If you are an owner of a dog, and you have many years of experience, you are accustomed to various unusual dog behaviors. He used to bark loudly for no particular reason, showed aggression, or in no way wanted to separate from you.
In some situations, his stubbornness drove you crazy. But, all those stages are over and your naughty puppy has now grown into a well-trained and socialized adult dog. However, it seems that the troubles are not over yet.
You’ve suddenly noticed that your dog doesn’t hang around you as always, doesn’t follow you wherever you go, and shows no particular interest in hanging out with you.
Although you may have wished a million times that your puppy was not constantly between your legs, and that he was more independent, you are now very confused. What is happening? Why do dogs want to be alone?
As with any dog behavior, there are some explanations for this behavioral change. Of course, each dog is an individual, and the owner will best recognize the change in his dog.
But, today we have put together some of the most common reasons why your dog would like to spend time alone, and we hope that our list will help you understand where this unusual behavior in your doggy suddenly came from.
Why Do Dogs Want To Be Alone?
If only our dogs could talk and share their thoughts with us! Although most dog owners talk to their dogs and act as if they fully understand them, the reality is different.
Unfortunately, we cannot have such communication with our dogs, but by following their behavior, we can conclude what condition they are in.
In the end, it is the dog owner who knows his pet best, and will often be the only person who notices a certain change in his behavior.
Therefore, if your dog wants to be alone at once, this does not happen for no reason. A certain circumstance caused this condition, so read some of the explanations and causes of this behavior that we bring to you today.
1. The Dog Is In Pain
Pain might be the reason why dogs want to be alone.
If your dog is suddenly isolated, and does not spend time near you, your dog may be in some pain. Maybe he got hurt playing, maybe one of his family members accidentally hurt him, or maybe it’s a more serious health issue.
When a dog is in pain, you may notice symptoms such as lethargy, inactivity, or slowness. Also, it is possible that the dog will refuse food, and will spend most of the time lying on the floor without any energy for his usual activities.
If your dog is otherwise very energetic and always in the mood for action, his isolation, combined with some of the symptoms we have listed, can be a significant sign of alarm.
If you do not intend to take him to the vet immediately, make a phone call to the vet and explain the main symptoms you have noticed in your dog.
Your vet will advise you as to whether it is best to bring your puppy in for an examination to determine exactly what it is.
2. The Dog Is Bored
If you have noticed that your dog wants to be alone, it does not always mean that it is something serious. In some cases, dogs are simply bored.
Maybe you used to have significantly more time for your pet, and now your schedule has become overbooked, and you have a lot of things on your mind.
Your dog feels neglected and lacks imaginative activities. Most dogs love to be the center of attention, and are used to their human family giving them a lot of time, many cuddles, and new, exciting activities.
What you are currently focusing on is not interesting to your dog. If you ask him, he would love to go for a run, a hike, or a swim with you! A long stay in the same place without any news can make a dog very bored.
In addition to wanting to be alone, if the dog is bored, he might also show aggressive and destructive behavior.
Therefore, it is a good idea to get some new toys or take your dog to a new place where he will be able to spend all his energy.
3. The Dog Is Feeling Tired
It feels like just yesterday when you were leaving your puppy home alone for the first time, and it is hard to tell who was more stressed: you or your pooch.
You had to deal with separation anxiety in your dog for a long time, but finally, the two of you managed to overcome this.
However, it seems that the process of dog training and understanding all of his behavioral changes is never completely done.
After a quiet period, you are now facing a new problem: your dog that did not want to leave your side now wants just the opposite: to be alone and away from everyone!
Before you worry – there may be one simple cause, and that is that your dog is tired.
He may have recently increased his daily activity, or he may simply not tolerate the amount of activity in the same way as before.
If the dog has found a safe place in the house, such as the space in front of the entrance door, in the pantry, under your bed, etc., let him rest.
Just like humans, dogs need their time to rest. You don’t like to be disturbed while resting and enjoying the peace either, do you?
4. The Dog Needs To Poop
Potty time is a time when every dog wants privacy. You’ve probably noticed that a dog looks different when he has to poop – his gaze changes, and his body looks tense. Some dogs will want to be alone to simply poop.
