What Does It Mean When Your Dog Wants to Be Alone?

It is normal to watch videos of dogs and testimonies from dog parents of their pooch wanting to be with their human or other animals all the time. After all, dogs are social animals. They are usually dependent on their human to feel loved and secure. But what if your dog is doing the exact opposite? What if he does not want to be with you or to socialize with other animals? What does it mean when your dog wants to be alone?

While it is not common for dogs to isolate themselves from time to time, it is not unheard of either. With most of us shifting from working in the office to working remotely at home, our pooch is getting more than the love and attention they used to get. And while our pooch appreciates the extra snuggle, walk, and playtime we can now give them, keeping up with this new active lifestyle can be exhausting especially for breeds with low or moderate energy levels. From time to time, our dogs need some alone time to process these erratic changes, especially if they have a much different schedule pre-pandemic. 

On the other hand, a dog choosing to be alone can also be an indication that there is something wrong. It can be because they are sick, anxious, depressed, or bored. Fear can also cause your dog to isolate himself. 


Continue reading if you want to learn what is most likely the reason why your dog is isolating himself and the measures you can do to help your dog. 

Reasons Why Your Dog Wants to Be Alone

  • Depression

Symptoms of depression include isolation. And one of the common triggers for depression in dogs is a major life change in a pup’s life, like moving into a new home, a new addition to your household, or a change in their regular schedule. Just like humans, they can also feel depressed when there is a loss in the family, especially someone they are closed to. 

What to do: Avoid encouraging your dog to isolate by giving him attention and treats when he is moping. Keep your dog engaged by doing more of what they usually like to do. When they show a sign of happiness, reward your dog to let him know that what he is doing is great. Getting another companion animal can also help if you’ve recently lost someone in the family that may have caused your dog to isolate. Seek medical advice for medication if necessary. 

  • Mirroring Your Feeling

Dogs are very tuned in to what we are feeling and can read our facial expressions very well. They can’t help it, dogs automatically imitate their human. So when you are upset and just want to isolate yourself, then chances are your dog is isolating because he is upset too. 

What to do: It’s hard to hide your feelings from your pet. So while you can attempt to do it just so he won’t feel stressed when you are stressed, there is no assurance that your pet can’t pick it up. The best solution is to make your environment as stress-free as possible. The less stressed you are, the fewer chances your dog will isolate. 

  • Anxiety

Sometimes dogs isolate themselves to recover from a stressful situation. These situations include living with small children, a cluttered house, or a noisy environment. Dogs can also feel anxious when they are scared and they can easily get scared of random things they are not familiar with. 

What to do: Knowing what triggers your dog’s anxiety plays a major role in helping your dog. All you need to do is to avoid the things that are keeping your dog anxious. Additionally, you can seek medical advice to help you deal with your dog’s anxiety. 

  • Heart Disease

Isolation is one of the common symptoms of heart-related conditions for dogs. If your dog is having symptoms like a persistent cough, fainting, difficulty breathing, fatigue, or inability to exercise, consult your vet immediately. 

  • Old Age

As dogs get older, they tend to sleep more and hang out in quiet places. They’ll experience muscle aches and pain and will have more trouble walking, which can cause them to be less energetic and active. They won’t be so keen to hang out with you in the park anymore or cuddle on the sofa. 

What to do: There is really nothing you can do but understand your dog. It doesn’t mean that your dog loves you less as he gets older. It just means that he needs some alone time to rest, especially if there is a lot of commotion inside the house. 

  • Temperature

If the weather has been warm lately and your dog hangs out alone in the coldest part of the house, then maybe your dog is not isolating himself alone. He might just find a place to cool down as most of the part you used to play with him is warmer compared to where he is now staying. Dogs who want to cool down are usually in areas with tile floors. The same goes during cold seasons. If your dog prefers the fireplace, for example, during winter then he might be just warming up.

