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13 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Distant

Your once-obedient Fido has been ignoring you.

And your once-clingy pooch now refuses cuddles.

And they stay away from you too.

This situation’s both heartbreaking and worrying for any fur parent.

So now, you might be sad and wondering…

“Does my dog hate me?”

“Or did I do something wrong?”

Read on to learn:

  • 13 odd reasons that make dogs suddenly distant.
  • If it’s normal for your dog to act this way at their age.
  • When you should be concerned about this new behavior.
  • And many more…

Why is my dog suddenly distant? 13 weird reasons

#1: They’re jealous

When upset, your furry friend may ignore you out of nowhere.

This could be due to many reasons.

And 1 of them is jealousy.

Yup. Like humans, dogs can also experience it.

Experts even say that their behavior is similar to an envious 2-year-old kid.

“How do jealous dogs act?”

A study on 36 canines observed 3 common behaviors.

When their parents interact with a ‘rival,’ most of the dogs do the following:

  • Snapping (25%).
  • Trying to get between (30%).
  • Pushing/touching their parent (78%).

Besides these, some jealous Fidos may also become suddenly aggressive.

They’ll direct it toward their ‘rival’ – which can be:

So if your pooch’s jealous, they’ll bark at anyone you hug or interact with.

They can become clingier too.

But due to the stress of having a rival for your attention…

Your dog may become distant as well.

They’ll ignore you. And they might leave the room you’re in.

You might also like: 13 Signs Your Dog Is Jealous Of The Baby + How To Stop It

#2: They’re in the ‘teenage’ phase

Aside from being distant…

Does your dog respond less to you?

If so, they might be in puberty. Especially if they’re 6 months old and above.

Like what human teenagers experience…

Dogs’ hormones are also raging in this period.

As a result, their mood and behavior might change.

For example, your sweet pup may now dislike cuddles.

They might want more time alone too. So they’ll avoid you and sleep in another room.

“At what age do dogs go through puberty?”

Experts say this happens between 6-9 months of age.

But larger dog breeds may reach puberty at around 18 months to 2 years, as per vets.

So, if you have a teenage Fido…

You may also notice they’re harder to train now.

Studies show that 8-month-old puppies respond less to their parents’ commands than 5-month-olds.

But they’re not like this when another person gives the cue.

Reading tip: 19 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Out Of Control + 7 Tips To Fix It

#3: They’re scared of you

Dog Is Scared Of You

Sometimes, you may have hurt or startled your pooch by accident.

So recall all the events before your dog’s behavior changed.

Say, you might have done something they dislike, such as:

  • Giving mixed signals.
  • Not providing them with enough exercise.
  • Touching them in areas they don’t like (e.g., face, paws).

If you’re unsure of mixed signals, here’s a simple explanation.

For instance, your dog’s always welcome to stay on your bed.

But one day, you were in a bad mood and scolded them for sleeping beside you.

So from then on, your pooch’s afraid of jumping on your bed or staying near you.

Also, due to frustration or an outdated ‘alpha’ theory

You may have hit or yelled at your dog while training.

It can be traumatic, so they’ll become fearful of you. And this is why you shouldn’t punish dogs

Note: If it’s an accident and you’re truly sorry for what you did, there’s still a way to regain your fur baby’s trust.

Learn more: 13 Proven Methods To Repair The Relationship With Your Dog

#4: They’re anxious

If something’s bothering your furry friend…

They can also avoid eye contact and hide from you.

Experts say this is a common issue, as over 70% of dogs experience anxiety.

“What may have caused this?”

Based on the same study, 32% of dogs are sensitive to noise like fireworks or gunshots.

Meanwhile, other Fidos are afraid of:

  • Strangers (15%).
  • Other dogs (17%).
  • New situations (11%).

But anxiety can also be due to other reasons, such as an unfamiliar object or irregular routine.

So, scan your dog’s surroundings.

Think of any recent changes that might have stressed out your pooch.

And look for these other signs of anxiety in dogs:

  • Pacing.
  • Lip-licking.
  • Destroying things.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Repetitive behaviors (e.g., tail-chasing, circling).
  • ‘Whale eye’ (showing the white part of the eyes).

Check out also: Quiz: Does My Dog Have Anxiety? Test It With These 9 Signs

#5: They’re adjusting to a new environment

Did you recently move?

Or have you made a major change in your Fido’s spot?

As I said earlier, novel situations can stress your dog and make them anxious.

If you moved house, your furry friend might still be adjusting.

