It’s time for your dog’s usual snuggles when suddenly…
They run faster than you could say, “Fido”.
Is your dog suddenly avoiding you?
Do they act like they can’t hear you? Or can’t see you?
No need to feel upset.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- Why your dog is suddenly avoiding you.
- Why dogs have sudden behavioral changes.
- 5 tips on how to get your dog’s attention back.
- How you can prevent this from happening again.
- And many more…
Why is my dog avoiding me all of a sudden?
Your dog may suddenly avoid you because of illness, depression, past trauma, or aging issues. It could also be due to punishment, lack of training, a new environment, being intimidated, or being too spoiled.
11 reasons why your dog is avoiding you all of a sudden
#1: Your dog is sick
I know it may feel disheartening to see your dog avoiding you.
But they may not be acting like their usual self because…
They don’t feel well.
Dogs are known to hide any pain that they’re feeling. They prefer not to let you know that they’re sick.
For them, this is a sign of weakness. It is part of their instinct to hide their pain away.
When you try to touch them, they may suddenly stay away from you.
This is why it’s important for you as a pet parent to recognize any sign of illness. Be on the lookout for the following:
Changes in behavior such as:
- Poor appetite.
- Excessive licking.
- Keeping away from your touch.
Or physical symptoms such as:
- Arching back.
- Refusing to walk.
- Twitching muscles.
- Shaking or trembling.
“But how can I help my fur baby?”
I know how worrying it can be to think that your dog is in pain.
So if you think your pooch is sick, the first thing you could do is to not panic.
As soon as they show any sign of pain, set an appointment with a vet. Your vet will be able to properly pinpoint the problem.
Remember that your furry friend will depend on you to be their voice. Especially when they need help.
Now if you’re calling your dog and they can’t seem to hear you…
Don’t be quick to judge them as being stubborn.
One reason they’re doing this is that they could be suffering from a…
“Oh no, what’s that?”
Mayoclinic explains what a ruptured eardrum is. Namely, a hole or tear in the thin tissue that separates the ear canal from the middle ear.
And it’s possible for dogs to experience this too.
If your pooch has a ruptured eardrum, it may lead to pain and loss of hearing.
You will also notice discharge in their ears. It may be white, a bit bloody, or yellow in color. This may also cause neurological problems.
“How can I avoid this from happening?”
To make sure your dog doesn’t experience a ruptured eardrum, avoid these potential causes:
- Ear trauma.
- Foreign objects.
- Very loud noises.
- Exposure to toxins.
- Middle ear infections.
- Sudden changes in atmospheric pressure.
Important: According to PetMD, it is not advisable to treat your dog’s ear infection on your own. Any problem with the dog’s eardrum is a serious health issue and requires immediate vet attention.
Check out also: Why Is My Dog So Calm (All Of A Sudden)? 11 Weird Reasons
#2: You punished them
Have you recently punished your dog? This may be the reason why they’re avoiding you.
There are times when your pooch misbehaves. And it can be frustrating.
You can go home one day and find them destroying your brand new sofa. Or going through your trash and making a mess.
And out of anger, you gave them a harsh punishment.
“But I only did it once.”
Whether or not you did it once, it is not advisable to punish your pooch.
Interesting fact: Did you know that dogs don’t feel complex emotions such as guilt? One study found that when you scold your dog, the “guilty” look is just their attempt to change your response rather than feeling remorse.
So now that you try to stay close to them, they quickly run away. Scared that you may punish them again.
“What can I do to stop this?”
The best you can do is avoid punishing your pup. Because it can cause more problems than good.
According to an expert, punishment in dogs often fails to solve behavior problems.
Plus, it appears as unpredictable human behavior to dogs. And they could become fearful around the person who punished them.
So the next time you think of punishing your pooch, think about how it may also affect them.
The following are other reasons why you should avoid punishment:
- Suppressed behavior.
- Mistrust and cofusion.
- Reinforcing bad behavior.
- Increase in fearful behavior.
- Interrupted learning process.
- Increase in aggressive behavior.
Remember that it’s better to have a positive relationship with your dog rather than have them listen to you out of fear.
#3: Your dog has a record of traumatic experience
Sometimes, dogs suddenly avoid you because they’ve been through a traumatic event.
And you did something that made them remember that bad experience.
Dogs have an associative memory which means they remember events based on association.
For example, if you always get their leash before taking them for a walk. Then your dog will associate the leash with something positive. In this case, it’s time for a walk.
Unfortunately, they can also associate things with negative experiences. And some may even lead to trauma.
An example is the story of a family dog who had been shot by a cop. The dog survived but developed PTSD.
Every time the dog hears the siren of a police car, he would associate it with the incident.
This shows that just like humans, dogs can also experience PTSD.
According to PetMD, it’s possible for a dog with a traumatic past to be traumatized again if they encounter major stressors.
So make sure not to do anything that will remind them of a previous distressing experience.
“How can I know if my dog has PTSD?”
It’s not always easy to notice symptoms of trauma in dogs. The signs may look the same as the ones of dogs with anxiety.
