You are about to feed your dog.
But as you go near them, your dog starts to cower.
They start to bark and growl.
Your wife goes near, and they begin to relax.
You start to wonder:
“Why is my dog scared of me but not my wife?”
“Did I do something wrong?”
Continue reading to find out:
- 3 tips on how to train your dog not to get scared.
- How to know if your smell or approach scares your dog.
- 7 reasons why your dog is scared of you but not your wife.
- And a lot more…
Why is my dog scared of me but not my wife?
Your dog is scared of you but not with your wife because they have a history of abuse. You may remind them of someone who hurt them. It can be because they need to socialize or they’re the shy type. At times, it might be due to your scent or the wrong approach.
My dog is scared of me but not my wife – 7 reasons
#1: History of abuse
The most common reason your dog is scared of you is that they were abused or mistreated in the past.
The abuse was most probably by a male who has similar physical traits as you.
The body built, tone of voice, or habits may remind them of their past abuser.
Most rescue dogs have a painful past.
Keep in mind that it’s not your fault. Your dog needs healing time to move on from what happened.
You may want to pet or play with your dog outright, but it may take time for them to be comfortable.
It takes time, patience, and effort to help an abused dog move on, but you can do it.
Watch this video on how to tell if your rescue dog has been abused.
#2: Needs to socialize
Is your dog comfortable with your wife and other females but not with you?
Chances are they need to socialize more with men.
Socialization in dogs starts when they are still puppies.
Exposure to different kinds of people, male and female, young and old, can make them less fearful. People come in different shapes and sizes.
They may live with a man in the house, but they can be scared of other males if they’re only exposed to one type.
The women in the home also raise most puppies. Men usually leave for work and are gone for hours.
Due to this setup, dogs feel closer to the female at home who is usually present.
A dog needs to practice socializing starting from 7 weeks to 4 months of age. It’s the perfect time when they learn a lot from the world.
You might also wonder: Why does my dog sit/stay in another room?
#3: Scared of your voice
Do people compliment you that you have a deep voice?
Of course, it’s an asset, but your dog may not be used to hearing deep voices.
Your dog may find your wife’s soft voice comforting.
Your deep voice can be intimidating for them. A dog may feel that prominent voices are equal to barks or growls.
It also doesn’t help that dogs have fantastic hearing abilities. They can hear sounds a hundred times better than humans.
So even if you aren’t shouting or yelling, your dog can hear you from far away.
Do you notice that your dog barks even when it’s quiet?
It’s because they can hear even the faintest sounds.
Don’t be sad about this news. A dog can even feel stressed with everyday sounds like a blender or a vacuum cleaner.
They just need time to get used to your deep voice. In time, they’ll love it too.
#4: Shy type
Your idea of a shy dog may look cute with a hesitant smile and paws over their eyes.
So you might think your scared dog isn’t shy. Not exactly. A shy dog is a scared dog.
There’s nothing cute about cowering, shaking, and hiding.
These are some signs of a shy dog. Does your dog do this when they see you?
They might be the shy type. Some dogs can be shy with just certain kinds of people or other dogs.
Other dogs can exhibit extreme shyness that may lead them to unusual behaviors like biting and urinating.
You can help your shy dog be more confident. It takes genuine care and patience to make them come out from their shell.
You might also be interested in: Why Doesn’t My Dog Howl? 9 Weird Reasons + What It Means
#5: Hates your smell
Dogs don’t only have a keen sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is incredible too.
They can’t only smell a million times better than us, but they can identify where the smell comes from.
Males and females emit different smells due to our hormones.
Most puppies get used to the smell of their parents who take care of them.
The mother takes care of the pups while the father is away.
At this stage, the pup is now familiar with the smell of estrogen.
Estrogen is a female hormone that is linked with the reproductive system.
Before we get all scientific, it just means that pups are more used to the female smell.
Your growing dog is used to the smell of your wife.
There are also certain smells that dogs hate, such as herbs, chilis, and strong perfume.
Do you happen to wear strong-scented perfume?
Do you like to cook and often use herbs for your recipes?
If they sniff you and decide not to get close, your canine may not like what they’re smelling.
The good thing is changing your perfume, washing up, or getting used to your scent can turn this problem around.
#6: Uncomfortable with your approach
You playfully approach your dog since you’re excited to play with them outside.
You greet them in a loud cheerful voice.
What a great afternoon to play fetch, but your dog isn’t budging.
Instead, they’re whining and hiding.
Your wife approaches, and your dog calms down.
