How Do You Know if Your Dog Doesn’t Like You?

by | Aug 23, 2023 | General Information

Ever felt like your furry bestie is giving you the cold shoulder?

In this article, we’ll dive deep into why that might happen, how to spot the signs, and most importantly, how to rebuild that special bond!


Key Takeaways

  • Anything from past traumatic experiences to a bad vibe might cause your dog’s dislike toward you.
  • When they feel uncomfortable, dogs use body language cues to communicate their feelings.
  • Understanding your dog’s behavioral issues and calling in a dog trainer will help re-establish a healthy relationship between you and your furry friend.


Why Does My Dog Hate Me?

Reasons why your dog hates you

If you notice signs that your dog “hates” you, there’s usually a reason behind them.

Here’s the lowdown:

  1. A Past Traumatic Experience: Like humans, dogs remember when something bad happens. If a person has mistreated or scared them in the past, a dog might associate all humans or just certain types of people with that negative experience.
  2. Lack of Socialization: Dogs, especially when they’re puppies, need to meet and hang out with lots of people. If they get this experience, they will avoid becoming fearful or suspicious of unfamiliar humans.
  3. Your Dog Feels Threatened: Sometimes, our actions may seem threatening to a dog, even if we don’t mean it. Imagine a big, tall person leaning right over a tiny dog — that may not be very safe from the dog’s perspective!
  4. Health Issues: If your dog isn’t feeling well, they might not be in the mood for human interaction. It’s not that they hate you, but they might be more irritable or want to be left alone.
  5. Territorial Behavior: Dogs have this instinct to protect their space. If an unfamiliar person enters their home or territory, the dog might see them as an intruder and act defensively.
  6. Reading Human Emotions: Dogs are super bright and will pick up on our feelings. The dog will sense if a person is scared or nervous around canines, making them uneasy.


14 Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You

14 signs your dog doesn't like you

Your Dog is Tracking Your Every Move

Dogs are observant creatures, and their primary way of understanding the world is through watching and sniffing. If a dog feels uneasy about someone, they’ll keep an eye on that person — “I don’t trust you, so I’m watching you.”

Dogs have their space bubble, just like we do. If someone they’re not fond of gets too close, they’ll keep an extra close watch, ensuring their territory isn’t invaded.

If you ever notice a dog intensely watching someone, it could be their way of saying, “I’ve got my eyes on you because I’m not too sure about you!” Giving such a dog some space and avoiding sudden moves is always healthy. Remember, they’re just trying to feel safe in their space!


The Absence of Direct Eye Contact

You know how sometimes, when you’re feeling a bit miffed at someone, you give them the cold shoulder or avoid looking at them? Dogs have their version of the silent treatment: avoiding eye contact.

If you’re trying to get a dog’s attention, and they’re consistently looking everywhere but your eyes, it’s a clear sign they’re not too thrilled with you. It’s their gentle way of showing discomfort or displeasure without getting all barky about it.

In the dog world, eye contact is essential. A direct stare can be seen as a challenge. So, if they’re not looking at you, they might be trying to avoid any confrontation. It’s like saying, “I’d rather not deal with you.”

So, the next time you see a dog avoiding eye contact, remember they’re peacefully expressing their feelings.


Your Dog is Hiding or Cowering From You

Dog hiding from parent

When a dog hides or cowers from someone, it’s an obvious sign that something’s off. Dogs will slink away, duck their heads, tuck their tails, or even find a cozy corner to hide in if they’re feeling unsure or uneasy around someone.

Dogs, just like us, have their comfort zones. If they sense something’s off with a person, maybe from negative experiences or just a vibe they’re getting, they’d rather stay out of the spotlight. Cowering or hiding is their way of saying, “Hey, I’m not feeling this interaction.”

If they’re consistently acting this way around someone, it’s their way of sending out a doggy distress signal. They’re telling us they’re uncomfortable or even scared. It’s always best to pay attention to these signs and ensure our furry pals feel safe and loved.


Your Dog is Keeping a Safe Distance From You

A dog not keen on being around someone often keeps a bit of a gap. It’s their version of “social distancing.” They might hang back, choose a spot further away, or take a few steps back if you approach them. It’s like they have an imaginary line they don’t want to be crossed.

