We call dogs our best friends for a reason. We form strong bonds with our pets. Some people even go so far as to call themselves parents of the animals they keep. It’s not surprising then that a pup that doesn’t want to hang around with you would get your attention. That’s indeed true if it’s a sudden change in behavior.
Some reasons aren’t a cause for concern. Others warrant some investigation to get to their cause. We suggest noting when it happened and what other events occurred at the same time. It may help give you the answers you need to get to the bottom of the question. That’s particularly true if the change occurred suddenly in a normally outgoing pet.
1. The Personality of Different Dog Breeds
The personalities of dogs are as varied as people. Selective breeding can play a significant role. For example, Chow Chows are not as outgoing as a Golden Retriever. They may even seem almost cat-like in their behavior.
Often, dogs that have done loner-type of work, such as herding breeds, may have that independent streak hardwired into their personalities. Surprisingly, some show these traits even as puppies.
Dogs aren’t too different from people when it comes to wearing their emotions on their proverbial sleeves. It’s not hard to figure out when your pup is excited for a walk or sad because its best friend is at school or work. Some pets can get depressed following life-changing events, such as losing an owner or going to a new home.
3. Mirroring Your Feelings
Your pet can read your emotions better than you may think. It comes from thousands of years of domestication and living together. If you’re feeling upset, the chances are that your pup will mirror those feelings. Just like you want to be alone, your dog might want to do the same thing. Remember that canines have many of the same hormones that humans do, which can explain their response.
4. Other Mental Health Issues
Rescued pets sometimes come with emotional baggage that includes mental health issues. Some things may trigger negative emotions in them, making them want to hide. It’s helpful to get the history of your dog to avoid situations that may bring back those painful memories.
When a pet isn’t feeling well, instincts often take over its responses. That applies to situations when it may feel vulnerable, such as when it’s sick. Many animals hide when they feel this way to protect themselves from predators and other threats. We suggest noting where your dog is going to be alone. This behavior often causes them to seek odd places that they usually won’t use.
Pain often brings about the same behavior as being sick. Again, the pup knows it’s vulnerable. It’s probably confused and frightened. Some dogs will want to hide and lick their wounds in peace—literally. Bear in mind that the pain may cause your pet to growl or snap. That’s its survival instinct in action and doesn’t reflect its devotion to you.
As dogs age, hanging around in places with lots of activity may not be as enjoyable to them. They may look for quieter areas to get away from the noise and, perhaps, take a nap. This behavior may occur gradually. Your pet may seem less active and less enthusiastic about play. If your pup has arthritis, it may feel uncomfortable and spend more time alone.
The first thing you should do is take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination. Some chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, can cause similar behavioral changes. It’s essential to rule them out before making changes in your pet’s routine. The vet may also suggest discussing the issue with a dog behaviorist if the alone time is accompanied by unwanted actions, such as aggression.
If your vet has ruled out any medical conditions, you can try to rebuild your relationship with your pet. Spending more time together and playing can coax your pup into being less solitary. Of course, treats work wonders on that score. If walks aren’t a part of the routine, now is an excellent time to change it a daily habit. It will give your dog something to look forward to and improve its mood.
Some dogs prefer their alone time, especially if you’ve crate-trained them. They might be used to not having anyone around and stick with the routine they know. However, sudden changes in behavior are a cause for concern. There’s often a reason why your pup is avoiding family members. However, you can help a shy pet become more social. It takes patience and understanding to build those bonds.
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