I find it sad when people make fun of dogs who are scared of people. Many people underestimate the toll that this fear can have on the dog and the effect it can have on their own life.
What Does Fear of People Look Like?
If your dog is afraid of people, you probably use, or hear other people use, the terms scaredy-cat, shy, nervous, or cautious. It’s easy to recognize that your dog is fearful of people if she moves away, hides, or trembles when a stranger approaches.
But did you know that your dog may indicate uncertainty or fear around people in other ways, such as by:
· Jumping up or seeking attention
· Excessive shedding
· Refusing to make eye contact
Your dog may also channel his fear into aggressive actions, such as growling, barking, and biting.
Why are Some Dogs Scared or Shy?
Fearful dogs come in all sizes, shapes, breeds, and mixes. The fear can develop at an early age or appear to come on suddenly later in life.
A popular belief is that dogs who exhibit fear toward people must have suffered abuse or something very scary must have happened to them. While this may be true in some cases, the combination of genetic predisposition and a lack of social experiences in early puppyhood probably play a much larger role.
Many parents of shy dogs will never know the exact root cause. Fortunately, you don’t have to know why a dog is afraid to help him or her overcome those fears.
What Effects Does Fear of People Have?
Dogs that are fearful suffer emotionally. The stress of being afraid can also lead to health problems, resulting in disease and illness. This results in more suffering for your dog. You’ll find yourself having to take her to the vet more often, which takes both time and money.
Your social life may also be limited as you try to keep your dog from being exposed to other people. You may have to walk your dog at strange hours and in unlikely places in order to avoid other people. And if your dog becomes aggressive when she’s afraid, you could be faced with medical bills from whomever she bites, as well as a lawsuit.