Dog Afraid of Males: Simple Steps to Help Overcome Fear

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 10, 2024

dog afraid of males

For this Omaha dog training session we helped a very anxious 2 year-old Coonhound mix named Akira on how to help a dog afraid of males. Akira is also reactive to unexpected noises.

Akira’s guardian works with dogs for a living so she was ahead of the curve on many things. She had also been watching my videos and reading my session write ups and gleamed many positive dog training tips from my website.

The guardian had some rules in place, but I suggested a few changes and additional rules to help shrink Akira’s world a bit. When working with a scared dog, it’s important to help them feel less anxious. A few ways to do this is add a schedule, have new people ignore them and reducing their exposure to things that make them nervous unless they approach them on their own.

I was able to use some old dog behavior expert tricks to make sure Akira was comfortable with me (her guardian helped too). I observed her while I shared a number of dog behavior tips and some dog psychology on the fearful dog.

How to Help an Anxious Dog Afraid of Males

Many people try to soothe anxious dogs by petting them or speaking to them sweetly when they are in a fearful state of mind. But if a dog is scared of people, the last thing they want is to be touched by them. Its much better for people to ignore the dog; no direct eye contact, no rwching for them or petting / touching.

If a fearful dog approaches you and you can see they are stiff, leaning to reach you, has wide unblining eyes, a tucked tail, etc, stay motionless until they finish sniffing and move away. It takes a lot of bravery for a scared dog to approach a new person. You can help reward that bravery by being still.

I suggested to the guardian that they try my method of petting with a purpose. I also recommended that they focus on rewarding good behaviors when using this technique. I like to cal this “celebrating” and its a great way to train dogs and help build their confidence.

This can also encourage her to behave well. The owner plays a key role in shaping the dog’s behavior. Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train a dog.

Before the session began, the guardian arranged for a friend whom Akira was fearful of to come over. Initially, the friend stayed in another room to allow me to start the session.

I asked him to come into the room with Akira and her guardian. I wanted to show him techniques to help the dog feel more comfortable. I also wanted to help the dog get over her fear of him.

Akira immediately got stiff and moved away as he entered the room. I allowed her to relax for a while. She appeared calmer. Then, I started tossing delicious treats onto the floor in various places.

I was setting the stage for the next few steps I wanted to introduce to help Akira stop being afraid of this man. You can get more information on how to help a fearful dog by watching the video below.

It took some time which is why I started the process long before we shot the above video. By moving slowly and matching the dog’s speed, I helped Akira overcome her fear of the man. Eventually Akira laid down on the floor a foot or two away from the guest.

When the guest and guardian both mentioned that was the closest Akira had gotten to him, I knew we were making good progress.

Helping a Fearful Dog Feel More Comfortable

Another dog behavior tip I shared was the benefits of walks. Dogs get over things by literally moving forward. Changing the environment can greatly impact a dog because of the increased space, distractions, and other factors.

We started the walk with the guardian holding the leash and the guest a few feet to their side. Note: you should only do this if the dog is comfortable enough to walk with a loose leash. If the dog is pulling away or cowering, this wouldnt be a great exercise.

A quarter of the way through the walk, I had the guardian hand the leash to the guest without Akira noticing. It was great to see Akira continue to walk calmly after she noticed the guest was holding the towel.  This is great progress for this fearful dog.

During the walk, I sent the guardian home then observed from a distance. I wanted to make sure that Akira wasnt anxious or panic when she saw her guardian leave her with this new person. Akira and the guest successfuly finished the walk by themselves.  Hurray!

I want Akira’s guardian to invite guests over so she can practice tossing treats and taking the dog for a walk. Akira is going to need to repeat these steps to practice being around strangers with nothing bad happening. The guests should ignore her completely. Don’t look, talk, touch, or make sudden movements around her, especially unexpected ones.

It will take time and practice before Akira stops being afraid of male house guests. It is important to make this transition.

When a dog is scared, their body releases cortisol into her blood. This is the stress hormone. It causes both biological and psychological fear responses in dogs. This is a common aspect of fearful dogs.

By the end of the session Akira was taking treats from the floor right next to the guest and even laying down near him. It will take time for her to overcome her anxiety and fear. She has a guardian who has the right mindset and tools to help her.

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This post was written by: David Codr