If your dog has been avoiding looking at you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog avoid looking at me? Possible reasons why your dog avoids looking at you are that it is being submissive, it thinks it’s in trouble, it feels intimidated, depression or that the behavior gets rewarded.
There are a number of possible reasons why it might have been doing it but there are also a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should be easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog avoids looking at you
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
Staring can be considered as aggressive behavior by dogs. If your dog has been avoiding looking at you when you have been looking at it yourself, the cause could be that it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it also shows other submissive behavior by doing things such as making itself appear smaller, moving away from you and hiding its tail.
It thinks it’s in trouble
The cause might also be that it thinks it is in trouble. This would be more likely if it tends to avoid looking at you when you have gotten annoyed with it. In this case, it would help to try to change its behavior with the use of positive reinforcement training or Nothing In Life Is Free dog training instead of using a fear based approach.
The cause could also be that your actions have been intimidating it. This would be more likely if you tend to approach it in an aggressive manner, you shout at it a lot or make large movements around it. Instead, it would help to be calm around it and to change its behavior with training.
The cause might also be that something has caused it to be depressed. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, since an event that might have caused it to get depressed, and if it has been behaving differently in other ways as well.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it avoids looking at you. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it does not look at you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it looks at you but to stop giving it rewards or attention when it stops.
If your dog is still a puppy, the cause might be that it is going through a more frightful period. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been behaving unusually in other ways as well. If the behavior persists, it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup.
A traumatic event
It could also be the case that there was a traumatic event that has changed its behavior. This would be more likely if it started doing it suddenly after an event such as an owner leaving or something being violent towards it. Again, if the behavior persists, it would help to get help from a vet or a dog behaviorist.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started not to look at you
If your dog did not always avoid looking at you, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as a traumatic event, someone being aggressive towards it or an injury.
What is different when it does it
If it does not always avoid looking at you, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not avoid looking at you. For example, if it does not look at you when you have been talking loudly, it could be the case that it feels intimidated.
What to do about your dog not looking at you
Below are some things to do in order to get your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has been doing it due to the behavior getting rewarded. Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it does look at you and to stop giving it rewards when it stops looking at you.
Be calm around it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your own behavior has been causing it to get intimidated. It would help to interact with your dog in a calm manner and to try to get it to behave the way you want it to with positive reinforcement training instead of fear based methods.
If your dog has been doing it excessively or you cannot get your dog to stop doing it, another option would be to get help from a vet or dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing your dog to behave that way and what can be done about it.