If your dog won’t come near you, 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 won’t my dog come near me? Possible reasons why your dog won’t come near you are being intimidated, learning that the behavior is rewarded, depression, thinking it is in trouble, or a traumatic event causing it to behave differently.
There are actually multiple possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog won’t come near you
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely.
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.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it does not come near you. If you tend to give it things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it avoids you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows interest in you but to stop giving it rewards or attention when it starts avoiding you.
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.
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 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.
Illness or injury
The cause could be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it started showing signs of being ill or injured at the same time that it stopped coming near you by doing things such as not eating as much, vomiting or limping. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
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 it started doing it
If your dog did not always avoid coming near you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior is rewarded, becoming intimidated, or an injury.
What is different when your dog does come near you
If it does come near you sometimes, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does not come near you when a certain pet or person is around, it might actually be trying to avoid that pet or person.
What to do about your dog not coming near you
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
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 not avoid you and to stop giving it rewards when it refuses to come near you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave the way you want it to by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get it to stop not coming near you, you could give it a reward whenever it does come near you but it normally would not.
Interact with it calmly
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.
Ensure it is not ill or injured
If your dog has been showing signs of being ill or injured or your dog has been behaving very unusually, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored toward your dog and to rule out medical causes.