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My Dog is Afraid of Me: What do I do?

rhodesian riddgeback dog in the snow

One of the worst things that could happen to a pet parent is for their dog (or cat for that matter) to be afraid of you. How are you supposed to love and care for a pet who won’t go near you, after all?

It can make the trust between you and your dog difficult if your dog is afraid of you for any reason. A fearful dog can react cowardly or aggressively and neither are a good behavior for a dog, especially not towards their owner!

Why is My Dog Afraid of Me?

a dog waitingThere are multiple scenarios that could lead to your dog becoming fearful of you. For example, if you just recently bought your dog home from a rescue then your dog likely hasn’t had a stable family life. This can lead them to be slow to trust anyone.

The same can be true of puppy-mill dogs like those from pet stores. These dogs are not treated with the same love and care in puppyhood as those raised by breeders. Most of them only have very poor human interactions to learn from at first, which can lead to deep-rooted trust issues.

If you’ve had your dog for a while and they suddenly become afraid of you remember this one thing – there has to be a reason for it. Your dog would not just suddenly change his feelings about your for no reason after all!

Perhaps you’ve stepped on his paws or tail a lot lately. That could make your dog weary of being near you when you are up and moving around. Especially with smaller breeds like Chihuahuas.

Another possibility is if you have ever used negative training methods (hitting your dog is never a good idea!) – Or if you scream and yell when your dog does something wrong. This could easily make your dog a little less trusting of you.

The good news is there are things you can do to fix this problem! It mostly comes down to a trust issue between your dog and you. It will take lots of time and patience on your part (and your dog’s too), but it will be worth it to have your best furry friend in your favor again!

What Should I Do?

If you are having issues with your dog being fearful and aggressive then you may wish to speak to a veterinarian behaviorist. They will advise you on the best way to gain trust with an aggressive dog – this can be dangerous if done by yourself!

These are only three of many techniques around, though they are the simplest and in most cases this will be all you need to gain your dog’s trust.

Try to Create a Positive Atmosphere

Your emotions affect your dog’s emotions. It’s really that simple if you’re acting angry and aggressive yourself, your dog is going to start acting differently.

If you’re constantly stressed out, especially if you are stressed while spending time with your dog – they are likely to become stressed themselves. This can lead to fear and even aggression issues.

If you adopted a rescue who comes from an abusive background then they are likely to be fearful of quick movements, loud sounds and especially yelling and harsh tones. You should do your best to avoid these triggers around your new dog and in time they will come to trust you.

Creating a positive atmosphere can be extremely helpful with fearful dogs. It helps them to become comfortable in their surroundings. The more you let them know it’s safe, the more likely they are to believe it for themselves!

Spend Quality Time Together

Austrailian shepherd dog runningAnother very important thing to do when trying to gain your dog’s trust is to spend quality time together. You should spend as much one on one time as possible with your scared dog. This is the best way to help your dog gain your trust!

Some pet parents suggest that if your dog won’t come near you, then you should carry a couple treats in your pocket at all times. Your dog will smell these treats and eventually be curious enough to approach you.

This is supposed to work as positive reinforcement – your dog will associate you with treats – therefore you must be a good person! As long as you are following the advice from above about keeping a happy household, this technique can be very effective.

However, you should make sure you are considering your dog’s health and know when to cut out the treats. Dogs can quickly become obese if fed too many treats, so plan accordingly, coordinating meals with the number of treats fed!

Once your dog is happily coming up to you for affection regularly you should move onto playtime. Playtime with a ball, a tug toy, a Frisbee or even just a really long walk are all great bonding activities you can enjoy with your dog!

If you have a long-haired breed such as a Golden Retriever then you can even use daily brushing as a way to bond! It’s great for your dog’s coat and once they are comfortable with you and the brush, most dogs love a good brushing.

Just Be Patient

Above all else, you need to always remember that this is going to take time. Whether you just brought home a new rescue or puppy mill pup or you’ve had your dog for years, fear is a sign that your dog does not trust you.

Your dog did not just decide to be fearful of you or anyone for that matter. Every effect has a cause and in this case, you need to show your dog over time that you are someone they can rely on.

Trust is a bond between you and your dog just like it is between you and your best friend. If your dog does not feel that he can trust you then you need to do what you can to earn that trust!

Doggy Dan has a Great Training Program to Build Trust

black dog sittingThere are all sorts of puppy kindergarten classes that you can sign up to take with your dog. These are a great way to get your dog socialized and get bonding time in as well.

However, if you are looking for a way to build the trust between you and your dog we mentioned spending a lot of quality, one on one time with your pup. If you still want all the advantages of a trainer, without the trainer, then you may want to check out Doggy Dan.

Doggy Dan is a dog behaviorist with over 250 training videos available to his members’ only website. This is a great way for you to learn more about how your dog’s mind works, how to gain his trust and implement your role as “pack leader”.

The “pack leader” is someone your dog will respect and trust – and a training course like this one that helps you through the process of training in all sorts of scenarios and for all sorts of behavioral issues is a great way to build that relationship with your dog!

Overall you should be prepared from the get-go. You really need to work on building your dog’s trust in you again. Don’t push your dog and don’t expect this change to happen over-night! It’s going to take time and that’s okay.

Start with determining why your dog is afraid of you. From there you can determine the best course of action whether it be quality time or a behavior training like Doggy Dan provides, there is something out there that will help your pup!

The most important thing is that your dog regains – or begins – their trust in you, depending on your situation. It is a long process in many cases but it is entirely possible! Your dog will be running to you, tail wagging and a happy grin again in no time!

Start working on gaining (or regaining) your pet’s trust today using Doggy Dan’s fail-proof techniques.

Nina

My name is Nina, and I'm crazy about animals. I've spent years looking after my dogs, and have gained tons of tips. I decided to start writing about the best products that I came across, and that's how Dogs By Nina began.