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My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do?

Anaëlle Laurent
By Anaëlle Laurent. Updated: October 22, 2020
My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do?

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If your dog has suddenly began avoiding you, you're probably wondering why and what you can do about it. In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain the different causes of avoidance in dogs.

We'll also talk about what you can do to help them get back to their normal self and how to prevent them from ignoring you in the future.


  1. Avoidance in dogs
  2. Why is your dog avoiding or ignoring you?
  3. What to do if your dog is avoiding or ignoring you
  4. How to prevent this behaviour in the future

Avoidance in dogs

What is avoidance or ignoring in dogs? This is a behavioural issue when your dog ignores you when you call them or avoids going near you, ignoring your existence. This can be very disheartening to many pet companions as it's not normal for dogs to act this way.

This abnormal behaviour can be due to a number of things, from medical issues to traumatic events to lack of training. Continue reading to learn about why your dog is avoiding or ignoring you.

My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do? - Avoidance in dogs

Why is your dog avoiding or ignoring you?

To know why your dog is suddenly avoiding you, the first thing you need to do is observe the situation as a whole. In other words, try to think about when this behaviour started and what other factors could be related to this issue. Perhaps your dog is also presenting symptoms of a sick dog. If so, it would be understandable that their avoidance is related to a medical problem.

Another example, is if you've recently scolded your dog by yelling or even resorting to physical violence. If so, your dog is probably scared of you and traumatised by the experience. Therefore, you will need to re-build your relationship with them and slowly get them to trust you again.

Instead of giving dozens of examples, here are the different reasons why your dog suddenly start avoiding you:

They are suffering from a medical condition (ruptured eardrum)

The first reason as to why your dog has suddenly started avoiding you is that they may be suffering from a medical issue. The most common in these cases is a ruptured eardrum. This will lead your dog to have a loss in hearing and therefore doesn't hear you when you call them or not come to you as they can't hear where you are, your call or your movements.

If your dog is showcasing other symptoms of an ill dog, this is the most probable cause of their avoidance. It can be a ruptured eardrum, or any other disease that puts them in enough pain to prefer to be alone. The best thing to do is to take them to the veterinarian and rule out this possibility first.

They are suffering from depression

Another common reason for avoidance in dogs is depression or another mental issue. If your dog has recently lost a loved one or doesn't have all of their needs met, this could lead them to suffer from depression. Other dogs may feel stressed when there is a change in their lifestyle or routine.

Lastly, your dog can also be suffering from anxiety or separation anxiety, leading them to develop behavioural issues, such as avoidance.

They lack proper training

Training is very important when it comes to caring for a dog. Not only is it useful to keep them safe in certain situations, but it is also very entertaining for them. This is because dogs are very active and curious animals. They want to learn and be rewarded by their companions. They also see that time as an opportunity to bond with you, their companion.

If, however, you haven't trained your dog, they can be a bit reckless. They may not behave as well as you'd like them to and they may even completely ignore you when you call them. This is because they don't recognise their name as a call from you. In order to learn this, they'll need some basic training.

My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do? - Why is your dog avoiding or ignoring you?

They have been given inappropriate punishment

Have you recently punished your dog for inappropriate behaviour? This may be the reason why your dog is now avoiding you. Scolding your dog in a violent matter can make your dog become scared of you and can even traumatise them. This is why dogs that are mistreated tend to avoid any person that may harm them.

Even if you've just done it once, your dog may have felt very upset about it and that is why they're avoiding you.

They think they're in trouble

Another reason why your dog may be avoiding you is because they think they have done something wrong and will be punished. This may be a sign that you scold them too harshly. Remember that a simple and firm “no” is suffice when it comes to letting them know they've done something wrong.

Dogs are very sensitive animals and can observe the smallest signs or intentions. That's why we don't need to punish them harshly. Instead, reward their good behaviour and only respond with a firm “no” when they misbehave.

They've just gone through a traumatic event

Whether it was being harshly scolded or attacked by a dog, your dog may have recently gone through a traumatic event that has made them sad and scared. This leads them to isolating themselves and, perhaps, even avoiding their companion.

Try to think about what happened when your dog suddenly started to avoid you. Did something happen at home or when they were out on a walk? This may be the cause of their avoidance.

What to do if your dog is avoiding or ignoring you

  1. Take them to the veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
  2. Help them feel more accompanied and happy.
  3. Train them through positive reinforcement.
  4. Be careful when scolding them, a simple firm “no” is suffice.

If you've tried all of these tips but your dog is still avoiding you, it's best to talk to a canine behaviour specialist who will be able to help your dog's specific condition.

My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do? - What to do if your dog is avoiding or ignoring you

How to prevent this behaviour in the future

Knowing what to do when your dog begins avoiding you is important. However, it can also be very helpful to know how to prevent this from happening in the future. Here are some tips to prevent this behaviour in the future:

Keep up with regular veterinarian check-ups

By keeping up with their veterinarian check-ups you make sure that you're aware of any medical issue they may be experiencing. This way, you can treat it as soon as possible and avoid any symptoms, such as avoidance. To learn more, we encourage you to also read our article about signs that my dog is sick.

Train them through positive reinforcement

Training them through positive reinforcement will help them learn basic commands while enjoying their training time and their time with you. This method is not only more effective than other methods, but it will also make sure your dog doesn't become scared of you or experience any traumas. If you're interested in training your dog, read our article about the basic level of dog training.

Never punish them through harsh methods

Instead of punishing your dog by verbal or physical violence, it's best to redirect their focus on what they should be doing. By rewarding them when they behave positively, they will quickly learn to always do positive behaviour. When you re- to violence you will be sacrificing your dog's mental wellbeing, as well as their relationship with you. Learn more in our article about how to make a dog behave.

Notice and help them when they're feeling down

Lastly, if you notice that your dog has been feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, take steps to help them feel better. Buy them a new toy, take them to a new park for a walk, cuddle with them, talk softly to them, etc. All of these actions will help your dog feel accompanied and protected by you. Learn more in our article about tips to make your dog happy.

Lastly, we leave you with our video about the 10 most common behavioural problems in dogs. Hopefully it can be insightful for when your dog is behaving abnormally.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do?, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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My Dog Is Suddenly Avoiding Me, What Should I Do?