If your dog does not like someone, 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 doesn’t my dog like a certain person? Common reasons why dogs don’t like certain people are being naturally protective, the person mistreating it, the person is nervous, the person has threatening body language or that the person has an unusual smell on them.

There are actually multiple reasons why your dog might not like a certain person and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there is a number of things you can do about it.

Why your dog does not like a certain person

Below is a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.

The person mistreated it

The cause might be that the person mistreated your dog. This would be more likely if your dog did like that person in the past but it stopped liking the person suddenly. It would also be more likely if your dog does normally like other people. However, it could still be the case that your dog does not like this specific person for other reasons, as mentioned below, such as the person having an unusual scent or being nervous.

Someone similar mistreated it in the past

Another possible cause is that your dog was mistreated by a similar person in the past. This would be more likely if your dog was adopted when it was an adult and if it does not like specific people in general.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it behaves like it does not like the person, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

It thinks the person has threatening body language

Another possible cause is that your dog thinks that the person has threatening body language. This would be more likely if the person tends to make large or threatening looking movements around your dog.

The person is nervous

Dogs can pick up on a person’s scent. When a person is nervous, they will give off phermones that your dog can pick up on. It might be the case that the person is being nervous and your dog is picking up on the phermones which is causing your dog to also behave differently.

Nature

It could be the case that your dog has been doing it naturally. If your dog has not met someone before, it might be the case that it thinks that the person is a threat. This would be more likely if it is naturally hesitant around most people at first.

The person is wearing a strong perfume or cologne

If the person tends to wear a strong perfume or cologne, it might also be the case that your dog is reacting to the smell. This would be more likely if your dog does not always have an issue with the particular person.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog does it.

What else happened when your dog first started doing it

If your dog did not always behave that way, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that your dog learned that the behavior is rewarded, your dog learned that the behavior is rewarded, the person was wearing an unusual perfume or cologne or that the person did mistreat it.

What is different when your dog does not do it

If your dog does not always have a problem with the person, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not have a problem. For example, it might be the case that your dog has been picking up on an unusual smell on the person.

What to do about your dog not liking a certain person

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewading it when it does not.

Be calm around the other person

If your dog sees that you are anxious, it is likely that your dog will also become anxious. In order to get it to be better behaved around the other person, it would help to be calm and to use training to change its behavior.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves, encouraging your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to like the person, it would help to reward your dog whenever it shows signs of being calm around the person.

Get help

If your dog becomes aggressive around other people, the best option would likely be to get help from a professional dog trainer. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing the behavior and how to, safely, get your dog to be better behaved.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.