Basic care

My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden

Anaëlle Laurent
By Anaëlle Laurent. Updated: January 18, 2024
My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden

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If a dog suddenly wants to be alone, it is something contrary to canine nature. While sociability levels will differ according to the individual, dogs are social animals at their core. They thrive in a group environment and can suffer serious harm if they are unable to mix with others. If a dog is not as sociable and often spends time on their own, it could simply be their personality. If you find that my dog wants to be left alone all of a sudden, this is likely due to a physical, psychological or emotional health problem. At AnimalWised, we find out the reasons why my dog suddenly wants to be alone by looking at this problems in more detail.

You may also be interested in: How Long Can Cats Be Left Alone?
  1. Why does my dog sit alone in another room?
  2. Reasons why your dog suddenly wants to be alone
  3. My dog suddenly wants to sleep alone
  4. What you can do to help

Why does my dog sit alone in another room?

Dogs do not necessarily need time on their own. They are social animals that thrive in a community. A happy and healthy dog will want to experience the company of others, whether to play, sleep beside, keep warm or receive affection.

While they will form hierarchies within their canine group, dogs do not do the same with their human owners. Dogs know humans are not other dogs and do not try to be dominant. Instead, they see them as their guardians and points of reference. If they need something, they will go to their guardian. Similarly, if they think their guardians needs something from them, they naturally want to oblige.

This doesn't mean all dogs follow their owners around every minute of the day. Some are naturally less social than others. Although they do not need time to reflect on their feelings like we do, they may prefer to rest on their own. This could be due to a preference for peace and quiet, but they could simply have a preferred resting spot.

If your dog sits alone in a different room, we need to look at other behaviors. Do they refuse affection? Do they show symptoms of illness? Do they become aggressive when we approach them? By asking these questions, we can look at the context of them wanting to be alone and determine if it is problematic behavior.

Reasons why your dog suddenly wants to be alone

If your dog has suddenly started isolating themselves, it's normal to worry. In order to help them we first need to understand why they're behaving abnormally. The most common reasons why a dog may begin isolating themselves are the following:

  • Stress or anxiety: just like humans, dogs can experience mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. A common problem in dogs is separation anxiety, related to their need to feel part of the group. Dogs can be left alone for around 8 hours, but this will depend on the individual. Some dogs will be anxious when you return, others might sit alone in a different room as an expression of their separation anxiety.

  • Depression: dogs can also feel depressed in other situations that are not related to separation anxiety in dogs. This could be moving to a new home, the loss of a loved one or even hormonal issues which affect their mood. In these cases, we need to provide emotional support to the dog. If they are healthy, they should not experience prolonged bouts of depression, but can choose to be alone for some time.

  • Trauma: in certain cases, dogs may have experienced trauma in the past which leads them to be more solitary. If this happens before you adopt them, then it will influence their personality. If you see your dog wants to be alone all of a sudden, it could be due to a recent traumatic experience. This could be in the form of an accident, a fight with another dog or even if a human has been violent towards them.

  • Systemic disease: when a dog has certain health problems, they might not have obvious symptoms to us. This does not prevent them from feeling scared due to changes in their body. A example is congestive heart failure in dogs. This can make them feel lethargic and even short of breath. The fear these symptoms cause may cause them to want to sit alone in another room away from their guardians.

  • Skeletomuscular disease: if a dog has problems with their joints such as hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis in dogs, moving can become very difficult. In these cases, it may not be that they want to be alone, but that getting up and moving is too uncomfortable.

  • Age: if your senior dog suddenly wants to be alone, it could be an effect of age. As dogs get older, they do not have as much energy. Their body often becomes worn down and they are more likely to develop the aforementioned skeletomuscular problems. Again, it is not that they don't want to be with us, but that being alone in another room might be easier.

  • Neurological disorders: neurological problems are more common in older dogs due to the effect of age on the brain. This can lead to behavioral changes. Not only might the dog want to be alone all of a sudden, but they can even develop aggressive traits against their guardians due to the confusion they suffer. Neurological disorders can also be from trauma, brain infections or other sources.

  • Death: the last reason we share as to why a dog wants to suddenly be alone is that they are dying. When a dog is about to die, it is common for them to seek out a quiet space away from others. They do this to feel secure and to die somewhere safe.

