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Why Does My Dog Hate Me? 9 Surprising Reasons + 7 Tips

Why Does My Dog Hate Me

It sucks when (it feels like) your dog hates you.

Here you’ll find out why this happens.

Plus: how to make (and keep) your dog happy.

You’ll discover:

  • 9 real reasons why it looks like your dog hates you.
  • The relation between sleep and your dog’s feelings for you.
  • Whether you should interrupt a wrestling match with another dog or not.
  • How your affection could be pulling your dog away (reasons #2 and #3 are essential).
  • And more…

Why does my dog hate me?

There are multiple reasons why you can feel like your dog hates you. These include: waking up your dog abruptly, patting their head, kissing them, taking their toys, touching their food, dressing them up, breaking their wrestling match with another dog, making them apologize, giving mixed signals. 

What to do when your dog hates you?

Here’s what you can do when your dog hates you: show your love by letting your dog sleep and giving them space, establish rules that everyone in the family must follow, give your dog time to play with other dogs to develop their social skills, and spend quality time through plays and training.

Also, don’t leave them alone for long periods of time.

That being said, let’s dive deeper into the reasons why your dog ‘hates’ you.

9 reasons why (it feels like) your dog hates you

#1: You wake them up abruptly

Grumpy Dog Meme

Your dog wakes you up in the morning and demands you feed them.

It’s adorable at times. But doing the same to your dog could earn you their ire.

Who wants to be woken up abruptly? Nobody, not even your dog. Yet some people think it’s cute to wake their sleeping dog just like that.

Can you imagine what it will do to your dogs?

Look at this Chihuahua that got woken up:

As dogs age, they sleep more heavily. If you wake them all of a sudden, they may react poorly.

Caution: If you wake up your dog abruptly at times, they could become cranky and even bite you. Let sleeping dogs lie.

#2: You pat their head

Dog Petting Meme

If you think your dog loves being patted on the head, you’re mistaken.

You must be surprised as I was upon learning this. After all, we pat kids when we want to say ‘good job.’

So why would your dog hate you for patting their head?

Apparently, this is a sign of dominance.

The only reason why they allow you is because they love you. And they see you as their leader.

But it doesn’t mean you have to keep on doing it.

Interestingly, dogs could consider patting their head as a rude and a threatening gesture. It can get even worse if you stand over the dog. They hate that.

#3: You kiss them

Sometimes what works for humans, doesn’t work for dogs.

That’s the case with kisses.

We use them to show our affection to our loved ones. But your dog could hate you for giving him a smooch.

You can get away with an occasional quick kiss. After all, your dog does love getting attention.

But if you want to grab their face to give them a kiss on the nose, better think twice about it.

Chances are, they would move away from you. They are not comfortable having someone coming closer to their face.

You may end up getting bitten or attacked.

Caution: Teach your kids to be careful when playing with your dog. Tell them how important it is for the dog to have their personal space.

You might also like: 11 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When You Kiss + 7 Tips

#4: You share their toys and food

Even from childhood, we are taught to share our food and toys.

No, that’s not going to work when it comes to your dog.

Caution: DO NOT try to grab what they are chewing.

They’ll growl or bare their teeth at you.

This is called possessive aggression. A dog exhibits this when humans or other animals approach them when they are in possession of their favorite toys or food.

For them, what they own is theirs alone. No sharing with their hoomans.

And if they let you ‘borrow’ their toy, it’s only because you’re the boss.

But the truth is, it could make them upset or stressed.

#5: You break a wrestling match

Dogs Wrestling Meme

Play constitutes a big part of a dog’s life.

In fact, dogs spend 20% of their day being active. That is, whether alone or with other dogs.

At home, you’ll often see your dogs tackling each other. One dog bites the leg of another. Then they growl, bite some more and wrestle each other to the ground.

Now you break up the play because you think the dogs are fighting.

This is actually bad for your dogs because they are simply playing. Breaking up the wrestling match hinders the growth of their social skills. 

#6: You force them to ‘apologize’

There are good days. And there are bad days for your doggo.

Perhaps they have made a mess of your freshly laundered clothes.

Or gutted a new toy. Maybe they’ve grabbed the biscuit from your baby’s hand and ate it.

If they have been bad, your first course of action is to make them ‘apologize.’

Maybe humans react this way seeing how a dog looks when they do something bad.

They cower in a corner and they look guilty. It’s as if they know they should feel guilty.

Confused Dog Meme

The truth is, dogs don’t know what guilty means. Their reaction is solely based on your body language and tone of voice.

And trust me. They’re not even sorry for what they did.

So if they couldn’t look you in the eye, don’t assume they feel guilty.

They are actually upset and scared of your reaction to their deed.

Your dog might even turn their head away from you while you’re speaking to them. 

Don’t be too quick to think they’re ignoring you or pretending you’re not there.

All they’re doing is showing you they don’t want any conflicts.

#7: Lack of physical activity and mental stimulation

Dogs aren’t like humans. Their ideal day doesn’t include hours of watching Netflix.

Without physical activity, dogs get into trouble. They become bored.

As with physical activity, lack of mental stimulation makes your dog suffer.

This adds to their boredom and leads to destructive behaviors.

