Why is My Dog So Afraid of Men? Plus 7 Steps to Calm Your Pooch

A fear of men is a common phobia in a number of dogs. Find out why your dog fears males and how to calm him or her down.

If you’ve done everything to try help your pooch enjoy some friendly affection from the men in your life, and they still cower or run away, then you may be wondering to yourself, “why is my dog so afraid of men?” If that’s the case, then this blog is for you.

Your dog may be really well behaved and perfectly calm around women and kids, but they somehow become a different dog the moment a man is around. Some dogs may try to run and hide, and others may shake, cower and even urinate. A number of dogs may show signs of anxiety or aggression and bare their teeth and bark.

The fear of men is actually a common phobia in dogs. And fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help your precious pooch to overcome this fear and learn to be comfortable around men.

Why is my dog so afraid of men?

You may think that your dog is afraid of men because she had a bad experience with a male earlier on in her life. However, this is not the only reason why your dog shies away from men. There are a number of reasons why your furry friend fears men.

Abuse: If a man has ever abused your dog, then he or she is likely to have a lifelong phobia      of men. Interestingly enough, this is not the main cause of this phobia in dogs.

Lack of male socialisation: In a number of cases, a dog’s fear of men stems from a lack of socialisation with males when she was a puppy. Even a dog who has been brought up by a man might be scared of other men seen as strangers.

Related: Puppy Socialisation: 7 Simple Steps to Doing it the Pawfect Way

Men are intimidating: In some cases, men may be deemed intimidating. They are big, tall and have deep voices, which are all the features that can instil fear in a dog.

How do I stop my dog from fearing men?

How you correct this behaviour will largely depend on the severity of your dog’s fear. Some dogs only exhibit mild signs of fear, and others are completely terrified. Throughout the process, you need to remain calm and patient with your dog. Phobias can take a while to overcome, this means you need to remain positive and supportive.

1.     Let your dog stay in her comfort zone

Do not force your dog out of her comfort zone. If there are men in your home, do not push your dog to be accepting of their attention. This can sometimes strengthen her fear of men. Let your dog do things in her own time and feel as though you support her every step of the way.

2.     Allow your dog to make the first move

Let your dog approach the man on his own. Ask the man to ignore your dog and not try to force any attention. Let your dog decide how close he wants to get.

Read this: Why do dogs lick your face? 4 reasons explained

3.     Use treats to encourage your dog

Treats are a great form of positive reinforcement. Ask the man to hold treats in his hands and when your dog gets a little closer to him, he can gently toss a treat in your dog’s direction. This will eventually train your dog to associate men with a treat.

4.     Use Desensitization

This is a process of using praise and treats to gradually allow your dog to know it is safe to approach men.

5.     Hire a trainer

If your dog is particularly fearful of men, then it may be beneficial to hire a dog trainer or animal behaviourist. A professional will be able to safely guide you and your dog through the steps of overcoming phobias in dogs.

6.     Obedience training

Obedience training forms a great foundation for a better-trained dog. The more training your dog has, the more likely she will be able to focus and listen in stressful situations.

7.     Prevent aggressive behaviour

It’s a good idea to use methods of safety precautions in dogs who exhibit their fear with aggression. If your fearful pooch has bitten a man before to chase him away, chances are she will try to do the same thing again. You should try to prevent your dog from biting a man by keeping her in a different room or a safe place (like a crate) when a man visits your home.

Discover: How to Stop Dogs from Fighting (Plus the Difference Between Playing & Fighting)

What it comes down to

Overcoming fear is both stressful for you and your dog. Don’t forget that our dogs pick up on our emotions, so you need to do the best you can to remain calm and level-headed throughout the process.

If you are concerned that you do not know enough to properly help your dog, then chat to your vet about the best ways to overcome phobias in dogs. Your vet will be able to give you professional advice and tips.

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