Maybe your dog is super energetic, friendly, loves people, and thrives on attention. However, maybe your friend's pup likes to be left alone, doesn't like to play with other dogs much, or prefers calm cuddle time over being in groups.
It turns out, dogs do indeed have different personalities and some show signs being people lovers, while others tend to stick to the sidelines as observers.
Signs of a Dog Who is Introverted
Maybe at the dog park, they will stick by your side or find another dog parent to stand next to, or just focus on playing with you and their ball. Going along with this, they often will not like large crowds and will get overwhelmed easily. They may appear to be stressed, have their tail between their legs, ears will be down, or they will shake.
If your dog is neutral or aloof when you are on walks through the neighborhood, especially when other pups are around, this can be a sign they are introverts and would rather focus on you and their walk rather than other dogs.
Furthermore, your dog may not be too fond of new people either, whether in their home, out and about, or when someone comes up to pet them. They may come across as timid and standoffish or act completely disinterested in the person coming over to say hello. Much like humans, your introverted dog may have times where he/she will enjoy being around people, getting pets and cuddles, and having all attention on them.
However, there will come a point when your pooch may wander away from the crowd and seek time away to sleep and recharge. At this point, they are done with attention and are ready to go home and find time for themselves.
Here are some signs you might notice when your dog is an inrovert:
- Ears drop
- They like to be left alone and have space
- They seem aloof around other dogs
- They don't like large crowds
- They get tired after being around a lot of dogs/people
- They are shy and timid around new people
- They like to stick by your side and not be with others/dogs
History of Dogs Being Introverts
Although dogs are known to be social creatures that love attention and action, not all dogs do, just like not all humans do. Dogs are descendants of wolves and are pack oriented, but that doesn't mean they will automatically consider their pack to be every single dog they may meet on any given day. It may be worthwhile to consider your dog may see you as his/her pack, feels safe with you, and not need to look elsewhere for acceptance and play.
Many dog owners that have introverted dogs report they notice their pup doesn't like to interact with other dogs much, especially if the other dog is very friendly and energetic. They will often seem aloof to other dogs they meet on walks or in the dog park.
Dog parks are especially reported as difficult for an introverted dog. Most of the time, people say their dog with either stand by their side and not play, find another dog parent to stand by for attention, or will perfer to play with their ball alone or play fetch with their owner.
The Science Behind an Introverted Dog
According to studies, we even see this trait in fruit flies - some fruit flies will sit comfortably in one place while other fruit flies fly around in exploration. We see these traits throughout the animal kingdom because there are two different types of survival strategies.
Some dogs have extroverted tendencies in their DNA while other dogs have introverted traits. Some dogs have been bred for specific jobs, like to protect. For example, breeds like the Chow Chow and the Akita were bred to protect against predators, and sometimes that included other dogs. Dogs with protective instincts tend to want to run and play with other dogs much less.
Training Dogs Who Are Introverts
You can occasionally try different forms of socialization to help break them out of their shell a bit more, but the bottom line is, your pooch is more than happy to keep to themselves and snuggle with you, so accepting your dog in an introvert is key to making their lives as best as possible. However, what we can discuss is how you can more effectively train your introverted pup.
Forcing your introverted dog into a highly social situation too often can cause a significant amount of stress and anxiety in their life. Although bringing your puppy or dog to places they can learn to peacefully socialize with other dogs and humans is imperative, your introverted dog has its limitations.
Once you understand this, you can be more effective with your training and have the ability to reach and connect with your shy dog a bit more. Introverts are more sensitive to punishment. This means your introvert will take your punishment for doing something bad much harder than an extroverted dog.
You introverted pooch needs patience, understanding, and a gentle touch when it comes to training. They will respond much better your calmness and patience and be more inclined to listen and perform the task you want them to do.
How To React If Your Dog is an Introvert
Don't force them to interact with other dogs.
Give them space and alone time.
Be gentle with them - especially when training.
Keep them away from situations that are overstimulating.
Safety Tips for When Your Dog Is an Introvert
Make sure you give them time to recharge.
Don't force them into uncomfortable situations, especially with high energy dogs.
Bentley doesn't like being around other dogs and will often wander away from the group at family gatherings to sit by himself and nap. He is not as energetic as some of the other dogs in our neighborhood and likes sticking near family members.
Jasmine is definitely an introvert, especially compared to her brother! She tends to explore and hangout on her own, and often doesn't bother to say hi when we have guests or other dogs around. She's just much happier keeping to herself, and doesn't often push for attention.