Don’t make them hate you more. It’s important to establish a daily routine for walks or other forms of exercise.

#8: You show mixed signals

Mixed signals send your dog on a head spin.

Imagine allowing them on your sofa but your partner prohibits your dog to even get near the couch.

Mixed signals only make your dog confused.

When they are confused, they become frustrated. And when they are frustrated, they become destructive and even aggressive.

#9: You dress them up

Dressed Up Dog Disappointed Meme

Look at that dog dress with a matching hat and a pair of sunglasses. Cute, right?

Not if your dog has a say on this…

They probably hate you for making them wear clothes all day.

That’s because they don’t feel comfortable and don’t like the smell of fabric. 

Bonus reason: They associate you with an abusive previous owner

You have decided to adopt a dog that was abused by the previous owner.

Now, the dog displays aggressive behavior toward you.

They snarl and move away when you try to touch their head.

Often, information on these abused dogs is inadequate. It is not always clear what kind of environment they came from.

Thus, it is difficult to come up with ways to deal with them.

This is why difficult dogs are usually left in animal shelters. 

If it feels like your dog hates you, it’s not too late to make up for it.

7 tips for when (it feels like) your dog hates you

#1: Let them sleep in peace

Caution: DO NOT wake a sleeping dog.

Let them rest.

According to the American Kennel Club, puppies need 18-20 hours of sleep a day. Adult dogs would spend half the day sleeping. 

And older dogs need more sleep because they get tired easily.

So if you see them sleeping, let them be.

#2: Establish rules

Confusing The Dog Meme

Avoid confusing your dog with contradicting rules around the house.

Set rules that everyone in the house should stick to.

Even kids must be aware of this.

They mustn’t give scraps to your dog if you prohibit your dog from begging.

#3: Give them space

Know the things that your dog dislikes.

Dogs hate having someone too close to their face. And they hate being hugged roughly.

What you can do is, crouch to their level and wait for them to approach. Scratch their chin and chest instead of patting their head.

Avoid hugging them roughly as well. It scares them because hugging restricts movement.

So go easy on those hugs.

If you want to get close, do so slowly. Take your time. Your dog will eventually trust you.

Caution: Avoid threatening gestures, such as standing over them.

#4: Let them play with other dogs

Dog Wrestling Meme

Playing with other dogs develops their social skills. 

It teaches them bite inhibition and good manners.

When they play, you’ll see a lot of activities that can be mistaken for ‘fighting.’ 

These activities include biting, barking and even body slamming.

You’ll know they’re having fun because they play bow often.

In a play bow, dogs get down on their elbows with their back and rear end up. It’s their way of inviting other dogs to play or continue playing after a pause.

In addition, they chase each other and act silly through bouncy movements.

But how do you know when the play becomes fighting?

The American Kennel Club suggests breaking up the fight when you observe the following from your dog:

  • Stiff body.
  • Frantic or panicked.
  • Low warning growl.
  • Lips curled back in a snarl.
  • Hiding or trying to get away.
  • Tucked tail between the legs.
  • Raised hackles (hair on the upper back).

#5: Play with them

Spend quality time with your dog.

Without a regular routine, they become destructive.

So establish a regular routine that includes walks or games. This way you provide your dog with more security. Dogs work better with routines. 

So, if you change something in the schedule you could stress out your dog, depending on how big of a change it is.

#6: Train them

Avoid being angry at your dog for uprooting your plants or doing anything else that’s messy.

They become scared when you are angry.

Instead, train them to adopt desirable behaviors. This study suggests applying positive reinforcement and behavior modification techniques.

By training them, you also spend quality time with them.

#7: Don’t leave them alone for too long

Anxious Dog Meme

Dogs are social creatures. They want to be around their hoomans and other dogs as well.

If you have to work most of the day, leave them at doggie day care. Or if you’ll be gone and can’t take your dog, hire a pet sitter.

The important thing is they are not alone for long periods of time.

Because if they are, they become anxious.

Bonus tip: Make preparations before adopting an abused dog

Adopting a dog that was abused by the previous owner takes commitment.

Not to mention time and lots of patience.

Start by knowing how to read your dog’s body language. They may show signs of fear from even the smallest things.

You need to give them plenty of space and time to heal. Your dog has to know that they can trust you.

Note: Consistency is the key.

Keep on talking to them using a gentle voice. Or spend time playing with them and rewarding good behavior.

You see, it’s crucial knowing what your dog hates and doing something about it. It’s a step to a long-lasting and fulfilling friendship.


Saturday 29th of August 2020

I LOVE your content. I wish there were more. I hope you’ll be a new to possibly address large breed doggo needs & senior doggo needs. Also, any chance of any Pitbull experiences? I do belong to several breed specific sites but would love to know your take on these overly play & cuddle obsessed love muffins.

Thank you for your tips & advice. This is a wonderful site.

Petya Natcheva

Saturday 29th of August 2020


Thanks for your kind words. Your comment made me blush a little :)

My website is still fairly new. So, keep an eye out for any upcoming articles and categories.

As to general dog articles, here's where you can find more info:

Hope that helps!

Petya (and a big lick from Lissa)

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