Have you welcomed a new canine companion into your home and do you think he is afraid of you? Or maybe your dog has suddenly started showing insecurity towards you?
It is clear that the fact that your dog is afraid of you is not an ideal situation, since we want to maintain a pleasant relationship with our pet. For this reason, if you want to improve your relationship with your dog, continue reading this article by Animal Expert in which we will help you understand why my dog is afraid of me and what to do to solve this situation.
You may also be interested: Why is my cat afraid of me?
- Why is my dog afraid?
- How to remove fear from a dog?
- My dog is suddenly afraid of me
- My dog has been afraid of me since I hit him
- My dog is afraid of me and trembles
- My dog is afraid of me and pees
Why is my dog afraid?
There are many reasons why a dog may be afraid, since this is an emotional response that is triggered when the animal is exposed to a stimulus that is threatening . We must understand that this emotion is not in itself negative, since it supposes a survival mechanism that helps you avoid the elements that are hostile and allow you to adapt to the environment safely.
What is negative for the animal, and for our coexistence with it, is the fear it may have of everyday elements (such as meeting other dogs on the street), since it is a difficulty for it to function properly in its environment, generating stressful situations and damaging your well-being. Fear is an emotion caused by the interaction between two elements :
Apart from inheriting the physical characteristics of the parents, part of the pregnancy is also inheritable . Specifically, fear is a trait with a high possibility of being transmitted from parents to children (around 50% chance if the mother is afraid).
In addition, by its nature, the dog can commonly be afraid of stimuli that are unknown. This instinct, which we call neophobia, has been inherited from its ancestors, wolves, since it is a defense mechanism that allows it to protect itself from possible dangerous stimuli that it does not know.
This will be determined by the different elements of the environment that have interacted with the dog since it is a puppy, that is; the socialization , education received and the negative experiences that ever lived.
A poor socialization of the puppy will repel in a future in a more fearful character to the elements that he has not known as a puppy, such as other dogs, people, places … In addition, traumatic experiences during this period also leave a strong imprint on the personality of the future adult dog, so it is very important that socialization is progressive and never force situations.
In the same way, an education based on punishment and screaming, will establish a poor relationship in trust between the owner and the dog, because it will be based on control through fear and intimidation. Thus promoting a more insecure character in the animal, since it needs a point of support that provides security.
Finally, if the dog has ever experienced a negative situation associated with a stimulus , it is very likely that in the future such stimulus will generate a fear response when exposed to the animal. For example, if our dog is bitten by another, it is possible that it begins to appear insecure in the presence of new dogs.
How to remove fear from a dog?
If you have observed your dog’s behavior and think it is afraid , we should initially try to find out what stimuli it is afraid of . For example:
- Are you afraid of me or of all people?
- Are you afraid of dogs in general or only some specifically?
- Are you afraid of loud noises or just the sound of the car?
Analyzing the situations in which our dog has this emotional response will be key to be able to understand him and help him overcome it.
1. Avoid what scares you
Once we have located this element that your dog sees as threatening, we must change our routines in order to control that it is not exposed to said stimulus. If for example you are afraid of the other dogs, avoid going for a walk in the hours when all the people in the neighborhood take their dogs for a walk or, very badly, take them to another place to avoid these situations.
In case your dog is afraid of you, avoid forcing the situation by avoiding approaching him abruptly, do not speak to him with a strong tone of voice that can intimidate him either, and in a way, try to ignore him during the day, so that see that you are not a threat to him. In the same way, since he still does not trust you, try if it is possible that a third person with whom he is safe is the one who takes him out for a walk and accompany them.
2. Progressively expose your dog to fear
Once we have the situation under control , you can start working your dog so that it gradually overcomes its fears. The methodology we usually use consists of desensitization and counterconditioning.
Desensitization consists of the progressive exposure of the dog to the stimulus generated by fear, always in an intensity and duration that does not provoke this emotion, so that it gradually becomes more tolerant. That is, if our dog is afraid of us, we will keep a safe distance from him in which he does not feel threatened, and little by little we will get closer, always making sure that he does not feel afraid of our presence.
3. Give him a prize
In turn, always respecting this distance in which the dog is not afraid, we will apply the so-called counterconditioning. This method is based on associating a pleasant stimulus , such as food, with the threatening stimulus . Therefore, as we get closer to our dog, we will reward him with food, avoiding abruptly giving it to him. In this case, a third person that the dog trusts could also collaborate to reward him as we get closer and he does not show fear. Through this procedure, we will make the dog learn that instead of being a threatening stimulus to him, we are actually appetizing, since we give him gifts.
