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How To Tell If Your Dog Dislikes You

At A Glance

Discovering whether your dog is genuinely happy around you or not is vital for nurturing a strong human-canine bond. Dogs are naturally loving and affectionate animals but can display signs of dislike in certain situations or with specific interactions. By recognizing these signs, owners can better comprehend their dog's emotions and take steps to improve the bond between them and their pets.

  • Dogs communicate through body language and certain postures and facial expressions can signal their displeasure.
  • Avoidance behavior, such as moving away when you approach or avoiding eye contact, may indicate that your dog is uncomfortable or dislikes specific interactions.

Last Updated on: Aug 11, 2023

Most dog owners will attest to their pet’s undying love and devotion. Greetings with wagging tails and showers of affectionate licks are a norm in most households with dogs. However, despite their reputation for loyalty and devotion, dogs, like other living beings, have individual personalities and emotions.

However a small minority of pet owners may have cause to question whether their four-legged friends truly adore them or if there are signs of trouble in canine-human paradise.

If you’re part of the small minority, you must understand those subtle cues that indicate your dog doesn’t reciprocate your affections. According to experts, most rescue dogs may show signs of aggression because of PTSD. Ever wondered why your dog stares at you or growls at you? Well, often, PTSD is the culprit.

That said, understanding the signs will give you valuable insights into your dog’s emotions, enabling you to strengthen your connection and ensuring a happier, healthier companionship.

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Your Dog Hides From You

Have you noticed your pet walking out of the room as soon as you enter it? Well, that may be a sign it doesn’t like you.

Dogs will do almost anything to avoid someone they do not like, including hiding under the bed or in a secluded area. They also avoid maintaining eye contact in an attempt to avoid your presence.

Physical Touch Is A No-No

signs your dog doesn’t like you  - physical touch is a no-no

Who doesn’t love cuddling with their pet? I know I love it. That said, it’s normal and healthy for your dog to shy away from your ministrations occasionally, and it’s best to allow them their space. But if you notice your dog avoiding any physical contact with you, it is either wary of you or doesn’t like you.

Overstimulation is a huge cause of anxiety among dogs, and constant physical contact can only worsen it. Pet parents must learn to observe body language and keep some distance if their dog seems skittish and runs away whenever they try to pet it.

Its Body Language Changes Around You

One of the most prominent indicators that your dog does not feel entirely at ease with you is a change in its body language. Pay close attention to your dog’s posture and demeanor when you’re around, and look out for these signs:

A Hunched or Arched Back

If your dog sits with its back arched or hunched whenever you’re close to it, it may be afraid of you. A scared or nervous dog will stay in this position at ground level to avoid you and any chances of a confrontation.

It may also refuse to move and eventually turn aggressive if not given space.

Uncontrollable Growling

An angry or nervous dog may also fold its ears at the back and show its gums, growling at you. Dogs take this attack stance when they sense danger and need to defend themselves.

Dogs have difficulty deciphering between a friend and a foe when they think they’re in danger. So, it would be best to instantly back off and let them calm down.

Tail Tales

A dog’s tail can tell a lot about its feeling. While most dogs wag their tails forcefully when they’re happy or excited to see their owners, a wagging tail does not a happy dog make. That said, if a dog isn’t wagging its tail, it does not imply it is unhappy either.

However there are some common signs that indicate your dog’s displeasure.

A dog may tuck its tail between its rear legs or hold it lower if it’s feeling nervous or submissive. Dogs usually do this to indicate they don’t want to be hurt by a dominant figure, whether another dog or a human.

On the other hand, a tail that’s tucked up tight against the abdomen indicates that your dog is terrified or feeling very submissive.

If you notice your dog standing its ground when you approach but flagging its tail (holding it stiff and high and moving it back and forth rigidly), take it as a sign that it’s threatening you, and back off.

Other Signs

Dogs may also continuously lick their paws or mouth and yawn every other minute if they are around someone they dislike or that makes them nervous. Nervousness can often turn into aggression and violent behavior if not addressed in time.

It Stares At You

signs your dog doesn’t like you  - it stares at you

Have you caught your furry friend staring at you without reason? In some cases, it could be a sign of aggression. In some cases, it also looks intensely at you in an attempt to dominate you because it sees you as a threat. But, sometimes, it’s also a coping mechanism.

There’s no way to decipher the exact reason. In any case, give your pet some time to assess you and its environment. Moreover, don’t be intimidated, as it can sense emotions.

It Ignores Your Commands

Your dog politely ignoring you during playtime is not a cause for concern. However, it could be an issue if your dog actively ignores your commands, even at home.

If your canine constantly disobeys your commands, you might want to check whether you’ve created a stressful environment for it. Dogs may also begin disobeying commands when they sense any negative emotions or are on the receiving end of anger tantrums.

Remember, ignorance is a coping mechanism. So don’t be too hard on your pet; try to make your home environment warm and welcoming.