What to do: Adjust the temperature in the area where he used to stay before he isolated himself. You can install an airconditioner or heater near the spot to make it more comfortable for your dog. 

  • Other Illness or Injury

When a dog is in pain or discomfort, he usually isolates himself because he thinks that he needs to isolate himself so he can’t pass on whatever disease or illness to his family (you). Dogs are pack animals and they care for their pack big time. Domesticated dogs think their human family is their pack and will do anything to protect their family. 

What to do: Observe your dog for other symptoms like lethargy or vomiting. When he walks, see if he is limping. If he is licking a particular body part, check that area for any wounds. If any of these applies, consult your vet. 

  • Odd Smell and Loud Noises

Dogs are sensitive to smell and noise. If your dog is isolating himself then it is possible that he does not like the smell of a particular place. Perfumes, scented candles, scented humidifiers/diffusers, and any other strong smell are all toxic to dogs. 

Aside from that, if there have been a lot of commotions lately like visitors coming in and out of the house, children playing around, or traffic noises that can be heard inside the house, then your dog is isolating himself probably because it’s been noisy lately. Dogs, just like humans, need peace and quiet from time to time to rest and sleep. 

What to do: Make your house as comfortable as possible for your dog. Let them stay in a quiet area if there is a lot going on inside the house. If you’ve been using some kind of fragrance inside the house, try to minimize it. 

  • Boredom

Boredom leads to your dog being unhappy and isolating himself. This is true especially if you haven’t had some playtime for a while. Dogs are fond of schedule and every time you don’t go out for walks or playtime during the regular time you used to do it, they feel sad and wallow in the corner. 

What to do: Try to stick with your routine as much as possible. Give your dog the time, attention, and love they deserve. If you are busy with work, make sure to give them toys to keep them busy or hire a dog walker. 

  • Fear and Intimidation

Fear can also cause your dog to prefer being alone. Your dog may be scared of you because of how you approach him. This may be caused by how you approach him, especially when he has done something wrong. Aggressive behavior and large movements scare dogs easily. 

Fear doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is scared specifically of you. It can also be that your dog is scared of the people you hang around with. When you invite friends over, for example. If your house is not usually full of people and suddenly you invite friends over, your dog may feel overwhelmed by a lot of people he is not used to seeing inside your house. 

What to do: How you approach your dog when you want them to do something or when they are in trouble can significantly affect your dog’s behavior. Try to be calm around your dog even when they are in trouble. Positive Reinforcement Training helps a lot in changing the behavior of your dog and how to make them more trustful towards you. 

At the same time, when your dog gets easily overwhelmed by many people, slowly introduce new people to your dog. Assure your dog that your friends or family members will not harm you.

Signs That Your Dog Wants to Be Alone

  • More Aggressive and Agitated

Dogs are more agitated and aggressive whenever they need alone time. They tend to be snappy and growl when you try to touch them.  

  • Hiding

When your dog goes to places you normally go or places you can’t reach, then it is a good sign that they want to be left alone.

  • Your Dog Wants to Leave the House Without You

If your dog keeps scratching the door to go out, then it can be a sign that he needs a breath of fresh air alone. This is especially true when you have a big backyard or patio. 

  • Not Seeking Attention

If your dog is reluctant with your affection when he used to love and crave it, then it is possible that your dog wants a break. For example, if he used to love it when you pet him and now he is walking away from petting, then it is best to give him some alone time for a while. 

  • Self Entertaining 

Too much stimulation and interaction can be exhausting for pets. If you see your dog happily playing with his toys alone, then it is best to let him be. While he needs some time to play with you, he also needs time to play alone. 

How Long Should a Dog Be By Itself?

As long as your dog is in a safe place with access to everything he needs like water and toys, then there is nothing to worry about even if you leave them alone to be by themselves for long hours. However, if your dog is less than 5 months old, you can only leave them alone for a max of 2 hours. Additionally, puppies less than 5 months do not usually need alone time as they are still craving a lot of attention from their human parent. 

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