What do I do if my dog is afraid of people?

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Efreya Waitecker

Does your dog show insecurity or fear when approaching strangers? The first thing is to understand the reasons why our pet has this attitude. Fear usually appears when the puppy socialization stage ends, an important time to accustom our dog to all kinds of people. Although usually the fear is due to poor socialization,there are other causes that can provoke it:

  • Lack of regular contact with people
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Genetic issues
  • Use of punishment on the dog
  • Contact with little variety of people
  • Ageing
  • Diseases

In order to help our dog, it is very important to understand its language. We must know the physical signs to understandIn this way, we can identify the stimuli that trigger the fear and control interactions with people. It is vital that the dog does not suddenly find himself in a crowd or in front of people who try to touch him: we must try to make him feel safe. If the dog feels good, it will be easier for him to start overcoming fears. The idea is that,as long as the dog is with us, know that nothing bad is going to happen.

What you should never do

  • Allow other people to directly approach the dog or touch him if he shows signs of appeasement.
  • Punish him, force him or force him to do something he doesn't want.The dog should be free to express his emotions.
  • Whether to scold him if he shows his teeth.In thiscase the dog may go on to attack directly without showing this warning sign.

Home therapy (in non-aggressive cases)

  • Explain to people that they should not stare at the dog, attempt to touch or pet it.They will also not lean over it or attempt to initiate first contact.
  • People will maintain a relaxed body posture and ignore the
  • Let the dog get used to the presence of people in the home.
  • Ask the people to try to reward the dog with a treat every time the dog approaches them.
  • After giving the dog a treat, they will continue to ignore the dog.
  • Repeat this exercise with the same people and once the dog tolerates their presence and takes the treats normally, repeat the exercise with the same people.
  • After the dog is used to the presence of people in the home, try to reward the dog with a treat.other different people.
  • Once the dog practices this exercise and becomes confident at home, we will perform the same exercises outside the home, in parks and streets.

Remember that this is a long process and that to observe an evident and faster improvement, therapies in the working field will be necessary.In addition, the professional working with us will be able tomore effectively identify the dog's emotions and other behavioral problems he may have.


The author of this blog is a lifelong animal lover with a passion for writing. She has years of experience working with animals, both in zoos and in private homes, and she brings that knowledge to her writing. Whether she's writing about training your dog or the best way to care for your cat, her goal is always to provide accurate and helpful information.