This is no alarm signal, but it is a moment when your puppy feels vulnerable and needs his space. They may even find a place in the yard where they will always defecate.
Cleaning your dog’s poop was definitely not your favorite task when he was a little puppy. It used to be everywhere – inside your living room, bedroom, or in the hallway.
Now, your adult dog knows where to do it, and you no longer have to bother explaining which is the right place to defecate.
Therefore, don’t worry if your dog wants to be away from everyone while pooping, but enjoy having a stand-alone dog that has learned to separate the place where he sleeps and eats from the place where he poops!
5. The Dog Is Feeling Depressed Or Anxious
Just like humans, dogs can become anxious and depressed. One of the indicators that your dog is depressed or anxious is his effort to be alone for as long as possible, without human contact.
This can be a shock to most dog owners, especially those people whose dogs are extremely attached to them, and who are used to their dogs being around them all the time.
Separation anxiety is something that almost every dog goes through in their life. You and your family members each have their responsibilities, and spend at least a few hours away from home every day.
For the first few days, your dog probably barked and howled as he watched you leave, and when you came back, he was very happy and excited, and would lick you for a long time as if telling you how much he missed you.
But, now it seems like all he wants is to be alone, and he doesn’t need you at home at all.
Quite the opposite – your dog’s anxiety due to separation is still present, but now he is telling you this by going to a separate room and moving away from all of you!
A dog can be depressed if someone he loves very much has recently disappeared from his life or if some constant in his life has suddenly gone.
You see, dogs are extremely sensitive and emotional animals that understand much more than we are aware of.
Unfortunately, they can’t explain it to us in human words, so we often have to improvise in our effort to figure out what our canine best friends are trying to tell us.
If your dog has a serious problem with depression or anxiety, you should think about working with a professional dog trainer who can help your dog overcome this problem.
6. The Dog Is Getting Old
If you are asking yourself: Why does my dog want to be alone?, one important thing to have in mind is your dog’s age. Older dogs might be ever more affectionate to you, but also might show the desire to just spend time alone.
We would all love for our dogs to continue to live with us for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the lifespan of dogs is significantly shorter than that of humans.
This also depends on the dog breed, so it can generally be said that smaller breeds live longer than larger ones.
Therefore, if you have a Chihuahua, it will probably stay with you for a longer time compared to, for example, a German Shepherd. But, even this does not always have to be the case; sometimes other factors, such as health problems, affect a dog’s lifespan.
Every dog is going to grow old, and that’s a fact we can’t change. You will notice clear indications that your dog is aging.
An old dog will have a lack of energy and appetite, a decrease in its desire for activities he once adored, as well as more frequent isolation and a desire to be alone for as long as possible.
This will be difficult for any dog owner, but you just have to know how to deal with this phase of life and take care of the well-being of your favorite pet.
You can’t change the fact that your dog is old, but you can make sure that he is as comfortable as possible, and that he goes to veterinary checkups regularly.
7. The Dog Is Scared
We all know how easily dogs can get scared. Even those that look intimidating and dangerous often show various fears. Just remember how many times your dog has been scared of something inside your house!
Maybe they were scared of thunder, fireworks, or just a loud vacuum cleaner or hair dryer. Dogs have strong senses, and many times, they hear and feel things that we do not experience at all.
Maybe your dog is afraid of one of your guests and just wants to be away from everyone.
It would be good if you could identify the main source of your dog’s fear, and try to help him overcome this fear. Maybe it’s something harmless and your dog’s fear is completely justified – he just needs your help and support!
8. The Dog’s Routine Has Been Changed
Dogs are creatures that are accustomed to certain routines. You’ve probably noticed that your dog has his time when he’s playing, a time when he’s napping, and a time when he calls you to go for a walk.
Furthermore, you always give him his meals at the same time; therefore, your dog has his usual routine. One of the reasons that could affect the fact that your dog wants to spend time alone is a certain change in his daily routine.
Maybe you recently changed jobs or moved, or a new person came to your home. Dogs are hypersensitive animals, and any change significantly affects their rhythm.
