Does your dog seem afraid of you? Does your dog leave the room when you are around or act distant around you? If this is a frequent occurrence, you are bound to feel apprehensive and ask yourself questions like “What is wrong with my dog?” and worry about their wellbeing. There might be multiple reasons behind this behavior.
Cowering among dogs is not unheard of, but it is important to gauge the cause behind this behavioral tendency. Getting to the root of your dog’s tendency to cower might lead you to unthinkable revelations that will further help you understand your dog better.
Does cowering automatically mean your dog dislikes you? To know these and much more, let’s go into details about cowering among dogs.
If you have been wondering why your dog has been acting differently and cowering frequently, you must know more about what causes cowering and how to help your dog overcome it. Let us walk you through the basics of cowering among dogs.
Does Your Dog Cower Frequently?
Has your dog been cowering even when they are not reprimanded for a bad deed? Does your little guy appear on guard and frightened at all times? You could try and ascertain how frequently your dog has been cowering. A lot depends upon whether this tendency is a new development or something they have had since the time you got them.
Make a note of whether your dog cowers only when reprimanded or at other times, too. The communication gap between dogs and human beings makes it harder for us to understand which aspects of our behavior negatively affect these innocent souls.
Observation is key. Make sure you notice the similarity in patterns whenever your dog cowers. Some dogs cower when there are other dogs around, when a human leaves the room, or loud noises like fireworks.
How to Understand if Your Dog is Cowering?
It is quite apparent if your dog has been cowering. Their body language will tell you that something is out of the ordinary. The act of cowering among dogs can manifest in several ways.
When a dog is scared, you might notice that its ears are drooping and its eyes are cast down or averted to a direction away from your gaze, and wanting to avoid eye contact. You could notice them leaving the room with their eyes facing down every time you are in the room or even when they are alone in a room. A cowering dog won’t usually bark, but instead, they will tend to maintain a meek and timid temperament, as if guilty of a great blunder.
If your dog is cowering, you will see them hiding not making any eye contact. At times like these, they try to pretend as if they cannot be seen around you. While we understand how that might make you scared and guilty about its behavioral tendency being your doing, let us assure you that cowering doesn’t always mean your dog dislikes you.
However, if you are doing something, albeit unknowingly, there’s always time to learn the proper ways of behaving around your dog to ensure they feel safe and secure in your domestic environment. Sometimes if you punish your dog or accidentally hurt them, they may crouch and cower.
Does Cowering Mean Your Dog Dislikes You?
It is natural to feel scared about your dog disliking you if they have been acting defensive and scared around you. Dogs feed off their owners, so it is crucial to keep up a positive environment conducive to fun and healthy habits.
Have you been reprimanding your dog more than usual lately? Has your work pressure and stress reduced your interaction with your dog? It is natural for dogs to get scared when scolded for their mistakes. Maybe your tone has been scaring them away. Alternatively, it could be your vibe that is putting them off. Do not let your work life and external pressures control your mood around your dog. If you are sad, they will be sad, too. Your anxiety makes them anxious, too.
The chances of your dog disliking you are extremely minimal since dogs are usually people-centric creatures who love being around us, under our care and affection. Unless you have mistreated your dog that had left a scar on his mind, the possibility of your dog disliking you without any reason is uncommon.
If your dog is new in your domestic environment or if you are a new pet parent, give the little guy time to acclimatize to the surroundings and its people. Chances are, they will be back to their cheerful and enthusiastic self in no time!
Why Else Could Your Dog Be Cowering?
There could be a number of reasons why your dog is cowering. Let us take you through a few causes that might be leading to this behavior:
Inability to Express Pain During an Illness Or Injury
Dogs often cannot adequately express their pain after an injury that might be bothering them. Alternatively, your dog might be feeling sick lately. Make sure there is no physical illness or hidden injury festering, deprived of treatment.
Regularly inspect your dog for possible scratches, bleeds, injuries, and similar signs of pain and discomfort. Maintain a healthy environment conducive to wellbeing and growth. When in doubt, we always suggest that you see a veterinarian.
Past History of Trauma and Abuse
It is important to consider any past incident where your dog was exposed to traumatic experiences or people. If you adopted your dog at an older age, chances are he has been subjected to some form of intolerable trauma by some creatures, human beings, or adverse situations in general.
Every dog has a different personality. Cowering can actually be its natural temperament. Not all dogs love to be cuddled and pampered. Maybe your dog’s distinct personality makes it timid in its mannerisms.
Make your dog feel loved regardless of how they feel. Once you can attribute your dog’s cowering to its natural tendency, shower your dog with the kind of love they respond to, regardless of their variable personality.
If you have recently moved houses and localities, your dog might take some time to acclimatize to its new neighbors and physical surroundings. Alternatively, if you have been inviting guests over way too frequently, it might be reacting to that.
If you welcome a new person to your life, your dog needs to be properly introduced as well. They need to get accustomed to environmental variables as well as newer physical beings.
What Can You Do to Help Your Dog?
If your dog has been cowering frequently, you might want to take a note of the following variables and take these necessary steps:
Duration and Timing
Consider whether they were always like this or if this is an extremely recent development. Did something significant happen that could directly affect your dog? Any immediate change to the dog’s physical environment might affect its temperament. Your dog might need time to adapt to new surroundings and individuals.
Try to figure out if your dog is nearing his years of puberty. Around this phase, dogs often behave differently. Your dog could be trying to cope with his “weird” years as best as they can. Each dog has different coping mechanisms, and your dog’s preference might just be something that has been scaring you.
Ensure your dog gets enough exercise and playtime. Training is also equally important for dogs to understand the appropriate standards for behavior in your household. Physical wellbeing plays an extremely crucial role in determining your dog’s behavior.
Make sure your dog gets enough time to socialize and interact with the outside world. Shower your dog with treats when they behave well and maintain a calm yet stern tone when you want to teach them a lesson.
Consult A Vet
If you have been through every possible solution and still haven’t been able to resolve the little guy’s behavior, a vet might be able to help you understand his problem better by getting to the root of it.
At the end of the day, all that matters is how you and everyone else in your vicinity treat your dog. A proper training of appropriate behavior, a healthy meal, and a positive domestic environment can undo much of your dog’s trauma if past experiences make them cower more.
Shower your dog with love and all the treats in the world while still letting it know how to differentiate between good and bad. As long as you are good to your dog and ensure the world is fair to the little guy, they typically will stop cowering.
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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