My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

One of our readers wrote an emotional email to us: my dog backs away when I reach for him. He was distraught and did not understand why this might be happening. This article will help others like him who feel their dog doesn’t trust them.

Dogs are emotional creatures and exhibit a lot of behavioral cues. Unlike humans, they may not tell about it verbally, but they can give hints to tell us about their state through their actions. 

With experience, people get better at reading a dog’s mood, but it can be a challenging task for a beginner. We will discuss one of such emotions and answer this question: why my dogs back away when I reach for him? The short answer is simply that the dog doesn’t like this behavior, for whatever reason: be it injury, shyness, insecurity, fear or something else.

My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

Why My Dog Backs Away When I Reach for Him?

Dogs can be hard to read sometimes. In some cases, dogs can exhibit habits that are rare to find in other dogs. Your dog may back away or duck when you try to touch it or pat its head; there can be a wide range of reasons behind such behaviors. Let’s discuss some of the most probable ones.

Dogs don’t like people touching them from from above:

Most people may not know, but dogs don’t like when someone approaches them from above. It is a part of their instincts, something approaching them from the top makes them feel a sense of danger. 

It would be best if you bent a little more than usual or tried to be on your knees before approaching a dog. Dogs are easily approachable if you are on the same level, and if you have a new pet, it is better to start approaching them by sitting down or bending low.

Humans can also be a bit rough when patting their dogs head (without realizing it), something that many dogs don’t appreciate.

You may not be a part of the inner dog circle:

Dogs are animals that like living in packs, and they see humans in the same way. Dogs create a pack of people they see frequently and are comfortable with

Some people can quickly become a part of their circle, while others can take more time than usual. You can face this problem if you have a new pet, but it is nothing to worry about. 

With some patience and love, you can easily win over your dog’s heart and become a part of their pack.

My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

Your dog may have been injured

If you have suddenly observed your dog ducking away when you try to approach them, then injury can be one of the possible explanations. Dogs sometimes feel under the weather or might have injured themselves while playing. 

In such cases, they prevent getting in contact with humans as a human touch can be harder on them than we realize. If this problem is regular, it is better to get your dog checked by a vet to eliminate the chances of any possible injury.

Your dog won’t like your petting style

Different people have different ways of approaching dogs, and even dogs have different preferences and dislikings when it comes to petting

Some dogs like to keep the human touch as minimal as possible, others constantly crawl beside their pet owner to get hugs or feel cozy. 

It Is better to understand the dog before trying to pet them. In some cases, the pet and pet owner naturally develop everyday habits and have a more proper connection.

Shyness and anxiety

Dog anxiety is real. Dogs can be very moody sometimes, and they can even feel anxious or shy when someone tries to approach them. You may observe your dog getting away only from a particular group of people. 

If they don’t exhibit any hostile feelings against those persons, they are probably shy around them. This is one of the rare issues that dogs exhibit, and they get over it with time and proper attention.

My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

How To Prevent My Dog From Backing Away When I Reach For Them

Now let’s look at some simple ways you can train this behavior out of dogs.

Spend More Time With Your Dog:

In most cases, dogs back away from an individual due to the lack of connection. You can start by establishing a proper relationship with your dog. Taking your dog for walks or spending time with him at home can be a good example. 

Dogs are emotional creatures, and with time, they will eventually see you as a part of their pack, and not only you will be able to hold or pet them, you can even become their favorite person.

Don’t be rough whale patting your dogs

Most people approach dogs from above and start by patting their heads. Although patting their head doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, your dog may not like it. 

Heads are a sensitive part of dogs’ bodies, and patting hard on them can cause pain and discomfort. Dogs get hurt easily, and we should be very gentle with them while patting or holding them.

Don’t let a stranger pet your dog

Dogs usually avoid strangers, and until your dog has been seeing someone frequently and observing them, you shouldn’t let them around. Normally dogs trust people easily after just one or two meetings, but they may take some more time than others in some cases. 

A stranger might not be aware of the likes and dislikes of your dogs and can treat them in a way they don’t like. We must be around our dogs when strangers are around as they can quickly feel lonely and depressed if left among strangers.

My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

My Dog Gets Scared When I Yell: Why Is It Happening?

Dogs exhibit many emotions, and fear is undoubtedly one of them. With time, dogs keep getting closer to their pet guardian and always need their approval. Dogs can get scared quickly by sudden loud noise or by sudden movements

If your dog has been causing you trouble, you can also try scolding it. Although it may not seem reliable, dogs get extremely frightened if they are yelled at. Dogs are very observant when it comes to their guardian, and in most cases, they get surprised or anxious when yelled at.

Is yelling at dogs a safe habit?

Yelling at dogs is not a safe habit, and we should restrain ourselves from doing so. Dogs are sensitive animals, and they don’t like getting yelled at. They can either feel low when yelled at or get more anxious and aggressive

Either way, it is best to keep restraint on ourselves when it comes to our pets and maintain a calm environment around them. Some major issues that can be caused by yelling at them are:

  • It can stress your dog and make them feel more anxious
  • Dogs usually try to match the vibe of their parent, and it may make your dog act aggressively or hyper by observing you yelling.
  • In the long run, it also influences your image in their mind. Dogs have a good memory, and they keep a note of behavior that an individual exhibits, and they may start not trusting you or getting away from you as time passes.
My Dog Backs Away When I Reach For Him

Final Words

Taking care of the proper mental state of a dog is as necessary as feeding them and maintaining a proper lifestyle for them. We should not do anything to provoke our dogs as it may cause them to lose trust in us. 

You must maintain a calm and relaxed head around your pet, and although it may not seem practical at the beginning, it is the more intelligent thing to do.

Spend more time with your dog and establish a proper connection with them rather than forcing your decisions upon them and expecting them to follow them. Pet guardians should adequately take care of their pets and maintain a healthy relationship with them.

Thank you for reading, we hope you got some of the answers you were hoping for; if we missed something, let us know in the comments and we will get back to you shortly.

Other odd dog behaviors may include: shaking while eating, putting your arm in their mouth, spinning in circles, chasing flies, etc. Read about why these happen and what you should do about them.