Why Rescue Dogs Are Afraid of Men and Masculine Energy

The Reason Why Some Rescue Dogs Are Afraid of Men

When you see a god incessantly barking at a passerby, you might be of the idea that they’re not well-trained. While that might be the case, it’s also possible this behavior is the result of a phobia.

It’s common for dogs to have phobias, but one of the biggest ones is a fear of men. That’s right, many dogs have a long-lasting fear of men, and it can result in your dog getting upset whenever a man comes around.

Here we’ll talk about what aspects of a man can cause your dog to be fearful around men, as well as tips on how to help your dog adjust.


Physical Appearance

Silhouette of a man - The masculine body

First and foremost, the physical appearance of a man can make a dog fearful. The more masculine someone appears, the more likely a dog with a phobia for men is going to react negatively.

Here are characteristics that dogs may find threatening:

  • Size. The taller and broader a man is, the more intimidating he is.
  • Facial hair. It disguises some of man’s features, making him harder to read and appear more aggressive.
  • Wearing hats or glasses. Like with beards, these accessories can hide a man’s facial cues and make him difficult to read.
  • Deep voice. Deep voices are more threatening to dogs compared to lighter, softer voices.

Now, some of these characteristics can’t be changed; that’s just a fact. That’s why socialization and desensitization is key for your dog to love the important men in your life.


Behavior and Masculine Energy

Behavior, Masculine Energy and Loud voices

There is a certain masculine energy and there are certain behavioral traits that men tend to perform more than women. These masculine behaviors can frighten a dog.

If you have a dog fearful of men, here are some behaviors you and any men you know should refrain from doing:

  • Sudden movements. If a dog isn’t used to a man, they need to keep things slow. Abrupt movements are unpredictable, while slow movements can let a dog know they aren’t going to be hurt.
  • Walking towards a dog. Walking towards a dog can make them fearful that you’re going to harm them. When a man interacts with a fearful dog, the goal should be letting the dog come to you instead of going for the dog.
  • Leaning over a dog. Like with walking towards a dog, if the dog isn’t used to a man, they can get anxious when leaned over.
  • Using a loud voice. Make sure to use your inside voice with dogs. Loud voices can sound threatening.

Now, none of these can be considered masculine behaviors, per se, but that separation does exist because of masculine energy, and studies have shown that dogs are more afraid when masculine behaviors are performed by any gender.


Lack of Exposure/Socialization

Dogs are most impressionable when they’re young. As puppies, they tend to take in what they’re exposed to and set these factors as being normal to them. While dogs can still learn while they’re older, it’s crucial that puppies learn as much as they can, such as basic training. The older a dog gets, the harder it becomes to teach them things.

Puppies should be exposed to all kinds of people, including family, friends, and anyone else you can force your bundle of furry joy onto. This includes men of all shapes and sizes. If they become used to a tall, broad man as a pup, they’re less likely to be afraid of any similar men in the future.

As for adult dogs, it’s going to take a bit longer for them to warm up to men, but as long as they have plenty of positive experiences with exposure and socialization, things should be a breeze.


Prior Bad Experiences

While puppies are able to learn quickly and enthusiastically, they’re also able to gain new fears in an instant. This is most prominent at the ages of 8-10 weeks and 6-14 months. These are called the “fear periods”, where a simple bad experience can have a lasting impact on a dog.

Unfortunately, dogs can also experience trauma just as well as humans can. Painful and bad experiences with men as a puppy can cause a life-long fear of them. Even just one painful or terrifying moment can lead to a phobia of men.

If you think this is the case, you should understand the incident that caused your dog’s phobia. If you can’t place it, and you think your dog might have had a serious incident, you may want to think about chatting with a behaviorist.


Tips on Making Your Dog More Comfortable with Men

While exposure and socialization is the key, there are some tips you can use to help your dog socialize with men.

If your dog is ever anxious or getting fearful, you need to make sure that the man in the room does not look at, talk to, or pet the dog. Wait until the dog feels safe before proceeding.

When it comes to socialization, here are important tips that you should know.

  • Make sure your dog is calm before receiving pets from a man.
  • Always give pets underneath, never above. Pets on the head from strangers can make your dog feel intimidated.
  • Know when to keep your dog away. AKA, if a man is insistent on interacting with your dog or is not following your instructions, you need to be firm with him and get him to leave your dog alone. Don’t let your dog have any bad experiences that can ruin any progress with socialization and exposure.
  • See a dog trainer or behaviorist. A professional may be able to help you understand your dog and help them to be more comfortable around men.


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