Hoping for a cuddly pooch? Seems like you didn’t get one.
Does your furry friend act as if you’re the human version of a dog repellent?
Did you do everything for them but they still couldn’t care less about you?
It might leave you heartbroken as it feels like a ‘one-sided’ love.
Hang in there! And…
Read on to discover:
- What caused your dog to act like that.
- Whether it’s normal or due to other reasons.
- Why they suddenly became so distant from you.
- 13 helpful tips on how to handle this kind of situation.
- And much more…
Table of contents
Why is my dog so aloof?
Your dog is so aloof because it’s their nature, they’re still young and adjusting to the environment, they weren’t socialized at an early age, or you’re doing something they don’t like. It can also be due to changes in routine, anxiety, pain, old age, jealousy, depression, or they got it from you.
Why is my puppy so aloof?
Your puppy is so aloof because they’re calm in nature or haven’t adjusted yet to their new surroundings. They also might have been moved frequently before and now they’re confused. Also, if you got them from a breeder, they might have been raised in a kennel with only little exposure to humans.
13 reasons why your dog is so aloof
#1: It’s in their blood
It’s not your fault…they’re born that way.
If there are dogs who are needy, they’re the complete opposites.
‘Independent’ is the best term to describe them.
Your dog might be fine without frequent attention. And prefer to have an ‘alone time’ rather than cuddling.
They may ignore you and even strangers. But it’s not that they don’t love you.
They care, but they don’t express it like other dogs.
#2: ‘Early days’
Well, how old is your pooch?
If they’re still a pup, it’s only normal for them to be uninterested from their parents, or other people.
They’re still growing and exploring the world.
If they came from a breeder, it might be that they’re overwhelmed with all the attention. Or they miss their mom and sibs.
Warming up can take a long time. So don’t get disheartened yet.
#3: New environment
“A new place…again?”
Did you recently move?
How many days was it since you got your dog?
It might be that they’re still adjusting to their new home. Or your pooch moved around a lot when they’re young – from various shelters and homes.
And it’s making them so confused and didn’t have enough time to absorb all of it.
Does your dog always cower and avoid being touched?
If they’re adopted from a shelter, sometimes it’s unknown what they went through in the past. It’s possible that they have a trauma due to abandonment or abuse.
You can see it in their eyes and how they get scared of simple things. Like if you raise your hand, or grab their leash or a rope.
#5: Lack of socialization
Your dog may not be exposed to humans at an early age and develop a fear.
They might also be neglected by their previous parents. So they learned to avoid people.
A study says that a pup needs to be socialized as early as when they’re 3 to 12 weeks old.
#6: You’re doing something they don’t like
Aside from being scared of humans, it might also be due to your behavior.
When and how do you usually invite your dog to cuddle and play?
You might only be patting their heads when they prefer belly rubs more. Or you’re doing it too much or roughly.
They might also be in the middle of eating. Or they could be tracking a squirrel at the moment. Then you just barged in and stopped them.
#7: Sudden changes
Can you easily handle situations that you’re not expecting to happen?
Well sadly, dogs can’t do that. So they become stressed and detached.
Your dog might be confused when there are changes in the routine. It can be the time they’re being fed or walked.
Changes in diet can also affect their mood as they may cause an upset stomach.
Do they only act indifferent at certain times?
Apart from fear in new environments, puppies may also be afraid of loud noises. And it usually forms when they’re 5 weeks old.
Your dog might be hearing noises they don’t like. It can be from a construction site or a train station.
And those make them so anxious, so it may look like they’re in their ‘own world’.
If your clingy dog became distant all of a sudden, it might be because they’re in discomfort.
They might be suffering from a stomach ache, dental issues, or an injury.
Dogs will often hide their pain. And they won’t show signs of suffering. So, you can mostly notice it if there’s a change in their behavior.
#10: Old age
Like humans, dogs age and will go through many changes.
Does it seem like your pooch doesn’t enjoy playing with you anymore? They might have sore joints and become less active now. So they prefer to rest instead.
Do they seem uninterested when you show them their favorite toy? Well, maybe their sight might become poorer.
And they don’t come when you call them? They might have bad hearing.
Dementia is also possible if they don’t seem to recognize you. And also if they get anxious very often.
Did you bring home a new pet?
Or is there a new member of the family?
Research has proven that dogs could also get jealous like humans. And it’s reported that their behavior is similar to an envious 2-year-old kid.
So your dog might be upset that you’re giving affection to someone else. Or they feel like being replaced.
Aside from walking out of the room, they may also act aggressively and growl when they see another pet.
Did your pooch become withdrawn all of a sudden?
Think about what happened in the past few weeks. Your dog might find it difficult to adjust to a huge change in their life.
Usually, it’s a mix of some reasons stated above. Like living in a new home, new pet, and changes in their routine.
PetMD lists other symptoms such as:
- Less energy.
- Loss of interest.