These reasons why dogs want to be on their own can be difficult to determine. For this reason, it is vital you get to know your dog's personality. This way you will be able to detect whether the

My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden - Reasons why your dog suddenly wants to be alone

My dog suddenly wants to sleep alone

If your dog usually sleeps in your bed, then it can be surprising if they suddenly choose not to and sleep on their own. The reasons we have given above can still apply to this situation. However, there are some specific reasons why a dog suddenly wants to sleep alone:

  • Your restlessness: if you have started to move around a lot during your sleep, then this might disturb the dog's sleep. If it keeps happening, they might want to leave and go sleep in their own dog bed.

  • Noise: it is difficult for us to know if we are snoring since we are unconscious when it happens. If you live alone, your dog will not be able to tell you directly about it. However, they might leave to sleep somewhere else if it becomes too loud.

  • Comfort: a problem with the comfort of the bed may be at fault. Perhaps it is too soft or the covers are made of a material they do not like. If your dog normally sleeps with you, comfort problems are only likely to arise if a change has occurred. For example, if you buy a new bed and the dog doesn't want to sleep with you all of a sudden, it could be due to this change.

In all of these cases, it doesn't mean there is a problem with your relationship. It just means it might be more preferable for the dog to want to sleep elsewhere. You can make changes, but it might also be better for you to sleep in separate beds. This reduces health risks, such as if the dog has fleas and wants to sleep in your bed.

What you can do to help

Take them to the veterinarian

The first thing we need to do is rule out any health issues. This way, if our dog is ill we can have them properly examined, diagnosed and treated before their illness becomes serious. Their behavior will then go back to how they were before, thanks to the treatment and the reversal of symptoms.

There is not always a curative treatment available. Such is the case with certain neurological or musculoskeletal issues. In these cases, your veterinarian will examine your dog to make sure that they don't have any other underlying diseases. Once treated, they can find ways to help your dog manage their symptoms. These can include changing their diet, adapting their exercise routine and reducing stress.

In some cases, the dog may have a level of suffering which seriously lowers their quality of life. In these cases, it may be necessary to euthanize the dog. This is a process which you will need to discuss with your veterinarian.

Make sure their environment is clean and comfortable

Take a look at their environment to make sure everything is okay. Maybe it's too cold, dirty or noisy, making your dog want to isolate themselves in order to feel safe and calm enough to rest. If you notice that they are cold, try turning on the furnace and adding blankets to their rest area.

In many cases, the issue is that there's a scary or bothersome noise that makes your dog isolate themselves in order to feel safe or calm. If it's fireworks, try to close all windows, curtains and doors in order to reduce the noise. We must remember that dogs have more sensitive ears than us. Learn more tips in our article about how to help a dog scared of thunder.

Another reason could be that your child is making a lot of noise and hurting your dog's ears. This will lead them try to find peace and quiet in another room, by themselves. It's important to note that dogs prefer company rather than being alone. So, it's important to find a solution to this issue so our dog can stay with us and have a happier and high quality life.

My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden - What you can do to help

Help their mental health

Lastly, there are certain things you can do if your dog is suffering from anxiety or depression. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you can try these simple tips:

  • Obedience training through positive reinforcement.
  • Not leaving them alone for more than 2 hours.
  • Try getting them a dog sitter or taking them to a dog care centre.
  • Spend enough time with them on walks or playing before you leave.
  • In extreme cases, contact your veterinarian to learn more about which medication can help.

On the other hand, if your dog is suffering from depression, you can try these simple tips:

  • Try walks in new places.
  • Make sure they have time to play with other dogs.
  • Spend more time playing with them.
  • Give them new toys or a new treat.
  • Make sure they have a high quality diet with no deficiencies.
  • Try not to leave them alone as it will make them more depressed.

If you continue to have issues, it's best to work with a canine behavior specialist that will be able to help your dog's specific case. Taking them to the veterinarian is always a must whenever they start behaving abnormally. We also encourage you to watch our video below on how to make your dog feel happier.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

  • Senay, E. C. (1966). Toward an animal model of depression: a study of separation behavior in dogs. Journal of psychiatric research, 4(1), 65–71.

  • Flannigan, G., & Dodman, N. H. (2001). Risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 219(4), 460–466.

  • Takeuchi, Y., Houpt, K. A., & Scarlett, J. M. (2000). Evaluation of treatments for separation anxiety in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 217(3), 342–345.
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My Dog Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden