Fear of men

Stage 1: Evaluate all the characteristics of the stimulus or the situation which cause the fear response in the dog by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is the dog familiar with men or not?
  • How does the man react with the dog: does he attempt to interact, or does he ignore him?
  • Could some physical characteristics in a man be significant?
  • At what distance does the dog show fear?
  • Is the environment in which the dog finds himself contentious to his fear?

Stage 2: Determine the importance of these characteristics for your dog and his fear. Let's look at an example of a female's progression in dealing with her fear of men: the dog is all right in the company of male family members; the dog improves in front of certain visitors that frequently visit the house; she is behaving better when men leave her alone; she is more scared when a strange man approaches her and tries to pet her.

Stage 3: Target the beginning of the fear by determining its origin. It is essential that you determine the starting point so as to be able to divide the learning stages and establish a set goal. Make a list of the men with whom the dog is liable to come into contact.

Stages 4-5-6: Use the data gathered to create a situation of practice with the appropriate level of difficulty. When the dog has shown that his fear is abating, gradually increase the intensity of each stimulus. Dogs that are afraid can be partially rehabilitated. However, one must pay particular attention to specific details of each case, and proceed very gradually according to the dog's needs. If you are not following an appropriate plan with your dog, it is very possible that you will not manage to circumvent the reactions of fear that your dog experiences. If you have no experience in behavior modification techniques, consult an ethologist or a behaviorist veterinarian.

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