It’s a new environment with many unfamiliar sights, sounds, and scents.

Thus, it’s normal for your dog to be uneasy.

As a result, they’ll become aloof and avoid everyone – including you.

Note: Give your dog more time to adjust. Never leave them alone in your new home for long hours if possible. Offer them toys and spend at least 2 hours with them daily.

#6: They’re low-spirited

When not taken care of, a dog’s anxiety may also lead to depression.

And this could make them suddenly distant.

“What causes depression in dogs?”

Dr. Beaver said to PetMD that major life changes often cause this.

It includes moving houses or having a new family member.

But usually, the common reason’s the loss of a beloved someone. Either a furry companion or a parent.

Yes. Studies show that dogs also mourn.

And when they do, they’ll:

  • Lose weight.
  • Refuse to eat.
  • Become inactive.
  • Hide in odd places (e.g., under your desk).
  • Have no interest in things they used to enjoy.

Trivia: In the 1980s, Dr. Dodman observed that dogs have a similar brain structure as humans. The Fidos showed the same symptoms as a depressed individual. And the dogs’ condition improved after taking medications for people.

Further reading: Quiz: Is My Dog Depressed? 19 Symptoms (+Tips To Treat It)

#7: They’re not young anymore

Dog Is Not Young Anymore

In other cases, it might also not be anyone’s fault.

As your dog ages, they may become mellow and have less energy.

Thus, they’ll prefer to sleep on their bed most of the time instead of playing with you.

So don’t take it to heart.

Your fur baby’s not ignoring you. And they don’t love you less.

“How old is a senior dog?”

Vets say it varies per size and breed.

Usually, a larger dog matures fast than a tinier pooch.

And it’ll be like this:

  • Small: 11-12 years old.
  • Medium: 10 years old.
  • Large: 8 years old.
  • Giant: 7 years old.

#8: They have ‘canine dementia’

In connection with old age…

Some dogs may also become withdrawn due to a condition similar to dementia.

Vets call it ‘canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome,’ a.k.a. CCD.

It’s when a dog loses memory, thinking, and other mental abilities.

And it usually affects Fidos over 11 years old.

So watch out for these common signs:

  • Night walking.
  • Disorientation.
  • Vocalizations at night.
  • Responding less to you.
  • Slow in learning new cues.
  • Peeing/pooping anywhere.
  • Staring blankly at the wall/ceiling.

Note: Consult your vet if your dog shows any of these behaviors asap.

#9: They’re hiding pain

I hope this isn’t the case.

But dogs are also good at pretending they’re OK even when it’s not.

Your furry friend can’t tell you that they’re hurting.

So they’ll live with the pain. And they’ll hide to prevent anyone from touching their tender areas.

“How to tell if a dog is in pain?”

You’ll notice some of these symptoms:

#10: They’re unwell

Apart from pain, your dog may also avoid interactions and sit in the corner if they’re sick.

They might be in discomfort due to their illness.

So they’ll stay away from everyone. And pick an isolated spot to feel safe.

You’ll know if your dog’s unwell if they show these other symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Increased thirst and urination.
  • Diarrhea (in other cases, constipation).

Note: If you notice any of these, call your vet and bring your dog to the clinic immediately.

#11: They mirror your stress

How are you recently?

If you have a close bond with your pooch and something’s troubling you…

Your stress may also have affected your furry pal.

A recent study found that dogs can pick up our emotions.

And they could mirror our stress levels too.

According to it, dog parents who have too much ‘cortisol’ (a.k.a. stress hormone) also have Fidos with high levels of it.

#12: They bonded more with someone

Is your dog not excited to see you as well?

Your furry friend can also become distant if you’re always busy and spend little time with them.

So if you haven’t bonded with them well and ask someone to take care of them while you’re away…

They might have formed a deeper bond with that person.

This is common in young puppies.

And they usually choose their favorite human based on the time and treats they receive.

“What should I do?”

If your dog’s attracted to another person, spend more time with them.

And make every bonding as fun as possible by:

  • Playing games with them.
  • Teaching them cool tricks.
  • Walking them first and last thing daily.

Read next: My Dog Bonded To The Wrong Person! 9 Ways To Fix It ASAP

#13: They feel hot

Lastly, it could be the weather.

During hot days, your dog may also become suddenly distant.

Instead of sleeping beside you, they’ll choose to lay somewhere else, such as:

Note: The ideal room temperature for most dogs is between 68-73 °F (20-23 °C). But this can vary, so watch your Fido’s reaction while adjusting.