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My little puppy seems upset with me lately, and I'm worried that it's because I haven't been able to spend as much time with her the past few days. When I'm not home, I have to leave her in her crate (nothing unusual), and I have a dog walker take her out for a lunch time potty break. Usually, when I got home and took her out, she'd jump all over me, wagging her tail - but not now. The other day, I went to pet her and she grunted and scowled at me, then walked off to play with my brother who was visiting. Then, that night, she refused to sit with me on the couch like she usually does. Then, just earlier, she gave me a dirty look, and when I tried to pet her anyway, she growled at me - like MEAN growling, not playful puppy growling. The look in her eye was pure evil. It scared me to the point that I went in my room and locked the door. I want the puppy back that I used to know and love. Who is this awful little creature who has taken her place? All of this leaves me to wonder if my dog hates me? Thoughts?
 

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You spending less time with her may just mean she knows you a little less. The growling was most likely because she was uncomfortable with what you were doing -- if you reached over her to pet her, it may have seemed threatening or intimidating. Puppies are small, people are big, so sometimes we look terrifying. Some dogs also just don't like being petted. Mine would rather play tug, disc, or fetch than sit quietly for me to pet him. xD

She doesn't hate you, she just may not know you as well. Make every interaction a positive one -- play with her, give her treats, talk to her in an excited voice, take her for a walk -- everything should be amazing when it comes to you. Don't ever punish or scold her, because it'll hurt your bond more.
 

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Nope, she doesn't hate you. Most dogs either like, are indifferent or scared of a person - they don't hate. Without seeing your interaction with your puppy, it's impossible to say whats going on. But, for the time being at least, she doesn't seem to want to be petted or be close to you. So, this is what I would do in the coming days:
- Don't pet her. At all. If she wants to get close to you, it's her choice.
- Whenever she is around you, drop a few treats. Just drop them on the floor, don't give them to her.
- If she wants to play, play but don't play rough.
Be gentle, non-demanding and the source of all good things (treats and play) for a few days (or better - forever), and things will change.
 

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In a puppy and even a dog, grudge-holding to any extent is kind of beyond them. Maybe if they have known you for years upon years or have come to expect a particular behaviour for years and years (most commonly, a cute dog who doesn't get his dues of attention from a houseguest or family member). Not a typical behaviour for a puppy. Even if he could hold something against you, he wouldn't have the self-discipline or memory to stay mad at you over it! Further, dogs may mope sometimes but they just aren't capable of aggressive behaviour for spiteful purposes. Aggression such as growling is pretty much 100% fear-based (whereas biting, say, may be a prey instinct).

I think the more likely cause here is that the dog is being punished by someone, either yourself or the dog walker. There's an off-chance that one of you is unintentionally performing a behaviour that scares her as well.

So, to that end... how is this dog being trained? And how are other caregivers treating the dog? Her behaviour sounds very defensive, also hand-shy. From what you are saying it seems like the trigger is you reaching for her.
 

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Ditto Rennajade. Be the source of good things (play, treats, adventures), and she'll come around again. Check out our calming signals sticky in the behavior sticky section if you haven't and also the growling sticky.

ETA--just saw Kelly's response, and yes, the thought that maybe some negative experiences were occurring with her walker ran through my mind as well. It would be pretty severe or your pup would be pretty sensitive for her to still be shut down hours later, but worth looking into. In general, puppies/dogs do not need verbal or physical punishment, and using them can have all sorts of consequences. On that note, see our Shutdown/fallout sticky.
 

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I'm not suspecting a big, serious one-time thing from the dog walker... But if, say, they have been bopping the dog on the nose for doing something undesirable or disobeying a command (which people actually do quite commonly), I could see how the dog might begin to get leery of hands reaching toward him.
 

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Gotcha. I was thinking more about the mopiness and seeming shut down whe she gets home.
Anyways, OP, dogs don't even have to be hit/tapped/handled roughly to become fearful. Leaning over, facing her, reaching to her from above, these are all intimidating things to dogs.
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