Dogs are supposed to be our best friends, but do you have a dog who doesn’t like you? This breakdown in the relationship between dog and owner can be stressful for all. How do you know if your dog doesn’t like you? Your dog’s body language is a clear indicator of how your dog is feeling about you in the moment.
5 signs your dog doesn’t like you
1. Stiff body language. Dogs use their bodies to communicate with each other and people. One of the first signs that your dog doesn’t like you or is uncomfortable being near you is stiff or uncomfortable body language. This includes whale eyes — the whites of their eyes are visible — when you approach, tucked-in tails or cowering and moving away from you.
2. Avoids contact with you. If your dog avoids spending time near you, including playtime, your dog might not like you. Note: Dogs do have personal preferences for how they show attention and not all dogs are cuddly. That doesn’t mean they don’t like their people; they might just prefer to play or do something more active than lounging around.
3. Reluctant or refuses to take treats from your hands. If your dog is uncomfortable taking food or treats from your hand, that’s a clear sign that your dog isn’t comfortable being near you.
4. Growling, snapping or biting you. This is the clearest way your dog can communicate that he doesn’t like you, or he doesn’t like the specific ways that you are interacting with him at that moment.
5. Showing stress signs. Stress signs include yawning (when not tired) and lip licking and panting (when they aren’t hot). Your dog may be telling you he’s nervous or uncomfortable being near you or with how you are interacting with him.
Why does my dog not like me?
There are a variety of reasons your dog might not like you or not like the way you are interacting with him. These include:
- You aren’t meeting your dog’s needs
- Someone mistreated your dog in the past, which can result in dogs struggling to form relationships and connections with people.
- Some dogs are wary of new people, so if your dog has only recently come home, it’s possible he just isn’t used to you yet.
- Dogs thrive on routine and predictable behavior. If you behave unpredictably around your dog, he may struggle to trust and connect with you.
- Dogs particularly struggle when owners don’t respect their personal space, forcing them into interactions like hugging and cuddling when they aren’t comfortable.
Improving your relationship with your dog
It’s possible to change how your dog feels about you. Just like any other relationship in your life, building a strong relationship with your dog takes work. Start by respecting your dog’s space and not forcing interactions. This will make your dog feel safe and trust that you won’t do things that harm or upset him. Prioritize spending quality time with your dog, doing things that your dog enjoys. If you think your dog doesn’t like you, don’t take it personally. Instead, recognize that this is a new opportunity for you to find other ways to connect with your dog.
If you’re struggling with your relationship with your dog, work with a dog trainer in your area who utilizes positive reinforcement and relationship-building approaches. A trainer will assess your dog’s interactions with you and help improve the ways you and your dog communicate and interact with each other. Training is an excellent way to not only increase positive communication between you and your dog but also to make your dog like you more.