Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Is My Dog Spending More Time Alone? 7 Reasons & What to Do

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

schauzer alone outdoor

We call dogs our best friends for a reason. We form strong bonds with our pets. Some people even go so far as to call themselves parents of the animals they keep. It’s not surprising then that a pup that doesn’t want to hang around with you would get your attention. That’s indeed true if it’s a sudden change in behavior.

Some reasons aren’t a cause for concern. Others warrant some investigation to get to their cause. We suggest noting when it happened and what other events occurred at the same time. It may help give you the answers you need to get to the bottom of the question. That’s particularly true if the change occurred suddenly in a normally outgoing pet.

Divider 8

Why Does My Dog Want to Be Alone?

1. Personality

chow chow puppy
Image credit: Maja Marjanovic, Shutterstock

The personalities of dogs are as varied as people. Selective breeding can play a significant role. For example, Chow Chows are not as outgoing as a Golden Retriever. They may even seem almost cat-like in their behavior.

Often, dogs that have done loner-type of work, such as herding breeds, may have that independent streak hardwired into their personalities. Surprisingly, some show these traits even as puppies.

2. Dog Depression

Dogs aren’t too different from people when it comes to wearing their emotions on their proverbial sleeves. It’s not hard to figure out when your pup is excited for a walk or sad because their best friend is at school or work. Some pets can get depressed following life-changing events, such as losing an owner or going to a new home.

3. Mirroring Your Feelings

woman and dog by the lake
Image Credit: Pixabay

Your pet can read your emotions better than you may think. It comes from thousands of years of domestication and living together. If you’re feeling upset, the chances are that your pup will mirror those feelings. Just like you want to be alone, your dog might want to do the same thing. Remember that canines have many of the same hormones that humans do, which can explain their response.

4. Other Mental Health Issues in Dogs

Rescued pets sometimes come with emotional baggage that includes mental health issues. Some things may trigger negative emotions in them, making them want to hide. It’s helpful to get the history of your dog to avoid situations that may bring back those painful memories.

5. Illness

Sick French Bulldog
Image credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

When a pet isn’t feeling well, instincts often take over their responses. That applies to situations when they may feel vulnerable, such as when they’re sick. Many animals hide when they feel this way to protect themselves from predators and other threats. We suggest noting where your dog is going to be alone. This behavior often causes them to seek odd places that they usually won’t use.

6. Pain

Pain often brings about the same behavior as being sick. Again, the pup knows they’re vulnerable. They’re probably confused and frightened. Some dogs will want to hide and lick their wounds in peace—literally. Bear in mind that the pain may cause your pet to growl or snap. That’s their survival instinct in action, and it doesn’t reflect their devotion to you.

7. Age

senior terrier dog
Image Credit: Pixabay

As dogs age, hanging around in places with lots of activity may not be as enjoyable to them. They may look for quieter areas to get away from the noise and, perhaps, take a nap. This behavior may occur gradually. Your pet may seem less active and less enthusiastic about play. If your pup has arthritis, they may feel uncomfortable and spend more time alone.

Divider 3

Making Changes

The first thing you should do is take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination. Some chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, can cause similar behavioral changes. It’s essential to rule them out before making changes in your pet’s routine. The vet may also suggest discussing the issue with a dog behaviorist if the alone time is accompanied by unwanted actions, such as aggression.

If your vet has ruled out any medical conditions, you can try to rebuild your relationship with your pet. Spending more time together and playing can coax your pup into being less solitary. Of course, treats work wonders on that score. If walks aren’t a part of the routine, now is an excellent time to make it a daily habit. It will give your dog something to look forward to and improve their mood.

Divider 7

Final Thoughts

Some dogs prefer their alone time, especially if you’ve crate-trained them. They might be used to not having anyone around and stick with the routine they know. However, sudden changes in a dog’s behavior and personality are a cause for concern. There’s often a reason why your pup is avoiding family members. However, you can help a shy pet become more social. It takes patience and understanding to build those bonds.

Related Reads: Why Does My Dog Want to Stay Outside in the Cold? 4 Reasons & What to Do About It

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database