It’s not about being antisocial or moody. Dogs are honest about their feelings. If they’re staying away, they’re telling you in dog language, “Hey, I’m not super comfortable around you right now.” It’s their way of handling the situation without getting all barky or growly.

And just like we respect our friends’ personal space, it’s cool to do the same for dogs. Everyone, even our four-legged pals, has days when they need a little room to breathe. If your dog’s taking a step back, let them chill and give them some space.


Refusing Treats From You

Treats are often a dog’s favorite, like how we adore our beloved snacks. But if a dog is not taking a treat from someone, especially if it’s a treat they usually go bonkers for, it’s a pretty clear message that they’re not cool with that person. It’s not about the snack but about who’s offering it.

Now, this doesn’t mean the dog will never like the person. At that moment, they’re showing they need some time and space.

If a dog says “no, thanks” to a treat, it’s a good idea to step back, be patient, and let them come to you when ready. But if they consistently turn down treats from a particular person, it’s a sign they might not feel the best vibes from them.


Your Dog’s Hackles are Standing Up

You know when you get goosebumps because something feels off or you’re spooked? Dogs have their version of goosebumps, and it’s called “raising their hackles” (that is, the hairs along a dog’s spine).

By raising their hackles, dogs react to something that’s making them uneasy. It could be a strange noise, another animal, or even someone they dislike.

It’s not just about disliking someone. When dogs raise their hackles, they tap into their deep, ancient instincts. Long ago, wild dogs would puff up to look bigger and scarier if they felt threatened. Today’s dogs still carry this instinct, even if they’re just fluffy couch potatoes.

Give your dog some space, and figure out what’s making them feel that way. And for the person they’re reacting to? It might be time to work on building some trust and positive vibes with the pup.


Your Dog Growls at You

Dog barking at parent

Growling is a dog’s way of setting a boundary or giving a warning. It’s not always about aggression; sometimes, it’s more about fear, uncertainty, or just wanting to keep their space.

If a dog growls when a specific person is around or tries to interact, it’s a clear sign that they’re not cool with what’s happening. Maybe that person once stepped on their tail, or perhaps the dog doesn’t vibe with their energy.

Always listen to your dog’s growling — don’t scold them for communicating. Instead, recognize the signal, give the dog its space, and work on understanding why the dog feels that way towards that particular person.


Your Dog Barks at You

You know that moment when you’re just minding your business, and suddenly a dog goes off, barking like you stole its favorite toy?

Barking is a dog’s go-to method to shout out loud and clear, “Hey, I see you, and I’m not sure I like you right now!” Dogs don’t have words like we do, so they use barks to communicate a whole range of emotions. It could be because they’re unsure about someone, feel threatened, or want that person to stay away from their territory.

Pay attention to what might be setting the dog off and try to make the situation more comfortable for everyone.


Your Dog Attempts to Bite You

Dog biting

When a dog decides to go all out and take a nip at someone, it’s their intense way of saying, “Back off, buddy! I really don’t like this.”

Dogs usually give several warnings before they resort to biting. They might growl, raise their hackles, or show other signs of being uncomfortable. If those warnings are ignored, that’s when they might feel like they have no choice but to bite.

So, if you ever encounter a dog trying to tell you they’re unhappy, it’s wise to listen and give them space. After all, understanding and respecting a dog’s feelings can go a long way in building trust and avoiding those not-so-friendly snaps.


No Tail Wagging

We often think of tail-wagging as a dog’s way of giving us a big, happy “hello!” But what if a dog isn’t wagging their tail? Sometimes, that’s their way of saying, “I’m not feeling this situation, and I’m not too thrilled about you right now.”

When a dog’s tail is still or held low, they’re unsure or uneasy about something (or someone). Just like humans have different facial expressions to show how we feel, dogs use their tails to communicate emotions. If you’re expecting a cheerful wag from a pup and you get nothing, it might be a clue that they’re not into whatever is happening.

Every dog is different. Some are naturally more chill and might not wag their tails as much. But if a usually perky-tailed pup suddenly stops wagging around a certain person or in a particular situation, that could be their way of telling you, “Hey, I’m not a fan of this.”


Your Dog Doesn’t Obey Commands

When a dog decides not to obey a command, it’s like their way of saying, “You’re not the boss of me!” Dogs are good at picking up on vibes and feelings. So, if they sense something off about a person or aren’t their biggest fan, they might turn off their “listening ears” and do their own thing.

