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What Should I Do if my Dog is Afraid of People

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
What Should I Do if my Dog is Afraid of People

There are many reasons why a dog may be afraid of people and while many dogs fail to overcome their shyness, the fact is that with good social habits and positive reinforcement, you can prevent people phobias in your dog. Your dog might be afraid of people due to a severe anxiety, which could become a greater problem and even cause aggressive behaviour. In this OneHowTo article we explain what to do if your dog is afraid of people.

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Why is my dog frightened of people

As mentioned, the causes can be very diverse in their nature. However, there are some that are much more frequently found and among them is the fact that it is a feature of the dog's breed and a genetic predisposition.

If your dog belongs to a shy breed of dog, then solving the problem can be very difficult or even impossible. Many experts cite the example of the famous Scooby-Doo, the protagonist of the animated series from Hanna-Barbera. As you know, Scooby is a Great Dane and this breed is characterised as being quite shaky.

Another example are greyhounds. So, you should begin investigate whether your pet is naturally meant to be the "jumpy" or "scared" type. In that case, you should reinforce human socialisation, but do understand that it can be difficult to completely change the animal.

What Should I Do if my Dog is Afraid of People - Why is my dog frightened of people

What other causes are common

The most common reasons that your dog may be afraid of people is because of negative experience with humans. It might have happened that your dog has had a bad experience with humans, mostly if you adopt the dog without knowing its past. These events might have traumatised the dog and they might now be afraid of people. Another common cause is that the dog hasn't been socialised from puppyhood, only being with the same people always. This will make the dog afraid of any other person that is not the ones it's most used to.

In the case of a trauma, the response of your dog may differ. Some traumatised pets only fear being abused or hurt by a certain someone, but others fear all humans; and finally, there are frightened dogs with the group that fear the group that inferred the damage: children, older people, men, women.

What Should I Do if my Dog is Afraid of People - What other causes are common

Helping your dog to overcome the fear of humans

It's very important to help your dog to socialise with people and you'd better start soon. In addition you must also "educate" people so they will approach your furry friend with an attitude that does not cause fear or rejection in the animal.

Check that those who come to your home speak softly and do not make sudden movements, so that the dog is not distressed. Avoid eye contact at first as that also helps.

Teach your guests and others how to caress the dog. Do not hit the top of the dog's head, which they interpret as a dominant attitude. It's much better to scratch behind the dog's ears.

It also works great to share sweets and treats among your visitors so that the dog approaches them, they reward the furry friend, and so your pet will have some positive reinforcement.

Finally, if we see a situation that provokes anxiety in the animal to the point of not being able to stand, it is important that you remove your animal from that space or situation to prevent further discomfort.

What Should I Do if my Dog is Afraid of People - Helping your dog to overcome the fear of humans

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