You hate your dog.
You’re ashamed to admit it. But that’s where you’re at.
In fact, that’s likely why you’re here.
You’re searching the internet looking for advice and practical suggestions to help turn the relationship around.
Or at least understand why you may be feeling this way.
Perhaps you’ve tried a lot of things already.
Perhaps you’re at your wits end and are not quite sure what more you can do.
Well, I’m here to lend a compassionate hand.
I’d like to walk you through why you may be feeling this way and give you some advice on the things you can do.
It’s not a nice place to be.
Nor is any judgment going to be made.
Instead, let’s try and work through it all and get to a place that is much more beneficial for both you and your dog alike.
Is It Normal to Not Like Your Dog?
It’s more common than you may think for people to dislike their dogs at certain points. Caring for a dog, especially a newly adopted one, involves major lifestyle changes which does take adjusting to.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed taking on the sudden responsibility of meeting all your dog’s needs.
Especially if you have a lot of other commitments or things going on in your life.
Also acknowledge that the initial excitement and cute young puppy phase does wear off.
So, there are certainly times when you may dislike your dog.
The key is realizing there is a problem. Especially if these feelings persist.
Hopefully, as you and your dog better understand each other, (and perhaps with a few changes I will suggest shortly), most people are able to turn it around.
It may not be easy, but it should get better.
If you’re truly unhappy, however, rehoming may be the responsible choice.
Why You May Not Like Your Dog
It could be entirely obvious to you, or it could be something that is getting at you subconsciously.
Nevertheless, here are common reasons why owners can take a disliking to their dogs:
Your Dog Has Too Much Energy For You/Your family
Puppies and energetic breeds need plenty of stimulation.
If you’re unable to provide adequate exercise and activities, their bouncing off the walls energy can result in bad behavior, which will undoubtedly cause frustration.
Lack of Training and Boundaries Has Resulted In Bad Behavior
Dogs without proper training don’t understand rules or manners.
Letting bad habits go unchecked results in an unruly dog, which understandably builds resentment.
Severe Separation Anxiety Has Resulted In A High Need dog
The nonstop vocalizing, destruction and clinging from separation anxiety taxes owners.
This extreme behavior negatively affects your bond.
You Are Not Adapting To The Adjustment
Adopting a dog means lifestyle changes.
The transition can be challenging if expectations weren’t set or if you underestimated the dog’s needs.
It could be your dog has past trauma or neglect
If you adopted your dog from a shelter, this one is more likely.
Fearfulness, lack of socialization, and destructive tendencies from previous abuse strains the relationship and requires extra patience.
You Picked the Wrong Breed
Certain breeds like Husky, Beagle, and Weimaraner have demanding exercise, grooming, or personality needs that you may not have expected, know how, or be prepared to meet.
It could be your dog has medical or behavioral issues
Physical health issues like infections, injuries, or neurological disorders can significantly alter a dog’s temperament and behavior.
Behavioral problems may also arise from anxiety disorders, OCD tendencies, phobias, or aggression issues.
Until the medical or behavioral causes are properly addressed, your dog can be difficult to handle.
It could be your dog has cleanliness issues
Some dogs are prone to drooling, shedding fur, tracking in mud, and occasional accidents.
The resulting mess around the home can steadily build frustration and dislike for the untidiness and added cleaning burden.
The Financial Burden Is Hitting Home
Owning a dog is expensive between food, medical care, grooming, supplies, and toys.
Large emergency vet bills for injuries or illnesses can also hit budgets hard.
These monetary strains can make you feel a sense of regret at your previous decision to get a dog.
You Hadn’t Fully Appreciated The Lifestyle Disruption
Adding a dog means making time for daily walks, grooming sessions, and overall care.
Dogs also complicate spontaneous travel or social plans.
This major lifestyle shift and lost leisure time can contribute to feeling tied down.
Does My Dog Know I Don’t Like Them?
Most likely your dog can sense when you don’t like them. Dogs are highly intuitive and attuned to human emotions and body language. Even if you try to hide it, they pick up on subtle signs like lack of affection, impatience, frustration, or avoidance.
Dogs live in the moment and connect emotions to whatever is currently happening, not past actions.
If you scold them for having an accident long after it occurred, they won’t understand why.
Yelling at a chewing puppy for destroying shoes will just make them afraid of you in that moment.
However, it’s important not to assume your dog understands the reasons behind those feelings.
While dogs understand our tone of voice and demeanor, they cannot grasp complex human emotions like resentment over lifestyle changes.
Rather than assuming your dog knows you dislike them, focus on rebuilding your bond through patience and positive reinforcement.
Meet their needs for exercise and affection.
Celebrate little successes like learning a new trick.
Consistency and empathy will help recouple your relationship.
Building a Bond With Your Dog
Getting your relationship with your dog on the right paw requires dedication, patience, and compassion from you.
While it takes effort, there are many ways you can begin strengthening your bond with your dog:
Spend Quality Time Together
Set aside time each day just for you and your dog to enjoy together.