They might also feel uncomfortable, unsure, nervous, or just not into the person giving the orders. They’re protesting a little, saying, “I don’t trust you enough to do what you’re asking.”

If a dog who usually listens well suddenly starts ignoring commands from a specific person, that dog’s behavior is their way of putting up an “I’m not cool with you” flag. Recognizing this sign and understanding what makes the dog feel this way is essential.


Your Dog’s Ears are Flattened

Dogs’ ears are a mood ring, giving hints about how they feel inside.

Picture this: You’re watching a movie, and suddenly, there’s a tense, edge-of-your-seat moment. You lean forward, eyebrows scrunched, biting your lip. When dogs feel nervous, wary, or not-so-friendly towards someone, they might flatten their ears against their head.

Flattening the ears isn’t just a fashion statement. It’s a protective move, too. By laying them flat, dogs are trying to keep them safe, like you’d tuck in your arms if someone tossed snowballs your way.

It’s essential to give the dog space and figure out what’s causing them to feel this way, especially towards a specific person. It’s all about understanding and respect. And who knows? With time and patience, that dog might warm up and flip those ears back into happy mode!


Engaging in Destructive Behavior

You had a super rough day at school. Your math test was a nightmare, and someone accidentally spilled juice all over your favorite sneakers. You come home, feeling all these pent-up emotions, and accidentally slam a door or throw your bag a bit too hard on the floor. Emotions are tough sometimes!

Dogs, in their own way, have similar feelings. They’re not equipped with words to say, “I’m not a fan of you right now.” Instead, they might act out by chewing up shoes, tearing apart couch cushions, or digging holes in the backyard. It’s their version of slamming a door.

Your dog isn’t trying to be naughty on purpose. This destructive behavior is their way of saying, “I’m feeling some type of way, and I don’t know how else to show it.” They could be stressed, anxious, or frustrated with someone they’re not keen on.

The key is for pet owners to remember that this isn’t about revenge or being mean. It’s all about communicating their feelings the only way they know how. It might be time to have a little heart-to-paw chat with your pup and figure out what’s bugging them.


Urinating/Defecating on Your Things

Dog urinating and defecating on the floor

Dogs don’t have words or the luxury of giving their owner the silent treatment. Instead, when they’re upset or want to show they’re not happy with someone, they might do something pretty gross: pee or poop on that person’s belongings!

Finding a surprise puddle on your bed or a stinky “gift” in your shoe is never pleasant. But for the dog, it’s like leaving a note saying, “I have feelings about you, and right now, they’re not the best!” It’s not because they’re trying to be mean; they’re just expressing their emotions in one of the only ways they know how.

This doesn’t mean you should let it slide. It’s essential to address the issue and understand why the dog feels this way towards someone. But remember, this isn’t about being spiteful or vengeful. It’s all about canine communication.

So, the next time there’s an unexpected “message” left for someone, know that it’s the dog’s way of expressing some strong feelings, and it might be time for some detective work and understanding!


What Should I Do if My Dog Doesn’t Like Me?

First, remember that every dog is unique. Just like some people need time to warm up to others, most dogs need their sweet time to get comfortable around you. It’s essential to be patient. Spend quality time with your pup, sitting quietly together, talking softly, and offering gentle pets — no need to force the cuddles.

Second, dogs are super bright and can pick up on our vibes. So, if you’re stressed or anxious, they might sense it and act distant. Stay calm and positive around them; it’ll make a world of difference.

Third, treats can be an excellent way to a dog’s heart. But don’t overdo it, and make sure the treats are dog-friendly.

Finally, if you’ve tried everything and things still seem off, it’s time to get help. The excellent trainers at K9 Basics can step in and offer advice, helping bridge the gap between humans and their furry friends. They’ll have tips, tricks, and guidance to ensure you and your pup become the best buds in no time!

Call us at (866) 592-2742 or, if you’re from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New York, visit us at 131 Kenilworth Road, Marlton, New Jersey 08053, to learn more about our obedience training services. Also, browse our blog and social media for various topics about dogs and their lives with us!



  1. “Can Dogs Break Their Tails?” Volhard Dog Nutrition, Accessed 22 Aug. 2023.