Why is my dog scared of people?

I have an 8 month old American Cocker Spaniel named Bubba. We have had him since he was 4 months old. From day one he has been scared of people. We walk him, take him to dog parks/beaches, and he still barks and runs from every one we come across. Even our friends and neighbors who he sees on a daily basis can't get near him. He is becoming more aggresive as he gets older. He is such a beautiful, sweet dog, and I want to be able to walk him with out any problems. I want people to be able to pet him. I am scared he might bite some one, or even a child. How do I socialize him with these bad behaviors?I have had dogs all my life, and have never had a problem like this.

Asked by Member 530503 on Nov 13th 2007 Tagged aggresive, fearful, unsocialized in Behavior & Training
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Do you know how Bubba was raised and cared for the first four months of his life before you got him? If he was not handled frequently and was not exposed to a lot of people at a young age, his "fear" may actually be a lack of socialization.

This is something you can work on but it is going to require a lot of patience and time. You will not be able to let just anyone pet him, and you need to be prepared to tell people, "NO, please don't pet him!" (People will give you the most incredulous looks and comments, but just because you're outside with your dog does not mean they have a RIGHT to touch!)

I would start bringing your dog into situations where there are people. Have a bag of treats and be prepared to keep back and just praise her for being calm and interested. Move closer, again keeping it positive and not forcing interaction with people. You want your dog to be able to be around people before making him interact.

Abby answered on Nov 13th.

Other Answers



My cocker mix came to me afraid of people, especially children and men. After 3 years, she is still shy, but making progress. Yes, allow people to offer her treats you provide, offering it under the chin, not over it. My command is "check it out", and I stand near the person who's trying to say hello, praising her, even if she just sticks her nose towards them. How you react will affect how he reacts. Correct his growls, barks w/ a calm voice and praise even if he just shuts up. I have found shy dogs have a better comfort level in large spaces, where they know there's an escape route. After 3 years of being calm, positive, and consistent, Miss Dahlia is actually starting to initiate contact and liking it> Good Luck!

Dahlia answered on 11/15/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer