7 Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You (UNEXPECTED!)

You’re probably looking forward to hugging and cuddling your canine friend after a long day. 

But for some reason, he seems aloof, avoiding any affectionate gestures. What could be the problem? Although dogs are a man’s best friend, there are instances they downright don’t like us. 

signs your dog doesn't like you
7 Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You (Explained)

You could be reminding them of an unfortunate event that made them fearful, or your behavior comes off aggressive making them dislike you. 

Whatever his reasons, look out for these seven signs your dog doesn’t like you and find ways to address them.

1. Growling at You

Typically, dogs growl when they are uncomfortable or fearful about a situation. Most of them use it as a warning to make something stop, e.g., a stranger from patting his head. My pup would growl at other dogs when they came too close to say ‘back off.’ But when he started growling at me, it was a clear sign he no longer liked me.

He often growled every time I moved him to his bed and during late-night potty time. Sleep and potty training weren’t all rosy, as I often scolded and yelled at him when he rebelled. Although he learned the cue to go to sleep, he associated it with the negative experiences and began disliking me.

I learned to avoid yelling or punishing him as it damages trust between us and hardly corrects his behavior. Sometimes it worsened his aggression towards me.

dog growls
A dog growls to someone coming near him.

2. He Doesn’t Want to be Touched

Most dogs are affectionate and love being touched and cuddled; if that’s not the case with yours, it could be he dislikes you. 

This was the case with my pup, as he often resisted any affectionate gesture from me. He no longer leaned in to cuddle me back — rather, he pulled away, looking for a way to escape. 

It could be yours isn’t accustomed to touch, but if he suddenly develops resistance, it’s a sign he doesn’t like you. 

Boston Terrier sitting with owner
Boston Terrier sitting with his owner on a couch.

3. He Avoids Looking at You

He may also avoid any eye contact with you, moving away every time you get close. Although direct eye contact is a sign of aggression among dogs, they hardly perceive it as such if you’ve raised them as pets.

Pet dogs love fixing gazes at their pet owners to show affection. Studies show eye contact between humans and dogs stimulates the release of oxytocin, the love hormone. It is released in various other situations, including interactions between a child and a mother. 

This means direct eye contact with your pup signifies he loves you. If otherwise, it indicates he dislikes you. It could be the bond between the two of you is weak, and he avoids eye contact to communicate the lack of it. 

He may also be angry and upset, avoid any interaction, including eye contact, and move away, sometimes sleeping in another room.

You may try to be affectionate by giving him treats, but he’ll probably want to be left alone. If that’s the case, it’s best to give him space and allow him to trust you enough to develop a bond naturally. You may also do something relaxing like listening to soft music or reading a book.

Great Dane owner
Great Dane with his owner in a blue background.

4. He Barks at You Excessively

Dogs often bark when they are happy to see you. They may even jump at you, wooing you to play, but when they bark excessively, it shows they dislike you. 

Typically, dogs bark excessively at strangers when separated from their owners and are bored and frustrated. If the latter, the barks are accompanied by whines and howls because they have little or nothing to do. More attention and exercise could help relieve the boredom and reinforce good behavior.

However, when the dog barks at you every time you approach him, you may need to investigate if you did something to upset him. In such scenarios, the dog gets aggressive and may charge at you.

Yorkie barking
Yorkie barking at the stranger.

5. He Refuses to Wag His Tail When He Sees You

A telltale sign that a dog is excited to see you is wagging his tail. He will hold the tail higher than its natural position and wag it furiously. This behavior is evident when playing with other dogs. Sometimes he adopts a playful stance with the bottom elevated, inviting you to play with him.

However, if he dislikes you, he may tuck away his tail. It could be he feels scared, nervous, or extremely submissive around you. Some dogs tuck the tail against their belly or between the rear legs, especially when feeling defensive.

Remember, dogs are emotional, and if scolded or spoken to sternly, they recoil and avoid their master. Talking softly and soothingly re-establishes trust. 

dog has tail between legs and acting weird
4 reasons a dog has a tail between its legs and acts weird.

6. He Ignores Your Commands

You may have spent weeks or even months training your dog to obey simple cues like sit, stay or stop and you are confident he can obey these commands. However, a few months down, he no longer listens to you; instead, he glares at you and ignores your commands.

Although many reasons explain his rebellion, one of them could be he dislikes you. You may have upset them, or their environment could be uncomfortable, and the best way to communicate their feelings is by ignoring you.

When upset, stressed, or sad, you may create an uncomfortable environment, and your dog senses it. Your feelings influence your dog’s reaction, and taking steps to calm yourself down creates a more relaxed environment for your dog to obey commands and develop a loving relationship.

Beagle reluctant to walk
A Beagle refuses to walk. Grr!

7. He Flattens His Ears

Dogs use their ears as a communication tool, and understanding their varying positions helps them learn a lot about their emotions. Typically, dogs keep their ears pinned back when relaxed. Most of them adopt this posture when getting head pats or kisses. 

However, if the ears are pinned backward or flattens against the head, it indicates they are anxious, afraid, or dislike you. Most dogs adopt this posture when feeling defensive, and the tighter they hold their ears backward, the more fearful they become. 

Ear scratches and belly rubs could ease the behavior, but it’s essential to look out for other triggers. The chances are that he’ll forget what you did to upset him as soon as you show some tender loving care.

Spanish Greyhound ears are back
Close-up photo of a Spanish Greyhound with its ears back.

How Do I Get My Dog to Like Me?

If your dog has been exhibiting any of these seven signs, it could be he dislikes you, and you need to re-establish trust with them. Probably, help him associate your presence with good things. Here are a few tips I found helpful:

Keep Calm

I noted my pup exhibited most of the signs when I was upset. He could sense it and often responded by avoiding me. As a result, I learned to keep my cool when around him and speak softly.

Goldendoodle carried by her owner
A well behaved Goldendoodle carried by her owner.

Be Affectionate

You don’t have to designate a particular time to bond or play; rather, develop a habit of giving him belly rubs, gentle scratches, and patting him throughout the day. Regular physical contact reassures him about your love and care. He’ll also respond to these little interactions positively, e.g., by looking at you affectionately or sticking his tongue out.

Goldendoodle getting a belly rub
A Goldendoodle getting a belly rub from his owner.

Go for a Walk Regularly

Sometimes dogs dislike their masters because you’re not bonding. Walking two or three times a day is an excellent way to bond while shedding a few extra pounds. And if he’s a sucker for walking, consider going for longer walks as a special treat.

woman walking with dog
A woman walks with her dog by the seashore.

Develop Positive Reinforcement Training

If his behavior began after training, it could be you were too hard on him. He probably associates specific cues with negative reinforcement. You can re-train him, but this time uses positive reinforcement, e.g., giving him his favorite treat or praising him when he follows your command. 

child petting a Shiba Inu
Child petting a Shiba Inu puppy.

Groom Him

Dogs love the people who groom and feed them. If you’ve been delegating this chore to a family member, it’s time you get back at it. You can schedule the grooming sessions once or twice a week, and when feeding him, do it by hand once in a while.

grooming Doberman
Shaving Doberman’s face by his owner.

Avoid Punishing Him When He Misbehaves

You don’t need to punish him when he misbehaves. Instead, redirect his behavior and reward him when he obeys. Avoid yelling or hitting him, too, because it only frightens him and makes him dislike you. Positive reinforcement is all about redirecting his behavior until he learns how to do it correctly.

scared dog
A dog appears scared – what is the cause?

Bring Him on Your Trips

You may have developed a habit of leaving your dog behind when traveling. The distance makes it difficult to bond after the trip, causing him to dislike you. If this has been the case, start bringing him to your trips. Look for dog-friendly beaches, parks, and hotels.  

red dog carrier
A particularly happy and fluffy dog in a red pet carrier.

Signs Your Dog Doesn’t Like You: Final Thoughts

Making your dog like you again might be an uphill task but worthwhile if you’re committed. Be sure to identify these seven signs your dog doesn’t like you early to remedy the situation before it escalates.

You may also need to determine any triggers for the behavior change. Some dog breeds like the Pekingese are downright stubborn and rebellious, and at times the dog associates your presence with past traumatic experiences.

Do you want to be the best dog parent? Check us out for guides and inspirational content to mend your relationship with your canine friend.