The learning process for the dog to lose fear can take time, and can take days and even months , depending on the individual and his circumstances, for example, by age, breed or if he was mistreated in the past. In this case, you may be interested in the following article: How to remove fear of a battered dog?
My dog is suddenly afraid of me
If you and your furry had a good relationship but it has surprised you with a sudden change in its attitude towards you, reflecting fear when seeing you, making signs of appeasement when you approach, and even, running away from you, surely you want to know what it is due to this mistrust.
My dog is suddenly scared of me for scolding him
The explanation in most cases is that we have reacted disproportionately in response to some action the animal has taken. We must understand that as humans we have a different reasoning than dogs and, therefore, something that for us seems justifiable and, in some cases, even for their own good, they can see it as completely incoherent.
For example, we could have scolded our dog for breaking a pot, thinking that it will understand why we are so angry, when in the dog’s eyes, we are behaving aggressively without apparent cause. Following a similar negative experience , we may have become someone threatening.
My dog is suddenly afraid of me because of a bad experience
It is also possible, although less common, that your dog has become afraid of you due to confusion. In other words, he had a bad experience and related it to you . An example of this would be that he felt pain the moment you caressed it and thinks that you are the cause of that discomfort.
Now, if you think that the fact that you were suddenly scared is not due to any of these described episodes, it is recommended that you try to seek the help of a veterinarian . Since generally, when we see that a dog makes a sudden change in behavior, we usually associate it with the fact that it is not well; You may be hurt by an injury or you may be sick. For more information, see this other article on 10 signs of pain in dogs .
For this reason, ask yourself: Have you seen any more changes in your usual behavior? Is he afraid of only you? Do you eat enough? Do you see that any part of the body is licked excessively? A professional will have to rule out whether or not you have an organic problem that justifies this change.
My dog has been afraid of me since I hit him
We understand that the learning process of a dog can sometimes be a bit heavy, since it can seem slow and make us lose patience. Despite this, we should never hit our dog, since in addition to being cruel, the dog does not understand why we are attacking them and, therefore, we will achieve nothing more than to intimidate him and make him afraid of us.
And yes, it may have sometimes worked for you to use physical punishment in specific situations to solve behaviors considered inappropriate, and that is that physical punishment applied in specific situations can bring results. But in turn, it will also have negative consequences in the relationship with our dog, which will be more or less accentuated depending on how sensitive it is. It is not strange then that if we react violently to a behavior that it has carried out, the dog relates us to this negative experience and we become a threatening stimulus for it. We must therefore be more understanding.
Positive reinforcement in dogs
For this reason, the use of violence on our furry is completely unjustified , and other methods exist, such as positive reinforcement . And it is also necessary to provide alternatives to unwanted behavior so that it performs more appropriate ones, since many times, behaviors that are annoying to us in our partner, are part of his dog nature . We cannot pretend to annul them (which we often want to do through punishment), but we can redirect them so that coexistence is pleasant for both of us without harming their biological needs and well-being.
Ultimately, if your dog has started to fear you after hitting him, we encourage you to learn about the Tips to educate a dog , creating a bond based on trust and not fear, forming a dog with a secure character and with more ability to manage their emotions.
My dog is afraid of me and trembles
Tremors are a physical reaction due to a stimulus that generates a very strong emotional response , in this case, intense fear . To this emotion, high stress is associated that triggers a total tension of the muscles, causing tremors and even, in more serious situations, the dog could become completely still .
In these situations, what we advise is to consult with an ethologist who can correctly advise us on how to improve the psychological well-being of our dog. If you want to see more information about why your dog trembles, we invite you to read: Why does my dog tremble with fear?
My dog is afraid of me and pees
If your dog pees when you approach him or when you pet him and you also think that he does not trust you, it is very likely that he is urinating by submission . This behavior is common when a dog is in front of another individual who is threatening to them, because urination in dogs is also part of their language and, in this case, it tries to communicate to you that it is harmless and therefore , do not hurt him.
Also, in highly stressful and scary situations , for example, if you feel pressured unable to run away from a stimulus that you think is dangerous, you are likely to make an involuntary urination due to a lack of control of your sphincters. It is not strange in this context that the dog, besides pissing, also defecates.