It doesn’t have to be a change for the worse at all: the dog simply feels that his safety is now compromised, and doesn’t feel well because something around him has changed.
You could try using positive reinforcement and rewarding your dog to show him that the little change meant nothing, and that he can continue feeling safe and protected in your home.
This condition probably won’t be long-term, and with your help and support, your puppy shouldn’t want to spend time alone for longer periods of time.
9. The Dog Just Needs His Time Off
There is nothing that your dog prefers more than playing with you or going for a walk with you. However, if your otherwise very socialized dog now wants to spend time alone, it may be that he simply needs solitude.
What could your dog do alone? Maybe he just wants to take a brief nap or chew on a toy.
It doesn’t matter at all what he does exactly, but that he needs some time to spend alone. In this way, your dog is rehabilitated from stress, and he learns how to enjoy solitude.
This does not mean that the time spent with you is still not his favorite pleasure!
How Much Alone Time Should A Dog Have?
If you have recently acquired a new dog, starting to establish your shared routine has probably not been easy.
Socialization and training are very important at this early stage of a dog’s development, and your puppy may not be cooperating the best with you.
Even when he has learned the basic rules of behavior, the dog finds it hard to bear when he is separated from you and other family members.
Simply put – dogs are pack animals that are accustomed to someone always being near them and not having to cope best on their own.
But, there is another side to the coin. The dog now wants to spend time alone. Since we know that dogs are such social creatures, how much time should a dog spend alone? Is there any daily dose we should stick to?
If you have found the reason as to why your dog wants to spend time alone, and although this is a cause that is not too worrying, again, you need to be careful that your dog does not spend too much time alone.
There is no exact guidance from a dog behaviorist or a veterinarian that determines how much time a dog should spend alone, but it can generally be said that an adult dog should not be alone for more than four hours.
If a dog spends more than four hours alone every day, this may result in aggression or destructive behavior.
We know that most adults can’t afford to get out of work just to go check on their dog or take him for a walk, but there’s always a way to make ends meet.
We have so many options available today, like dog sitters and dog kennels that you can turn to for help.
In this way, your dog will have his time alone, but also, he will have contact with other humans from time to time when you are not close to him.
What Are The Benefits Of Dogs Being Alone?
Although dogs are social animals, occasional alone time has some benefits.
Your little and dependent dog has now become independent and doesn’t seem to need you at all times every day! Look at this from a positive side. The dog also needs to recharge his batteries just like you.
How much time he will need for that depends on the dog. Some will enjoy solitude for a few minutes, and will then be ready to continue spending time with you, while some will need several hours.
The positive side of this is that your relationship with your dog will probably be better if you spend some time apart. Thanks to this, you will want to spend your time together as much as possible.
There are many ways to brighten up your usual socializing: take your dog to a new place, to a spacious park he hasn’t been to, or treat him with a toy he’ll just go crazy over!
Thus, the time a dog spends with himself and with his thoughts does not have to be negative at all – it can have significant benefits.
Just pay attention to how much time a day your dog actually spends alone, and whether your intervention is needed to make your dog the healthy and upbeat dog that you are used to.
Hopefully, the list of reasons that we explained in this article has helped you find your answer to the question, Why do dogs want to be alone?
Known as being a social animal, a dog all of the sudden wanting to spend time alone might be a fear alert for a dog owner.
However, sometimes the reason is completely harmless, like when your dog just needs to poop or is feeling bored.
Also, older dogs would want to spend more time alone just simply because they are not feeling as good as they used to, and they have more desire to be by themselves rather than to be surrounded by a crowd of people.
Alone time can have many benefits for your dog, for you, and for your relationship, so a dog wanting to be alone can sometimes even be desirable.
On the other hand, a dog seeking solitude might imply that he is not feeling well, and maybe there is some health issue he is struggling with.
Pet health is something you should take regular care of, so if you think your dog isolating is his way of telling you that something is wrong, do not doubt your intuition and consult a vet right away!
Even if everything is okay, you will be safer if you are able to rule out any medical issue concerning your beloved pet.