Is my dog scared of me?

scared-dogHi DTB

I recently adopted a 3yr old pit mix female who has taken very well to my 11 year old daughter but is very skittish around me, me being a male. I have tried the treat trick and she still doesn’t like to come to me. If I sit on the couch not that I condone this behavior, I have allowed her to come up next to me but she still is very apprehensive. Understanding this is a new environment for her, are there any other suggestions to help with comforting her towards me. Thank you for your time.


Hi JD.

So as you have probably already guessed, it is likely that your dog was previously abused by a male. She obviously has trust issues, and as is typical, has associated all males with this behavior. The main thing that is going to change this is simply time. Try not to raise your voice around her, and do things like raise your hands quickly or make loud noises in front of her. It can take dogs 6-12 months to really bond with their new owners, even if they have not been abused, so this too will take time. You don’t want to create other behavioral issues by allowing her to do things that you do not want her to do though, ie: get on the couch. So treat her as you would any dog that you want in your house, but always be conscious that she is nervous. Never force her to be patted or moved close to you if she is uncomfortable, just let her come to you. Treats are always good to help encourage her, but it has to be on her terms.

Over time I am confident she will learn to trust you!


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Beth Jeffery

Beth Jeffery is a Dog Trainer and Behaviorist with over 15 years experience in the field. She spent years in the Service Dog field, training both Guide Dogs for the Blind and Assistance Dogs for the Disabled, as well as many years working with pet dogs. Beth current runs her Dog Training business in San Diego, working with dogs of all breeds, all ages, and with all issues, from puppy training through to aggressive dogs.

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