Dogs will tell you everything you need to know through the behaviors and body language they display. Not many humans know how to understand body language or navigate behavior, disrupting communication. Obviously, dogs and humans do not speak the same language, but we share many of the same feelings and emotions.
With some research and practice, humans can begin to understand why their dogs act the way they do, leading to a more peaceful existence between humans and canines. This type of communication is essential in households that choose to keep dogs as pets because when it breaks down, frustration runs rampant.
Fear is an emotion that dogs can feel, and they typically don’t have a problem letting us know that they’re feeling nervous or scared. However, if you find yourself asking why is my dog suddenly scared of me, there could be a more significant issue at hand than a fleeting feeling of fear or anxiety.
When a dog begins to act agitated without an identifiable trigger, humans need to take a deeper look into the environment and current surroundings. Emotional, mental, and medical reasons could be at the root of the behavior that comes with a suddenly fearful dog. We’ll dig into it a little bit more below; no pun intended.
Why is my dog suddenly scared of me?
When your pup starts to exhibit fearful behavior in your presence, it could be stemming from many things. Dogs have incredibly advanced senses in comparison to humans, so something as small as a change in your emotions, perhaps to anger or fear, could cause your dog to begin to fear you.
Fear is an emotional response that dogs have little control over. It’s an instinct that did not fade, even with years of evolution. If things change overnight, and you can’t pin down a reason for the sudden onset of fear, you’ll want to consult your vet.
As dogs advance in age, they may begin to fear things they usually would not, humans included. This breakdown in emotion doesn’t happen to all dogs, but it’s not uncommon or unheard of to see an older dog begin to fear his people, perhaps due to loss of senses.
If you think this is the case, you’ll want to bring your dog in for a medical checkup as soon as possible. Not only can your vet diagnose the issue, but they can help you get back on track and fix it, allowing your elderly pup to live out the rest of his years in peace with you and your family.
Dogs that come from rescue and shelter situations may seem fine at first and then begin to exhibit fearful behavior in the home instead of settling in. This is often a phase and should be dealt with using positive reinforcement and allowing them plenty of time to acclimate.
If the behavior concerns you, it never hurts to contact a professional canine behavioral specialist to help you out. A great trainer can get to the root of the problem, working alongside humans and canines to establish a bond based on trust instead of fear.
If you’ve recently punished your dog, you’ll likely notice that he isn’t interested in spending much time with you, and he might even show you that he’s pretty afraid. Dogs never learn from punishment, and instead, do much better with positive reinforcement.
Contact a trainer right away if you’ve recently punished your pup, and he’s now fearful of you. With a professional, you’ll learn how to work positively with your dog and begin to rebuild your relationship with him. Be patient; this will take time.
Why is my dog suddenly avoiding me?
Like humans, dogs avoid situations that make them uncomfortable. If they’ve recently witnessed you yelling, screaming, crying, hitting, or punishing them, likely, they won’t want to be around you.
If there hasn’t been an incident as such, or a change in an environment like a move or the addition of a human or animal roommate, the problem could be medical. Sick dogs often seek time alone, so if your pup avoids you, it’s time to see the doggy doctor.
Why is my dog suddenly scared of my room?
Dogs sense changes in emotion and energy, and they may not want to enter a room where there’s been a fight or even a depressive episode. They are incredibly sensitive, so if you’ve got a pup that’s avoiding your room, you’ll want to think over recent events that may have triggered the behavior.
Remember, changes in the environment can cause fear reactions as well. Something as small as a change in furniture can throw your pooch off.
Why is my dog scared of me when I come home?
If your pup is scared when you come home but then warms up to you as time goes by, this could be a part of his personality. Some dogs, especially rescues, take a few minutes to warm up, no matter who comes in the door.
Be gentle when you come in the door. Set your things down quietly, taking care not to make a big fuss and plenty of noise upon arrival. Also, it doesn’t hurt to come in with treats! Fido will be incredibly excited to see you if you’ve got snacks ready for him when you come home.
How do I get my dog to stop being scared of me?
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to be less afraid of you.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged your dog to act scared of you by rewarding it when it acts afraid. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding your dog when it is afraid and to try to reward your dog when it starts showing signs of not being afraid.
Positive reinforcement training
If you have currently been using fear or intimidating methods to train your dog, it would help to stop and to use positive reinforcement training instead. Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your dog when it shows signs of behaving the way you want and not rewarding it when it does not. It would help to reward your dog whenever it is not afraid and to try to avoid giving it attention when it does not.
Deal with other issues
It might be the case that you have not been intimidating your dog. Rather, it might be the case that something in its environment has been causing it to be afraid. It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started being afraid. For example, if your dog started doing it when you got a new dog, it could be the case that your dog is afraid of the new dog. Alternatively, if your dog became afraid when you moved home, it could be the case that your dog has not adjusted to its new surroundings.
If you can’t get your dog to stop being scared of you, it’s time to hire a trainer. These situations require in-depth analysis and lots of work to undo. It may or may not be your fault that your dog is scared of you, but that’s for you to work through with the help of a professional.
There is peace at the end of the road. Your dog doesn’t want to live in fear just as much as you don’t want him to, but with that being said, he is reacting to something. Give him time, plenty of training, and lots of treats, and you’ll find that slowly but surely, things will begin to change.