Take them on walks around the neighborhood or a hike on a nature trail. Having this one-on-one time chatting with your dog while getting fresh air and exercise is invaluable.
Play fetch at the park or do a guided scent training session at home for mental stimulation.
Practicing basic obedience training together also helps build trust and understanding.
Meet Your Dog’s Needs
Dogs require sufficient physical and mental activity to stay happy and balanced.
Make sure your dog gets adequate exercise based on their age and breed. Provide interactive toys to keep them engaged and curb problem behaviors.
Feed them a nutritious diet on a consistent schedule.
Ensuring their basic needs are met will lead to a calmer, more content dog.
Show Affection and Praise
Make sure your dog knows you care about them.
Set aside time for daily belly rubs, brushing, or cuddling on the couch. Use an enthusiastic tone when praising good behavior with phrases like “Good dog!”
Provide treats for obedience and learning new tricks. Dogs thrive when shown patience, empathy, and affection.
Avoid scolding or punishing them, which can break trust.
The more quality time you dedicate to your dog, the stronger your bond will become.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you’ve made sincere efforts to improve your relationship with your dog but are still struggling, it may be time to seek outside guidance.
Working with Trainers or Behaviorists
For persistent behavioral problems like excessive barking, aggression, anxiety, or destructiveness, consider hiring an accredited dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist.
They can assess your dog’s issues and design a customized training program.
For example, they may recommend counterconditioning and desensitization for fearfulness or separation anxiety.
Professional guidance provides the skills and structure to correct undesirable habits.
Rehoming as a Last Resort
In some cases, you may determine your home or lifestyle simply cannot meet your dog’s needs.
Rehoming to a new environment better suited to their temperament is a responsible, if difficult, last resort option.
Be sure to screen potential families thoroughly about their experience with dogs.
An ethical rescue organization can facilitate the adoption process and transition.
Although heartbreaking, rehoming to a household better matched to your dog is preferable to continuing their stress and yours.
Seeking professional support doesn’t mean you’ve failed your dog. It simply recognizes their complex needs may require specialized help.
Don’t Give Up – It Takes Time and Patience
Caring for a dog is a major commitment full of challenges but also immense rewards. When you’re feeling discouraged, remember these crucial points:
Adjusting Takes Months
Whether your dog is a new rescue or 8-week old puppy, the adjustment period in a new home can take weeks or months.
They are learning your routines, rules, and how to trust you. Be patient and understanding while you both settle in.
Establish a consistent daily schedule to provide stability.
Consistency is Key
Dogs thrive on structure and predictable patterns.
Be reliable about scheduling meals, walks, training sessions, and quality time together.
Stick to the same commands and reinforce rules like no jumping or chewing. Dogs appreciate and flourish with consistency.
Relationships Improve with Effort
While the beginning stages with a dog can be rocky, your bond strengthens over time as you learn each other.
With dedication to proper care, training, exercise, and affection, you may be amazed by the positive transformation. The extra effort is well worth it.
Caring for your dog may feel thankless some days but stay motivated by focusing on their needs.
Be patient with yourself and your dog as you navigate this journey together.
With compassion and consistency, your perseverance will lead to a best furry friend for life.
Other Tips To Foster A Better Relationship With Your Dog
- Engage their powerful nose with scent games – hide treats and encourage them to hunt them down. Mental stimulation creates a calmer, happier dog.
- Hand feed them portioned meals – this teaches impulse control and builds trust through close proximity.
- Massage and stretch them regularly – this relaxes dogs, lowers anxiety, and deepens your bond through touch.
- Take an obedience class together – you’ll establish yourself as a benevolent leader and grow as a team.
- Try dog sports like agility, flyball or Frisbee – burning energy in a productive way prevents misbehavior.
- Assign them “jobs” like bringing in the newspaper or carrying small items on walks – purposeful tasks stimulate them mentally.
- Swap dogs with a friend for sleepovers – time apart helps you appreciate each other and provides novelty.
- Go camping or on road trips together – adventures in new environments strengthens your friendship.
- Volunteer as a therapy dog team – sharing your affection with others spreads joy.
- Keep a journal from your dog’s perspective – getting into their head will increase understanding of their behavior.
- It could be you need more time away from your dog – Make sure to get ample breaks from care and responsibilities. Consider putting them in doggy daycare for a day or finding someone to watch them, so you can recharge. Having regular time to yourself is important.
If you’re struggling with feelings of resentment or dislike toward your dog, don’t be discouraged or feel like you’re failing as an owner.
It’s normal for the stresses and changes of dog ownership to result in initial regret or frustration.
Caring for a living being is a major commitment full of ups and downs.
Just remember there are always solutions to try like training, lifestyle adjustments, or seeking professional help.
And know that with consistent effort and compassion, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The bond between you and your dog can grow – no matter how long you’ve had them or how strained you feel the relationship is.
Perhaps most importantly don’t give up hope!
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.