- Decreased appetite.
- Irregular sleeping pattern.
#13: ‘Like owner, like dog’
“Your pup acts just like you.”
Have you already heard this from someone?
If so, your dog might be aloof because you’re reserved as well.
It might also be due to your lifestyle. You might be busy in the last few years and didn’t get to bond with them.
Well, this might not be the case for everybody.
But based on a study, dogs may get the personality of their parents.
It’s reported there that an outgoing person has an active pooch too. While an unstable parent has an anxious dog.
13 tips on how to get your dog to act less aloof
#1: Love them as they are
If it’s an innate behavior, just let them be. Accept the fact that they’re not clingy and they won’t be.
You can be disappointed, but don’t love them any less.
Trust me. They care so much about you. And love can be shown in many other ways.Your dog might stare at you from a distance or sleep near your feet.
Warning: If they growl and show their teeth, they’re angry. Stop petting them immediately.
#2: Be patient
Usually, a pup who is aloof may outgrow this personality after several months.
It’ll depend. Some dogs had a full 360 change after 10 months. While it may take a year or more for some.
Just make sure that their needs are met. These include food, daily exercises, and bonding with you. These will help in forming trust.
Also, you may hand feed them for a while until they get used to you.
#3: Explore and stay by their side
This is for dogs who aren’t familiar yet with their new environment.
You must take them daily on a walk. Let them sniff and check out the whole area – inside and outside.
They’re anxious so stay close to them as much as possible.
At night, you can let them sleep on your bed, or on their couch near you. And keep doing it until they’re fully adjusted.
#4: Don’t force them
This won’t happen overnight so you need to be very patient and make them trust you.
- Stay in the same place as they are.
- Sit far away from them so they won’t be scared.
- Talk in a calm and sweet manner. Read a book or tell them about something. This is for them to be familiar with your voice and scent.
- Let them come to you. Don’t touch or put them near you.
- Give them food.
- Respect their space and give them some time to open up.
- Repeat until they come to you voluntarily. And if they’re allowing you to touch them.
Note: If things become out of hand, you should get help from a trainer.
Walk them daily to expose them to different sounds, sights, scents of people, and other animals.
If they’re also scared of strangers, invite some over. And make them toss some treats to your pooch.
But don’t let them pet your dog yet. And give your furry friend some escape options.
#6: Take it easy
You must try to tone down your emotions (excitement) and petting.
Just gently pat or touch them and see how they’re going to act. And don’t do it frequently.
If it seems like they’re not up for some cuddle sometimes. it might be that you’re touching the wrong part.
Observe and get to know your dog more. And pay attention to their reactions.
#7: Stick to the routine
As much as possible, feed and walk them according to schedule.
This is to avoid confusion and for them to worry less about getting their basic needs.
Also, introduce new activities to them one at a time. And take it slowly, give them some time to adjust.
First, you need to know the sounds that are making your dog nervous.
If it’s the horn of a train, find an audio/video of it on the internet.
- Put it in a much lower volume and make them listen to it.
- Keep the source of sound far but still audible.
- If they don’t seem afraid, give them treats.
- Try to raise the volume a bit. If they’re still calm, reward them again.
- Raise the volume gradually and repeat the steps.
You can can check out this cool video on how to do it:
#9: Consult a vet
If they show other symptoms such as limping or being restless, you need to bring them to the vet asap.
By doing this, you’ll know any sickness or injury that they’re trying to hide. And what medication and care they need.
#10: Care for your old dog
If they have dementia, avoid doing any changes as they’ll confuse them. May it be in their routine or the locations of furniture in your house. Keep their belongings (feeders, toys, and bed) in the exact same place.
For those who have arthritis, you can install carpets or rugs on areas they walk on the most. By doing that, the floor will be less slippery and they can stand up with ease.
And if it’s hard for them to climb up a series of steps, you must provide a ramp with a slope that’s not steep so they can walk comfortably.
#11: Help them get through it
If they also show signs of depression, try to get them excited about the things they used to love. And avoid doing things that they don’t like.
If they like walks and playing fetch, do those frequently. And reward them if they show signs of happiness.
Once they seem fine, bear in mind that the condition might come back again. So keep doing those things regularly.
But if their state doesn’t improve, take them to the vet. There are medications that’ll help them with their anxiety.
#12: Give the same attention
If your dog shows signs of being jealous, you can talk to a behaviorist about the situation.
At home, you should try to give your pets equal attention. And ignore if your dog is seeking for more.
It’s also best to feed them separately. And give each pet a toy and bed so they won’t fight for them.
#13: Less anxiety, more excitement
You can’t stop a dog from sharing some of your traits. But you can make them get good ones.
If you’re anxious or upset, calm yourself first before attempting to lay with your dog.
Try your best to make training and playtime more exciting. Mix some rewards in it and praise them every time they seem interested.
It’ll help you to form a bond with them. And it’ll also boost their confidence.