Skip to Content

Why is my dog so aloof?

If your dog is aloof you might want to know why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it is aloof and what you can do to get it to be less aloof.

So, why is my dog so aloof? Possible reasons why your dog is aloof and distant are that it is bored, was mistreated by previous owners, is ill or injured, is not getting the right diet, is fearful, is getting older or you might have inadvertently rewarded it for behaving that way.

There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might be aloof or distant and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of things that you can do about it.

Why your dog is aloof and distant

Each of the different reasons why your dog is aloof and distant will likely come with a number of clues.

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.

Boredom

The reason why it has been being aloof could be that it is understimulated. This would be more likely if it has been getting less than the recommended amount of exercise for its breed. If it has not been getting the recommended amount of exercise and your dog is healthy it would help to start making sure that it does start getting exercise.

Mistreatment by previous owners

It could be the case that previous owners mistreated it and it now does not like to show so much interest since doing so was punished in the past. This would be particularly likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter.

In this case, it would be likely that it will start to show some more interest as time passes. However, it would help to give it lots of training, exercise and to play with it in order to help encourage it to be more involved with you. If it does not begin to improve over the course of a few weeks it would help to get the advice of a vet.

The weather is too hot

If your dog has suddenly become more aloof since the weather has become hotter it might be because the weather is making it feel lethargic.

In this case, it would help to make sure to give it access to a cool room, shaded areas and water whenever it needs it. Walking it during the morning or evening would also help so that you can avoid being outside with it when the sunlight is at its strongest.

You have inadvertently trained it to be that way

It could be the case that you have encouraged it to be aloof by giving it things that it wants when it becomes aloof. If you give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats to get it to stop being aloof you might be making it worse since it might do it more in order to get those things.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of being affectionate and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to be less aloof.

Illness or injury

If it has suddenly become distant it could be due to becoming ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has being showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued or limping. If it seems like it might be ill or injured the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Not getting the right diet

It might be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It could be that it is being fed the wrong foods, too much, too little or that someone is feeding it without you knowing. A problem diet would be more likely to be the cause if it suddenly became aloof when you changed it.

It would help to talk to your local vet about its diet when you see them next. You can also look here to see what you should and shouldn’t feed it.

Fear

It might be the case that something has been causing your dog to be fearful and that it has been contributing to it being aloof.

This would be more likely if your dog is more aloof in situations such as when there are fireworks or construction works outside. It would also be more likely if it becomes aloof when a certain person is around or if it has become aloof since another pet passed away.

Nature

It might be the case that your dog is naturally distant. This would be more likely if it has always acted that way and it has not suddenly started doing it. If it is naturally distant it doesn’t necessarily mean that it does not like you since dogs will show affection in many different ways.

Age

As dogs get older it becomes more of a challenge for them to move about and it takes more energy for them to do it. If your dog has gradually become calmer as it has gotten older it would be more likely to be due to age.

Lack of socialization as a puppy

When dogs are puppies they will naturally interact with their environment a lot and it is when they learn most about the world. If your dog didn’t get to socialize much as a puppy then it might not have learned to trust other people.

In this case, it would also help to reward it when it is less aloof and to give it lots of positive attention in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it.

Depression

Dogs can become depressed like humans can and it might be why your dog has been being aloof. This would be more likely if it has started being aloof after an event such as another pet passing away or an owner leaving.

If it is due to depression, it might begin to improve over the course of a few weeks. If it doesn’t then it would help to take it to a vet to get their advice.

Related: Why does my dog bark when I leave?

Things to consider

When your dog first started being aloof

It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that your dog started being aloof since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.

If it did start doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a sudden change in its diet, becoming ill or injured or getting less exercise.

If it has always been aloof it could be that it is naturally aloof but it could also be due to things such as encouraging the behavior.

When your dog becomes more aloof

It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to be more aloof. If it becomes more aloof in certain situations it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it becomes more aloof shortly after being fed it would be more likely to be due to an issue with its diet.

What to do about your dog being aloof and distant

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to be less aloof or distant. Making use of a combination of them will likely work best.

Give it more exercise

Since a lack of exercise might be contributing to its behavior it would help to make sure that it is getting the recommended amount of exercise for its breed. You can exercise it by walking it yourself or by getting a dog walker to do it for you when you can’t do it.

Use positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves getting your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it for showing signs of acting that way.

If you want to get it to be more affectionate then you would reward it with a treat when it does things that show signs of being affectionate. For example, you might reward it with a treat for coming and sitting with you.

You could also make use of the tips mentioned in the video below.

Give it positive attention

It would also help to give your dog positive attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. Doing so should help to get it to be more active and to show more interest.

Ensure that its diet is right

Since it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet it would help to make sure that you are feeding it correctly. It would help to talk to your vet about its diet when you see them next and to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing.

Avoid negative reinforcement

As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it becomes more aloof. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of affection.

Take it to a vet

If you can’t figure out why it has been being aloof, it has started doing it suddenly or it has been showing signs of illness it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being ill or injured.

Get help from a dog behaviorist

Another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist who will be able to show you what you should be doing in order to get it to be more interested in you.

This post may contain affiliate links. Petdogowner may be paid a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. This has no effect on the price that you pay and we are very grateful for any support.

Most Recommended For Dogs

Best Dog Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link