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Fearful of men? Here’s why

August 20th 2019

Author: Sarah Butler

Does your dog cower, run away, or show their dislike of men whenever one enters the room? Find out why and how you can fix the problem.

Your dog could have the sweetest nature and the calmest of dispositions, but as soon as a male enters the room, they can become scared, nervous, or even aggressive. While many people assume the dog has had a bad experience with a male, that’s rarely the case. Instead, it can be one of several reasons.

A lack of socialisation with males from a young age is one of the more common reasons. During the age of three weeks through to three months, a puppy should be exposed to all types of people. In many cases, they are not. The arrival of a new gender with a different manner, walk, and voice can be an overwhelming experience for a dog that is more familiar with feminine qualities.

Facial hair is potentially another reason, according to a 1970 study by Guthrie. Beards are thought to be signs of testosterone, aggressiveness, and status. A dog may feel threatened and intimidated by men with facial hair.

A male voice can also cause fear, as some pooches may hear the low boom and believe it’s
a growl or bark. A man’s scent or size may also contribute. Of course, not every dog will fear men for these reasons, but when you begin trying to solve the problem, these are worth considering.

You will find it’s a slow process to solve the problem of male-oriented fear, as you cannot force your dog to stop being scared of men. Start by letting the male be in the same room as your dog, but not the same space. Have the man ignore your dog, so your pooch does not feel
threatened. If your dog moves closer to the male in the room, have him throw a treat toward the dog as a reward. Doing so can slowly help to build trust.

Treats, praise, and patience are going to be your three primary training tools. Use praise and treats for any nonaggressive and positive behaviour, and patience for not forcing the dog to
interact with the male and vice versa. Over time, and with guidance and advice from a trained professional, you may be able to help your dog to overcome their fear of men. If you have any queries or concerns, consult your local vet.