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Fear toward men is one of the more common human-based fears a dog can have. According to most trainers, dogs tend to fear men and children more often than women. There are several reasons for this: lack of socialization, bad experiences and the tendency of men to be louder and more threatening to a frightened dog. This fear then leads to aggressive behaviors, such as lunging, barking, growling and even biting.
Dogs can be genetically predispositioned to fear, or it can develop through their lives, and most of those fears can be reduced with training. Men are often more likely to cause fear in dogs because they have deep, gruff voices and are more likely to yell, whereas women tend to be more nurturing and have higher, more comforting voices. Men also wear hats and grow beards, which dogs may not be familiar with. Dogs are also very sensitive to body language, and men tend to be larger and walk with their shoulders wide and chest puffed out.
To prevent your dog from developing fears, you must expose her to as many people as possible during her crucial socialization period, which experts agree occurs between 3 and 12 weeks. During this time, expose your puppy to men, men with beards, men in hats, men with sunglasses, men with limps, construction workers, gardeners and every other man you can think of, so that she won't be startled when she sees one later in life. If your puppy seems afraid during the socialization period, don't make her meet anyone. Let her approach each man on her own and then give her treats and praise when she does so, thus making the men rewarding rather than frightening.
If your dog has been rescued or is new to you as an adult, you don't know what her previous life was like. They may never have been exposed to men, or they may have had bad experiences with men where they were yelled at, beaten or made to fight other dogs. This may cause a specific fear that doesn't translate to women, just men. In that case, you have to teach him that men aren't scary.
If your dog is afraid of men, desensitize her to the presence of men by allowing her to stay at a safe distance with men nearby. If your dog is barking or fearful, you are too close. Give her treats for looking at you instead of the man. Allow her to move behind you, but reward her for coming forward. Gradually, move closer. Don't ask strange men to give her treats. You should give her treats for being brave around men. If she gathers the courage to approach one, then he can give her a treat. But he should not use the treat to coax her to him.
Dogs presenting signs of fear aggression should be managed carefully. Any dog can bite if he is frightened, so always monitor him in the presence of men. Keep him on a leash or muzzled if you feel he may bite. Protect your dog from strange men by preventing them from approaching if it will frighten your dog. It's important that your dog trusts you to protect him.
- never walk alone image by Dubravko Grakalic from Fotolia.com