But it would still be helpful to watch out for these signs:
- Tucked tail.
- Dilated pupils.
- Lowered body.
- Rapid breathing.
- Pinned back ears.
- Sudden aggression.
“But how is it possible for dogs to develop PTSD?”
Dogs can develop PTSD due to the following causes:
- Military combat.
- Natural disasters.
- Serious accident.
- Being abandoned.
- Loss of a caretaker.
- Physical or emotional abuse.
- Bad interaction with other animals.
Note: If you think your dog has PTSD, check with your vet for professional advice.
#4: Your dog is in their oldies
How long have you been with your dog?
If your answer is a long time. Then you’re probably living with a senior dog.
And chances are they are avoiding you because they’re tired.
When dogs get old, there will be changes in their behavior.
They will be less energetic and will be prone to illness. Their hearing and sight won’t be as good as they used to be.
So it’s possible for senior dogs to avoid you because they prefer to rest.
It’s important to know that taking care of senior dogs is different from taking care of younger dogs.
They may require additional attention. Here are a few tips you can do to provide the best possible care for your senior dog:
- Regular grooming.
- Maintaining oral health.
- Giving regular exercise.
- Sticking to a healthy diet.
- Going on regular checkups.
- Spending more time together.
- Providing orthopedic or heated pads.
Further reading: Why Does My Dog Sleep In Another Room? 13 Surprising Reasons
#5: Your dog is depressed
One worrying reason is that your pup is depressed.
They may be avoiding you because they feel down and prefer hiding under your bed.
Maybe something happened that made them feel this way.
Has your dog recently lost a companion? Or did you recently welcome a new member to the household?
If your answer to these questions is yes then your pooch may be depressed.
The common cause of depression in dogs is a major change in their life.
On a positive note, an expert said that it’s rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression.
And most dogs overcome this on their own. However, it’s still better to help them get through it together.
The following are steps you can do to help your fur baby:
- Be extra patient.
- Keep them active.
- Offer more attention.
- Go on trips to the dog park.
Sometimes, the best you can do for your depressed dog is to give them an extra little love.
And don’t worry, your dog’s heart will heal in time. Especially with you there by their side!
#6: Your dog is not trained properly
Training is an important part of taking care of your fur baby. They enjoy learning and being rewarded for their efforts.
This also teaches them to be obedient. So if you’re not training your dog enough, it’s possible for them to disobey you.
This includes ignoring you when you call them to come. Or refusing to follow your commands.
If you don’t train your pooch, they won’t be bothered listening to you.
And letting this happen for a long time will teach them to completely ignore you.
Training them properly early on will help avoid unwanted behaviors.
“So, how should I train my dog?”
If you haven’t trained your pup yet, start with basic obedience training. Here are steps you could follow:
- Make sure to get expert vet and behaviorist advice before starting.
- Buy the right equipment your dog will need for training.
- Start with the five basic commands such as “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come”, “Down”, and “Heel”.
- When giving a command, look your dog in the eye.
- Stay consistent in training your dog. Make it part of their daily routine.
- Use positive reinforcement (such as praises and dog treats).
#7: You don’t give your dog enough bonding time
Were you busy all week and forgot to spend enough time with your dog?
If yes, this might be the reason they’re suddenly avoiding you.
Imagine, going home one day and you don’t see them around greeting you.
Heartbreaking, right? But don’t worry, this is fixable.
It’s important to know that not bonding with your dog could make them distant from you.
If you don’t give them enough attention, they will not feel a close bond with you.
To check if you have a weak bond with your pooch, look out for these signs:
- Poor eye contact.
- Outright aggression.
- Lack of desire to play.
- Emotional indifference.
- Regular attempts to run away.
- Failure to respond to commands.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to give your dog some extra bonding time!
The following are simple tips to bond with your dog:
- Daily walks.
- Regular grooming.
- Giving treats for good behavior.
- Feeding meals at consistent times.
- Playing games and other activities.
Remember: If you want your dog’s attention, make sure you give them enough attention too.
#8: Your dog is overwhelmed by a new environment
If you’ve recently moved to a new house. Or had any sudden big life changes.
Then your pup might be having a hard time adjusting to this new environment.
Some dogs are not quick to accept life changes. Especially when it comes to their homes or routines.
When they feel overwhelmed, they may resort to avoiding you.
So how can you help your dog adjust? Here are a few tips:
- Be understanding.
- Keep visitors to a minimum.
- Keep regular routine schedules.
- Try to keep familiar furniture or items.
- Set up a comfortable space for your dog.
Also, make sure not to force your pooch! Let them take their time to get comfortable around the new environment.
You might also want to know: Why does my dog sit/stay in another room?
#9: Your dog is intimidated by you
Do you force your dog to do things they don’t like? Or did you yell at them too loudly?
Doing these things will surely make your dog avoid you.
Let’s say you’re with a friend. And this friend forced you to go to a dark alley by yourself.
The same friend shouted at you for not doing what he wants. How would you feel?
The next time you see him, what would you do? You’d avoid him, right?
This is exactly what dogs would do if you shout or force them to do things they don’t like.