So much for a fun-filled afternoon. You just wanted to play with them.
Don’t take it personally. Your dog just might be uncomfortable with your approach.
Since dogs have sensitive hearing, yelling can be stressful for them.
Being too energetic may seem aggressive for your furry friend.
Study says that dogs respond to our gestures. Positive actions may encourage them to go near, such as nodding, smiling, and pointing.
Other actions can make them feel intimidated, such as turning away or towering over them.
To sum it up, our approach matters not just with dogs but other humans too.
A rightful approach will get a welcoming response. You can learn it in no time.
#7: You remind them of someone
How good is a dog’s memory?
Not as good as ours, but they do remember.
Humans remember specific events. That is why we like to rekindle and recall old memories.
There are episodes in our lives that we like to relive in our brains.
Some people think the best is better than the present.
Lucky for our furry friends, they don’t become nostalgic.
They don’t remember old girlfriends or think about dream vacations.
But they have associative memory.
It means that they see an object as an association of an event.
For a dog, when a fur parent gets the car keys, they’re leaving.
Wearing your shoes means you are about to play outside.
If your dog is scared of you, there’s a big chance you remind them of someone.
A previous bad experience that they can associate with you.
Let’s say you like to wear hats, and somebody in the past kicked or hurt them while weaning a hat.
Your mustache may trigger not-so-good associative memories.
A man with a mustache might have done something terrible to your dog.
You can remove the cap or mustache to help your dog cope.
As for physical features that you can’t change, we can train them.
Your dog will not associate you with that bad memory soon.
My dog is scared of me but not my wife – 3 tips
#1: Identify the triggers
Your dog is scared of you due to several reasons.
The first and most crucial step is knowing what it is.
It can be your physical attributes, your approach, or your scent.
Observe the difference between you and your wife.
Does your dog respond more to a calm and soft voice?
What is your dog’s reaction when they see other males?
Are there specific actions they don’t like?
If your dog reacts the same way to men with caps or mustaches, it might be the cause.
Consider approaching your dog without a cap.
The initial step is to identify the triggers so you can eliminate them or train them to cope.
Try to expose them to men with the same build as you. Check if they react the same way.
Let someone wear a cap, glasses, or your perfume. Test how your dog reacts when they’re around.
Be observant for warning signs that your dog isn’t ready such as:
- Flat Ears.
Once you establish the cause, you can proceed to the next step.
#2: Change your approach
Now that you’ve identified the cause, it’s time to do something about your approach.
You can remove what triggers them if it’s not a big deal, such as ditching your cap to show your lovely hair.
A dog best responds to encouragement and positive reinforcement rather than force.
You can help your dog heal by desensitization if they have a history of abuse.
Research states that desensitization can change a dog’s response to something they associate as negative.
Ask your wife to introduce you to your canine daily by letting you join in their activities.
You can also sit quietly near them at first while dropping treats.
Next, change your approach with these helpful steps
- Squat at their level.
- Do not force your dog.
- Avoid yelling or shouting.
- Avoid wearing strong scents.
- Wait for them to approach you.
- Praise your dog once they warm up to you.
- Give treats once your dog starts to follow you.
Do this daily and extend your time with them. If your dog is ready to play with you, ask your wife to join.
Slowly but surely, you can play together while your wife can rest.
#3: Maintain the behavior
Better days are here. Your dog is finally not scared of you.
Your canine loves to spend time with you and your wife.
But you want them to enjoy life more.
Walking and hiking outside is such a fun thing to do.
You want to take them to cafes and other public places.
When your furry friend is warming up to you slowly, avoid subjecting them immediately to a lot of people.
You may want to improve their socialization skills but it’s always better to wait.
You may go back to square one. Back to the time when they barely get near you.
Avoid introducing them to a lot of men at once. It should be one day at a time.
Preferably in their comfort zone, which is your home.
Places with a lot of people may cause them to panic especially if they just got used to your presence.
You can let them see other people from afar at first. Give treats so they can associate it as a positive experience.
Do this for five minutes a day then ten minutes the next day.
Gradually increase their exposure to other men.
It also helps to schedule these activities so they will know when to expect it.
Dogs thrive on a schedule.
Your dog’s body movements will tell you if he is ready and happy.
These are signs of a happy dog:
- Leaning in.
- Floppy ears.
- Tail wagging.
- Relaxed body.
- Raise hair along the back.
Take note of your doggo’s body language. In no time, you’ll be enjoying the outdoors with them.