puppy You Will Never Do Something Negative Again
Photo from: freddie.thecorgi
First, let’s define what’s negative. We’re not thinking of hitting the dog or causing harm on purpose. If you do that, you don’t deserve your puppy to forgive you.
We’re talking about actions like grooming, bathing, nail clipping, or giving meds. Pups often dislike all of them, and getting them used to something they find unpleasant can be difficult.
Other situations that include forming a negative opinion about the owner include wearing choke collars to curb bad behavior, sending to the crate, or being scolded after running away.
Some dogs will lose trust if you punish them even when using the mildest of methods. They don’t understand what they’ve done wrong. Dogs only understand they’re being punished. If the above-mentioned situations repeat frequently, your puppy may start avoiding you in general and become a depressed pooch.
The only way you can help him forget about negative behavior is to do something positive.
You can try giving treats like we described earlier or start clicker training with rewards only.
If you can, avoid stressful situations that will cause your dog to run away from you. If your pup does something well, give him lots of praise, like he found the biggest bone ever! It will boost the dog’s confidence and make him think he’s the best boy ever.
No matter which method you choose, you must remember that you shouldn’t force your puppy into doing anything. Always have a treat or a toy nearby so you can always implement positive reinforcement.
How To Win Over A Puppy That Has Bonded With Someone Else
Some dog breeds can become attached to a certain family member and completely forget completely about the other. Such dogs are German Shepherds, Shar Peis, and even Chihuahuas.
However, sometimes it’s not about the dog’s breed; it’s also about your daily habits. If you work long hours and seem to never be around, your puppy will find a new role model, someone else from the family, or even another dog.
It’s simple math: your puppy attaches itself to the person he finds interesting and spends the most time with.
Luckily, you can easily change this attachment. Just start being interesting to your dog. Easier said than done, right?
Well, it’s really not difficult at all. Just hand out treats and use the clicker dog training method to train your pup’s mind. Add lots of praise, devoted time, chew toys, interesting games, and exercise to the equation, and the final result will be a doggy attached to YOU.
How To Become The Best Dog Owner Ever
You can’t expect your new dog to like you immediately. Don’t lose all hope or start whinging. It’s natural for puppies to keep their distance in the first couple of days in a new home. They’ve encountered a new situation, met new faces, and they need to process it. Alone.
What you need to know is you’re doing nothing wrong. Just let the puppy acclimatize.
Sure, all dogs are great. They’re made to share love and take you as you are. However, they’re still living beings that have needs. They can feel too, and they often feel fear. So, why are we pushing them? Why do we insist on getting a sign of unconditional love immediately upon picking up a puppy at the animal shelter or the breeder? After all, we don’t live in fairytale land.
Getting a sign of love and affection from your puppy is a matter of days, weeks, and even months!
After bringing the new puppy home, you should show your little Fido a place he’ll feel safe. It used to be a pen with his mom and siblings. Now, it should be a comfy dog bed where the puppy can rest and find sanctuary every time he feels in danger.
Your pup’s bed should be somewhere quiet but in a place where he can see what’s going on around him. It’s usually a spot in the living room or a corner in the kitchen that’s best suited for the dog’s bed. Add his toys, maybe even a blanket he’s attached to, and you’ll create a snuggle area just for your little ball of joy.
Even though dogs serve us as protectors, they too need protection. Your German Shepherd puppy will grow up to be mighty and intimidating, but first, you need to guide him and defend him from other dogs and even nosy humans. Kids, especially, tend to overreact around puppies and bother them. Not all dogs like having their ears or tail pulled.
So, when your pooch is a bit upset and shows the first signs of restless dog behavior, comfort him, show you’re there to protect him. Not protecting a fearful dog is just a myth, a bad one, to be precise. A scared puppy needs comfort, and it’s your job to reassure him.
To comfort your puppy and become the best pet parent ever, you need to figure out what your dog loves. Maybe it’s throwing the ball or going swimming together. Or just maybe your pooch loves cuddling on the sofa together. Still, some pups may find enjoyable things that give you the creeps, e.g., chasing squirrels or digging up your flower beds.
There’s always a solution that will suit you both. You can build special playpens with sand for your puppy or buy some toys that will keep him active and stimulated.
But what happens when you do everything you can, and your puppy still says no? Well, you listen to what your dog has to tell you. Of course, dogs can’t speak, but their body language and different acts can tell you a lot.
Listen carefully to what your dog says. The way your dog wags its tail will tell whether your dog hates or likes certain things. Sometimes, a no is a hard no. But, also, what you perceive as a “no” may only be a “wait a minute.” Give your dog time and space to express himself.
If you’ve decided to get a puppy, you must be prepared to spend quality time with it. I know working late is sometimes a must, but try spending time with your puppy as much as you can. Puppies can develop separation anxiety, so try to avoid leaving them alone for too long. Separation anxiety leads to your pup giving you the cold shoulder and, eventually, turning any good behavior into aggression.
To Sum Up…
No matter if you own a purebred pooch or a rescue dog, chances are you will end up saying: My puppy doesn’t like me. That’s totally fine! You need to give your dog some space and time to adjust to you and its new home.
The important thing is not to push the puppy and let time take care of everything else.