Forcing them will not only make them avoid you but would also make them scared of you.
A study also found that shouting at your dog has a negative impact on their mental health.
Aside from that, other reasons why you should never shout at your pooch include:
- Not being effective.
- Being confusing for the dog.
- Causing training problems.
- Encouraging bad behavior.
Forcing and shouting can make your dog feel intimidated. This is why they may back away when they feel your presence.
“How can I regain my dog’s trust back?”
Here are a few tips you can do to rebuild your dog’s trust:
- Offer them treats.
- Give them space.
- Avoid loud noises.
- Let them touch you.
- Try feeding them by your hand.
#10: Your face looks different
Did you change your looks lately? Or did you went home wearing a new hat?
A study found that a person’s face plays an important role for dogs to recognize us.
And if you happen to change something in your facial appearance lately, whether it’s a mask, glasses, or a beard…
It could make your dog confused. And make them wonder…
“Who is this person? And where did they hide my hooman?”
Let me enlighten you with this story…
A pet parent decided to grow a beard.
In the months that followed, he noticed that his dog leaves the room whenever he enters.
His dog also avoided greeting him when he comes home.
After that, the pet parent decided to shave his beard. And his dog was back to his usual self.
This story shows that beards can be unsettling to dogs. Which is the reason why they may be avoiding you.
The same study mentioned above found that beards can easily confuse dogs. That’s because a beard gives canines a hard time distinguishing where the person’s eyes are.
But don’t worry, just let your dog get used to your new look. Once they do, they’ll stop running away from you.
#11: You spoil your dog too much
Admit it, you’re guilty of this. We’ve all been there.
Sometimes we love our dogs too much that we end up spoiling them.
I mean, how can you not pamper these lovable creatures? There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, too much of a good thing can quickly lead to bad things.
Spoiling them too much may also encourage bad behavior.
This includes not listening to you. And that’s something you wouldn’t want to happen.
You need to be aware of the things you do that could be spoiling them. Check if you’re doing any of the following:
- Ignoring bad behavior.
- Giving too many treats.
- Sleeping on the same bed.
- Feeding them home-cooked meals.
- Carrying them quickly when they’re tired.
It’s important to understand the difference between treating your dog nicely and spoiling them.
If you give your pooch everything that they want they may end up not understanding the concept of boundaries. And this may lead to serious bad behaviors.
To know if you’ve spoiled your dog too much, watch out for these signs:
- Separation anxiety.
- Overweight or obese.
- Being overprotective.
- Constantly misbehaves.
If you want to make sure that your pooch is well-treated without becoming spoiled. Here are a few things you can do:
- Start their training as early as possible.
- Socialize your dog with dogs and people.
- Don’t feed them too much.
- Don’t give them human food.
- Give them proper praise and treats.
- Stay consistent.
What to do when your dog is avoiding you all of a sudden? 5 tips
#1: Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a clear and concise way to communicate with your dog.
To get started with positive reinforcement, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Trust is important.
- Don’t force your dog.
- Your dog is your teammate.
- Create a healthy environment.
- Make sure your pup is enjoying it.
Dogs like to please their pet parents. When you give them rewards for doing things correctly, it also encourages them to repeat those behaviors.
Through positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog not to avoid you.
Going through training is also a way for dogs to bond with their humans. This way, you’re not only training them on proper behavior but also building your bond.
#2: Don’t encourage the behavior
As mentioned, it’s possible your dog might be ignoring you because the behavior is being encouraged.
What you can do is try ignoring them. Sometimes ignoring unusual behavior is the best way to get it to stop.
“Wait, why would I ignore my beloved pooch?”
The first thing you need to understand is your dog will do things that are rewarding to them.
So simply do this: Ignore when they avoid you. Otherwise, praise them or give them treats when they come close to you.
#3: Avoid punishment
I’ve also mentioned that sometimes, your own behavior or actions may cause your dog to avoid you.
Punishing your dog is a big no-no. Not only can it harm the dog, but it can also break their trust.
If you use physical punishment, they will associate a hand or a person getting near them as a threat.
Forms of physical punishment that you should NEVER do to your pooch include:
The good thing nowadays is disciplining dogs physically is no longer acceptable. Plus, it may also be punishable by law.
Punishing your dog with any of these methods will teach your canine that you’re a source of pain.
#4: Be aware of your dog’s emotion
Dogs can’t tell you how they feel. They express their emotions through their body language.
So it’s up to you to learn their language. Knowing when your dog is in fear, in pain, or in distress will help you understand why they act a certain way.
Also being aware if your dog is depressed, stressed, or anxious will help you rule out the reason why they’re avoiding you.
It could also let you know which proper steps to take in order to help your pup.
#5: Take them for regular checkups
One of the most important things is to ensure your dog’s health and well-being.
By keeping up with their regular check-ups, you make sure that you’re aware of any medical issue they may be experiencing.
It’s also always a good idea to let a vet examine your pooch first before attempting to solve a behavior by yourself.
Doing this will also avoid any sudden behavioral changes including avoiding you.