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What to Do if Your Dog Hates You

 
By Marta SarasĂșa, Psychologist. January 14, 2022
What to Do if Your Dog Hates You

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If you share your daily life with a dog, you will notice its tremendous behavioral and cognitive complexity, as well as its ability to feel and express a wide range of emotions. Many people anthropomorphize and misinterpret their dogs' behavior, leading them to conclude that their animals hate them, but the truth is that dogs do not "hate" others, at least not in the same way we do. The level of affection that dogs show to their owners depends on the relationship that they establish, as well as the experiences that the dog has had before. So, if you suspect that your dog "hates" you, it is very likely that there is something wrong with his upbringing or the way you communicate with your dog.

In this AnimalWised article, we will analyze different aspects that could be disturbing or affecting your relationship with your dog. We will give you some tips on how to improve your relationship and how to find out where the problem lies in order to fix it.

You may also be interested in: What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog

1. Your dog rejects you and avoids physical contact due to a lack of socialization

The period between three weeks and three months in a puppy's life is called the sensitive phase of the puppy's socialization. It corresponds to a period when their nervous system is best prepared to absorb, process and adapt to new information. As the puppy grows, they need to explore the world around it to learn how to cope with and adapt to the stimuli in its environment.

If puppies are separated from their mothers too early (before the age of eight weeks), are socially isolated during the socialization period, or have numerous negative experiences at a young age, they are likely to develop anxiety-related behavioral disorders. Many of the dogs in shelters have experienced one or more of these scenarios and therefore are very fearful.

If you adopt a dog and you notice him rejecting you, avoiding physical contact, or showing signs of threat, this could be the cause. In his sensitive phase, your dog may have never had a healthy relationship with a human and is therefore very anxious. In this case, you should consult a dog ethologist or an educator who works with positive reinforcement to find out how best to interact with the dog so that they gradually learn to trust you.

If you are wondering what to do in case you find an abandoned or lost dog in the street, keep reading this article on what to do if you find a lost dog.

2. Your dog hides from you or treats you differently due to traumatic experiences

It is undoubtedly traumatic for a puppy to be isolated or prematurely separated from its mother during the socialization period, but these experiences are not the only ones that can cause behavioral problems. If a dog experiences physical or psychological abuse from a human, they may develop a pathological fear of people in general, regardless of their age or stage of development. They may also show this reaction towards people similar to those who abused him.

There are many animals in shelters and kennels that have been mistreated, and it can take a long time for them to trust people. Again, we must emphasize that their behavior, even their aggressiveness, is based on fear, not resentment or hatred. Therefore, it is ideal to work with a professional who can give us clear guidelines on how to deal with this situation.

If you want to know why is a good thing to adopt a stray dog and why they can make wonderful partners, keep reading this article on 10 reasons to adopt a stray dog.

What to Do if Your Dog Hates You - 2. Your dog hides from you or treats you differently due to traumatic experiences

3. Your dog ignores you or attacks you due to inconsistent rules or punishment-based training

The dog owner's parenting strategy is often one of the reasons for a bad relationship. Every home should have a set of rules that must be clear, consistent and communicated in a way that takes into account the feelings of the animal. Instead, if it is sometimes accepted on the sofa and other times scolded, or if each family member makes their own rules, the animal is in an unpredictable environment. This situation can cause anxiety and confusion and eventually lead to behavior problems.

In addition, the use of physical punishment such as choke, prong, or electric collars, as well as intimidation as a training method, seriously affects the dog's well-being and causes fear and reactions that can easily be misinterpreted as hatred.

If you want to learn how to educate your dog, don't miss this article on basic dogs commands.

4. Your dog growls at you or shows his teeth due to anxiety

The language of a dog is extremely comprehensive and complex. Through facial expressions, body posture, and vocalizations, dogs communicate a wide range of intentions and emotions, both with humans and with other animals. When we adopt a dog, it is important to train and understand these signs, because communication is at the heart of any relationship, even between different species of animals.

Since dogs watch us closely every day, they quickly learn the meaning of our gestures, words and facial expressions. We, on the other hand, usually take longer to understand them. For example, we assume that a dog wagging its tail is happy, when in reality this can be interpreted in different ways depending on context and movement.

To know if our dog is uncomfortable or needs space, we need to understand the "calm" signals (yawning, licking, turning face, etc.) and the "threatening" signals (growling, showing teeth, marking, etc.). If we pay attention to these signals and avoid forcing our dog into uncomfortable situations, their trust in us will grow.

If you want to help your dog to socialize with other dogs, keep reading this article on how to introduce your dog to a new dog.

5. Your dog is nervous due to a lack of stimulation

For our dog's well-being and to build a lasting bond with them, we need to spend a lot of time with them and stimulate them physically and mentally. A lack of stimulation can cause a dog to exhibit negative behaviors such as nervousness, excessive barking, etc. Stress and anxiety are often the result of not being able to channel their energy or stimulate their mind.

Living with a dog means spending time together, doing enjoyable activities and having positive experiences. Dogs are sociable creatures, they need interaction with other people. The dog needs walks, training sessions, playtime and of course moments of relaxation and cuddling to build a secure and healthy bond with us and develop a stronger sense of affection.

The same goes for activities and challenges that encourage their decision making, make them think and stimulate them on a cognitive level. Methods we can use include skill training with positive reinforcement or using interactive toys and puzzles that can be solved alone or with our help. By doing this and providing them with the physical exercise they need based on age, size, breed and health status, the dog will flourish and their relationship with their caretaker will improve.

So if you notice that your dog is barking at you, showing their teeth, hiding from you or refusing to be petted, it does not mean that they hate you, it simply means that something is wrong and this is their way of telling you. Therefore, you must determine what is causing their behavior and treat it in order to improve your relationship with them.

If you want to know more about how to keep your dog stimulated at home, keep reading this article on 6 games to play with your dog indoors.

If you want to read similar articles to What to Do if Your Dog Hates You, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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