It’s a simple but sad fact of life; not everybody will like us, and we won’t like everybody else we meet. It’s just not possible for us to like everything about everyone, and it’s natural for us to find people annoying or difficult to deal with. That said, did you know the same is true for dogs? And not just how we feel about them, but how they feel about us, too! 

Below, our dedicated team of loving pet experts from All Paws Express will delve into the key factors that dog owners need to consider if they’re worried their furry companion doesn’t like them as much as they may want. We’ll list some key characteristics and behaviors to look out for that may indicate your dog’s genuine opinion about you and what you can do to win their affection!

Related: How To Show Your Dog You Love Them

Do Some Dogs Dislike Their Owners?

While we may associate dogs with the idea of endless affection, slobbery kisses, and belly scratches, that affection isn’t truly guaranteed. People need to keep in mind that all dogs are individuals with unique preferences, likes, and dislikes. While some dogs like baths, others hate them, and while some like fetch, others aren’t interested. Similarly, while some (probably even most) dogs may like you, some won’t. However, that’s not to say there isn’t anything you can do to help them come around, but we’ll talk about that later.

What Does it Mean if Your Dog Doesn’t Like You?

Honestly, a dog not liking someone is a lot like when a person doesn’t like someone, and some of the reasons why they might not like a particular person can also be pretty similar. For example, if a dog doesn’t like you, they may find some of your behaviors annoying, especially if you constantly do things that a lot of dogs are known to hate, like getting in their face, hugging them, teasing them, or yelling at them. 

Think about it; those things probably wouldn’t make many humans like you either.

However, there are other reasons your dog may not like you much. For example, maybe you remind them of someone who abused or abandoned them when they were younger- which can be a real possibility for rescue dogs. Perhaps you had a bad first encounter and accidentally scared or made them feel uncomfortable, and they remember that. It’s also possible that they lack experience with socializing. Even something as minor as the smell of your soap or shampoo could remind them of something they don’t like, and they’re connecting that to you!

Related: Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?

The Top Behaviors and Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You 

A very nervous-looking dog in a harness.

While they aren’t always apparent to us, dogs demonstrate explicit behaviors that indicate when they might not like us very much or even feel downright uncomfortable and scared around us. The following are the top signs and behaviors you need to be on the lookout for if you’re worried your dog may not like you.

  • They cower or hide when you’re around
  • They tuck their tail between their legs when they see you (and notably don’t wag their tail)
  • Their body stiffens, or fur stands up in your presence
  • They flatten their ears or arch their backs around you
  • They display nervous, fearful, or anxious ticks when you’re around
  • They don’t accept or are hesitant to take treats from you
  • They refuse to play or cuddle with you
  • They seem to prefer spending time with someone else
  • They leave the room when you enter it and actively try to keep their distance
  • They carefully track your movements
  • They try to avoid eye contact and look away from you
  • They make excessive eye contact or try to assert dominance
  • They don’t like being touched or pet by you (and may yowl when you try)
  • They chew up or pee on your things
  • They ignore your commands
  • They avoid sleeping around you
  • They refuse to eat around you
  • They bark at you excessively
  • They growl, bare their teeth, scratch, or bite at you if you approach

It’s essential to note that some dogs may exhibit these behaviors for reasons other than not liking you. For example, some breeds of dogs are naturally skittish and tuck their tails between their legs, some bark a lot, and some may be stubborn and enjoy not taking orders- especially if they’re untrained. However, suppose you notice that your dog exhibits several of these behaviors when you’re around, especially over an extended period. In that case, you should take it as a good indication that they may have a few problems with you and probably don’t enjoy your presence much.

Please send us a message at All Paws Express today!

What Should You Do if Your Dog Doesn’t Like You?

A large dog lying on the floor.

The good news is that it’s often easier to get a dog to like you than another human, and there are lots of tactics you can leverage to help them warm up to you and eventually develop the kind of affection we generally associate with our fuzzy friends. If you want to change your dog’s opinion and get them to like you, try;

  1. Use positive reinforcement training instead of scolding them for not behaving how you want them to. This training tactic is well known to be highly effective and will help them learn that you’re not a threat. 
  2. Don’t try to punish them for their behavior.
  3. Don’t push the issue, get frustrated, or try to force an interaction. It would help if you let your dog come to you at their own pace and give them the space they need to feel comfortable while being kind and reassuring. 
  4. Avoid doing anything that may frighten or threaten them, like making sudden movements or trying to chase them.
  5. Try to associate your presence with positive things that the dog enjoys, like their favorite treats and toys.
  6. Take them on lots of walks and play with them often to help them work off some of their energy and help them connect you to activities they like to do.
  7. Not all dogs like to be pet the same way, so be sure to find out what your dog prefers and use that method to give them all of the stitches they deserve.
  8. Establish rules and routines to help build their confidence in the world around them.
  9. Pay close attention to their body language, and don’t ignore what they’re trying to tell you. This will likely take practice and some trial and error, but dogs use their body language to communicate their feelings. If you pay more attention to their posture and facial expression, you can often learn their likes and dislikes. 
  10. Avoid stressful behavior or doing things they’re known to typically dislike, like hiding them, touching their feet or claws, getting in their face, or blowing on them.

In the end, you must show your dog the love, respect, and attention they deserve while balancing that with giving them plenty of space to adjust. It may take a while, and there’s always the possibility that your dog still won’t like you much, even after everything, but following the above tips should at least give you a strong fighting chance at earning their love and respect in return.

Related: How To Stop Your Dog From Digging: A Complete Guide

Final Thoughts and Considerations to Keep in Mind

Not liking people and people not liking us is an unfortunate truth of life, and the same is true for our dogs. Sometimes there are cases where a dog doesn’t like their owner, and its owners need to recognize the potential signs of that being the case and then do what they can to remedy the issue. By keeping the above information in mind, you should be better able to determine your dog’s feelings about you and take measures to help ensure they are happy, healthy, and enjoying their life as part of your family.

Our team of passionate pet lovers at All Paws Express hopes this article can help you grow closer to your fuzzy buddy going forward so that they’ll come to like you as much as you like them! To learn more about other essential pet information, please consider exploring our website and browsing through our wide selection of other great educational resources.

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