It’s Bark City

Dogs bark when they meet strangers they are apprehensive about, to exert pent-up energy, or when they’re bored. They may also bark if you’ve done something to upset them. In fact, an agitated dog may not stop barking until it thinks it’s safe.

The old proverb, “Barking dogs seldom bite”, is not necessarily true, especially when your dog is agitated. So, take excessive barking as a warning to back off.

Treats Aren’t A Treat Anymore

This is the most hard-hitting sign of your dog not liking you. Dogs love treats and will do anything to get one. So, if your dog refuses to accept treats from you, it’s a sign that it’s uncomfortable around you or doesn’t trust you.

Why Your Dog Dislikes You?

signs your dog doesn’t like you - why your dog dislikes you

As a pet parent, you cannot take corrective measures unless you get to the root cause of your dog’s dislike towards you. Here are some reasons why your dog probably doesn’t like you:

  • It’s perhaps extremely bored
  • Lacks physical activity or insufficient space to move around
  • Aggrieved by the constant physical touch
  • Does not have a set routine
  • You remind them of someone who hurt them
  • It can sense any negative emotions
  • You have created a stressful environment for them

How Can You Rectify This?

Sometimes, you may do all the right things, and your dog may still dislike you. This particularly holds for rescue animals.

Canine enthusiast, Emily Weems chimes, “Did you adopt a rescue dog that was abused? If that is the case, he or she will probably come around with time and patience…If your dog has a reason to not trust people in the past, they will be scared of a lot of things before they get used to what is normal, and understand that no one is going to hurt them anymore.”

Animals that are victims to abuse generally take longer to bond with their new owners because they may have developed trust issues. In rare cases, pets may also resort to hostile behavior because you remind them of someone who has hurt them. As heartbreaking as this may be, don’t give up.

You can help your pet come around by:

Keeping A Safe Distance

Sometimes, a little space can do mighty wonders. Pets can get overwhelmed with physical stimulation, like constant petting.

This is especially true if you have young children that do not hold back from expressing their love for their four-legged companion. Excessive touching can stress dogs, so giving them space to unwind and relax may be an excellent idea.

Creating a Safe Space for Them

Consider creating a designated space for your pet. Buy a comfy dog bed or repurpose old cushions and blankets to make any nook warm and inviting. This spot will be handy when your dog needs space, downtime, or even an afternoon siesta.

If you have children, you may want to set boundaries by instructing them not to touch the dog when it’s in this spot. This way, your dog will have the space to relax.

Staying Calm

what are the signs that your dog doesn't like you - staying calm

As I mentioned, dogs can sense every emotion, including negative ones. Try to stay as calm as possible. Whenever you see your dog show signs of nervousness or aggression, speak softly and avoid any actions or gestures you know would overwhelm it.

Trying Various Love Languages

Showing affection is easier said than done, especially with a nervous dog. But it’s not impossible. You don’t necessarily need to pet your dog to show it how much you care. Instead, include lots of outdoor time and activities, set a routine, give it treats, and start positive reinforcement training. All of these will help your pet understand that you care for it.

Once your dog allows you to pet it, you can give it gentle scratches on its head when it does a good job or follows a command to show your appreciation.

Starting Positive Reinforcement Training

Contrary to popular belief, a dog at any age is trainable through positive reinforcement. You can correct problematic behavior by disciplining your pet without resorting to punishments and encouraging good behavior through rewards in the form of treats and praises.

These actions will tune your dog to be on its best behavior.

Canines, much like humans, have likes and dislikes, and if they’re rescues, they also have a past. Being patient with them is vital in helping them live healthy lives. If you notice your pet showing any of the above signs, step back and access the environment you have created for it. And if you have a rescue dog, give it time and shower it with love.

Some dogs are more sensitive than others, so always be mindful of your actions. Re-train your dog, use positive reinforcement, and remain calm.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Do You Tell If a Dog Doesn’t Like You?

If your dog cowers when you arrive, avoids eye contact, growls at you, or refuses to accept treats or pets, it’s a sign that it may not like you.

A dog may grow to dislike you for many reasons, like stress or PTSD. Corrective measures are crucial to eliminate negative behavior.

What Makes a Dog Not Like You?

Extreme boredom, lack of physical activity, and constant physical touch can cause a dog to distance itself from and dislike you. Dogs need a routine and ample space to thrive.

Rescue dogs often appear skittish towards new owners because they’re reminded of someone who hurt them. They may also start to dislike you if they sense your negative emotions.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Scared of Me?

A fearful dog will never make eye contact with you. In fact, it’ll do everything possible to keep a safe distance from you. That includes walking away when you enter a room, hiding from you, or tucking its tail between its legs.



Meet Sheryl, a dedicated pet mom with over 20 years of hands-on experience as a pet mom to various dog breeds, from German Shepherds to Shih Tzus. Join her on her pet-centric journey as she aims to empower pet owners with practical tips and guidance. With her experience and passion for pets, she strives to make a positive impact in the lives of pets and their devoted owners.