- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Get the cold shoulder when you’re offering a belly rub? Feel like you’re in the (ahem) doghouse? If your canine pal is acting differently around you lately, you might be wondering if they’re mad at you. But how can you tell whether your dog is annoyed with you?
First of all, you can probably chalk up your dog’s behavior to something other than being annoyed by your presence. While dogs can feel fear, anxiety, and discomfort, according to trainer Shoshi Parks, researchers believe they don’t have the capacity to assign a motive to an emotion—so Biscuit might be mad, but she’s probably not mad at you.
So, okay, your dog probably isn’t annoyed because you played that Taylor Swift album (again). But something else might be going on. If you’ve recently changed your dog’s routine, whether by moving, adding to the family, or otherwise, your dog might be feeling uncertain and react accordingly. Here are some signs that might look like anger—and some info about what your dog might actually be feeling. Read on for the final word on whether or not your dog is annoyed with you.
1. Shunning you
Feeling ignored? If your dog is keeping his distance or doesn’t seem interested in your usual pats and snuggles, it’s easy to be concerned that he’s mad. More than likely, he’s tired or just not feeling well.
Dogs try to conceal pain and discomfort, so avoiding contact with you may just be a way of hiding how crummy he’s feeling. A change in sociability could also be a sign of depression—which can affect dogs after a major life change like the loss of their owner, the loss of another pet in their household, or the introduction of a new baby in the house.
2. Giving you the side-eye
Dogs communicate and show their emotions with their bodies. If you notice your dog licking her lips, yawning excessively, and showing you the averted gaze sometimes called “whale eye” or “half moon eye,” it might seem like she’s telling you she’s annoyed—but it’s more likely to be something else.
Those expressions are usually associated with anxiety in dogs, and they are used to defuse or deescalate a stressful situation. You can try to calm an anxious pup by offering her a snack, moving and speaking calmly, averting your gaze, and giving her some space.
3. Expressing less affection
If your dog is usually slobbering all over you but suddenly isn’t anymore, the change can be a sign that your BFF isn’t feeling so hot.
Because dogs try to hide discomfort, a dog who suddenly starts acting differently around his favorite human might be trying to keep an ailment or injury to himself. A dramatic change in behavior like this could warrant a visit to the vet.
4. Pawing at you
Does your dog whack you with her paw, bonk you with her nose, or head-butt you? You might think she’s telling you off, but in reality, it’s more likely she’s trying to tell you she wants something. Pawing or nosing can be a sign of affection, an invitation to play, or a request for delicious treats.
5. Hiding under the bed (or in your clean laundry)
If your dog is hiding, chances are he’s not mad at you—he’s spooked by something. You’ve probably seen this behavior on the Fourth of July or during a particularly noisy storm, but it can happen with anything that scares your dog: bath time, the nail clippers, the vacuum cleaner, you name it.
There are lots of signals of stress in dogs, so keep an eye out for other behaviors that might let you know your dog is feeling the heat. You can try to coax a scared pupper out of his hiding spot with a snack or a chin-scratch, or just give him some space to calm down in his safe spot.
6. Peeing on your stuff
Eww. If your dog pees on your shoes or in your handbag, that’s definitely a sign he’s mad at you, right? It’s actually more likely there’s something else going on.
Peeing on your belongings can be a sign your pet is marking his territory (which, according to the Humane Society of the United States, is more likely if he hasn’t been neutered yet), feeling stressed or afraid, or coping with a sudden change to his life like a new baby or another pet.
It’s also possible that a medical issue is making it harder to wait for his normal bathroom breaks. You might want to check with a vet if this is a recurring issue.
7. Chewing up your favorite sneaks
RIP, perfect-for-every-outfit flats. Did your best bud devour another pair of socks or maul your sofa? That behavior probably seems like it’s all about you, but odds are it’s not.
If your dog is acting out because of separation anxiety you can also consult a trainer or behaviorist for some advice on soothing her stress.
High-energy dogs might just need more exercise, too. If you need a hand getting your dog her daily steps, Rover has got you covered. Book a trusted local pet sitter or dog walker to help you out today.
So, is my dog annoyed with me?
The bottom line: even though it may seem like your dog is annoyed with you, they’re probably not experiencing annoyance in the same way that you or I do. It’s likely that something is going on, however, whether it be loneliness, boredom, or jealousy. Respond accordingly, and you and your pup will be back to your usual relationship in no time.
Featured Image: Anuko the famously grumpy husky on Instagram