My dog ​​is afraid of me, what to do?

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¿You have welcomed a new canine companion into your home and you think they are afraid of you? ¿Or maybe your dog has suddenly started to show insecurity towards you.?

It is clear that the fact that your dog is afraid of you It 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, keep reading this AnimalWised article in which we will help you understand why is my dog ​​afraid of me and what to do to solve this situation.

You may also be interested: Why is my cat afraid of me? Index
  1. Why is my dog ​​afraid?
  2. How to take the fear out of a dog?
  3. My dog ​​is suddenly afraid of me
  4. My dog ​​is afraid of me since I hit him
  5. My dog ​​is afraid of me and trembles
  6. 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 is 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 that it may have of everyday items (such as meeting other dogs on the street), since it is difficult for it to function properly in its environment, generating stressful situations and harming its well-being. Fear is an emotion originated by the interaction between two elements:

The genetics

Apart from inheriting the physical characteristics of the parents, part of the temperamento is also heritable. Specifically, fear is a trait with a high possibility of being transmitted from parents to children (around a 50% chance if the mother is fearful).

In addition, by its nature, the dog can commonly fear stimuli that it is unaware of. This instinct, which we call neophobia, has been inherited from their ancestors the wolves, since it is a Defense mechanism that allows you to protect yourself from possible dangerous stimuli that you do not know.

The learning

This will be determined by the different elements of the environment that have interacted with the dog since it is a puppy, that is; socialization, education received and negative experiences they have had.

A socialization In the future, a poor puppy will have an impact on a character more fearful of the elements that he has not known as a puppy, such as other dogs, people, places… In addition, traumatic experiences during this period they also leave a strong impression on the personality of the future adult dog, that is why it is very important that socialization be progressive and never force situations.

In the same way, a punishment-based education and yelling, 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 this 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 be insecure in the presence of new dogs..

How to take the fear out of a dog?

If you have observed the behavior of your dog and think that it shows fear, we should initially try to find out what stimuli are you afraid of. For example:

  • ¿He is afraid of me or of all people?
  • ¿Has a fear of dogs in general or only some in particular?
  • ¿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 being able to understand and help you to overcome it.

1. Avoid what scares you

Once this element that your dog sees as threatening is located, we must change our routines to be able to check that this is not exposed to said stimulus. If, for example, you are afraid of other dogs, avoid going for a walk at times when all the people in the neighborhood take their dogs for a walk or, in very bad cases, take them to another place to avoid these situations.

In case your dog is afraid of you, avoid forcing the situation avoiding approaching him abruptly, do not speak to him with a strong tone of voice that may intimidate him and, in a way, try to ignore him during the day, so that he sees 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. Expose your dog to fear progressively

Once we have the controlled situation, Now you can start working on your dog so that it gradually overcomes its fears. The methodology that we usually use consists of desensitization and counterconditioning.

Desensitization consists of progressive exposure from 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 where 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 does not feel fear, we will apply the so-called counterconditioning. This method is based on associate a pleasant stimulus, I eat food, to threatening stimulus. Therefore, as we get closer to our dog, we will reward him with food, avoiding giving it to him abruptly. 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 for him, we are actually appetizing, since we give him gifts.

The learning process so that the dog loses its fear can take time, and may last days and even months, depending on the individual and his circumstances, for example, by age, race or if he was abused in the past. In this case, you may be interested in the following article: ¿How to remove the fear of an abused dog?

My dog ​​is suddenly afraid of me

If you and your furry had a good relationship but they have surprised you with a sudden change in their attitude towards you, reflecting fear when you see you, making signs of appeasement when you approach, and even, running away from you, surely you want to know why this distrust.

My dog ​​is suddenly afraid of me for scolding him

The explanation in most cases is that we have reacted disproportionately in response to some action that the animal has performed. We must understand that as humans we have a different reasoning than dogs and, therefore, something that seems justifiable for us and, in some cases, even, for their sake, they can see it as completely incoherent.

For example, we could have scolded our dog for breaking a flowerpot, thinking that it will understand why we are so angry, when in the eyes of the dog, we are behaving aggressively without an apparent cause. As a result of having lived a negative experience similarly, we may have become menacing.

My dog ​​is suddenly afraid of me from a bad experience

It is also possible, although less common, that your dog has become afraid of you due to a confusion. That is, you had a bad experience and I have related it to you. An example of this would be that he felt pain the moment you caressed him and thinks that you are the cause of that discomfort.

Now, if you think that the fact that you have suddenly become afraid is not due to any of these episodes described, it is best to try to find the help from a vet. 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 feeling well; something may hurt due to injury or illness. For more information, see this other article of 10 signs of pain in dogs.

For this reason, ask yourself: ¿you have observed more changes in their usual behavior? ¿He is afraid only of you? ¿Eat enough? ¿Do you see that he licks any part of the body excessively? A professional will be the one who has to rule out whether or not there is an organic problem that justifies this change.

My dog ​​is afraid of me since I hit him

We understand that a dog's learning process can sometimes be a bit tedious, 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 they do not understand why we are attacking them and, therefore, we will achieve nothing beyond intimidating you and making you fear us.

And yes, sometimes it may have worked for you to use physical punishment in specific situations to solve behaviors considered inappropriate, and it 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 relate us to this negative experience and we become a threatening stimulus for him. We must therefore be more understanding.

Positive reinforcement in dogs

For this reason, it is completely unjustified the use of violence in our furry existing other methods, such as positive reinforcement. And it is also necessary to provide alternatives to the unwanted behavior so that they can carry out other more appropriate ones, since many times, behaviors that are annoying to our partner, they are part of his nature of dog. We cannot pretend to cancel 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..

In short, if your dog has begun to fear you as a result of hitting him, we encourage you to learn about the Tips for educating a dog, creating a bond based on trust and not on fear, forming a dog with a confident 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, a intense fear. This emotion is associated with a stress high that triggers a total tension of the muscles, which causes the tremors and even, in more serious situations, the dog could get to stay completely still.

In these situations, what we advise is consult an ethologist that can advise us correctly on how to improve the psychological well-being of our dog. If you want to consult more information about why your dog trembles, we invite you to read: ¿Why is my dog ​​shaking in 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 performing a submission urination. This behavior is common when a dog is in front of another individual who is threatening them, because urination in dogs is also part of their language and, in this case, it tries to communicate that it is harmless and that, therefore, do not hurt him.

Also, in situations highly stressful and scary, For example, if you feel pressured and unable to flee from a stimulus that you think is dangerous, you will likely perform a involuntary urination due to a lack of control of his sphincters. It is not strange in this context that the dog, apart from pissing, also defecates.

For more information, you can consult this other AnimalWised article about ¿Why does my dog ​​urinate when I pet him?

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