Why is My Puppy Scared of Me?

Although there are many reasons your puppy may be scared of you, the methods to overcome that fear are the same. Once you build trust with your puppy, the fear will be eliminated. Always reward good behavior, speak with a soft tone, and show them love and affection as often as possible. 

Puppies are known for their loving, energetic, and social personalities. Because of this, it can be concerning when a puppy withdraws their love and affection. 

Dog is known as man’s best friend, but it’s hard to develop this friendship if the dog fears you. However, it’s not always easy to figure out why your puppy is scared of you. 

The first half of this article goes over the most common reasons puppies are afraid of their owners. The second half goes over a few tips on how you can overcome this situation and rebuild a connection with your puppy. 

This situation can be challenging, but it isn’t futile. After reading this article, you will be on your way to becoming best friends with your pup.

Why Your Puppy Is Scared of You

New Environment

If you just brought a new puppy home, the puppy may be scared for the first few days. Being taken from a previous environment and put into a new one can be overwhelming for any creature. 

The puppy has no idea if this home will be welcoming or harmful, so their first instinct is fear. If this is the case with your puppy, being patient is the key to getting through this phase. 

Naturally Shy

Like humans, animals have many personalities. Though puppies are known for their social and loving natures, some puppies can be timid and shy. 

This doesn’t mean that the puppy will never be loving or social. It just means they may need a bit more time to adjust to environmental changes and new people.

Abusive Previous Owner

When you adopt a puppy, it’s not always easy to find its history with the previous owner. Unfortunately, some puppies come from homes where they were not loved by their previous owners. 

Some people think it is okay to mistreat puppies and verbally or physically abuse them. This can create distrust and fear of humans that is difficult to overcome. 

Unfortunately, once puppies are abused, it’s hard for them to discern which humans are trustworthy and which ones aren’t. 

Even though you may treat your puppy well, they may still be afraid of you. If this is the case, then this situation will require lots of love and patience.

Loud Voice or Verbal Abuse

Dogs have incredibly sensitive ears, which can make them fearful of loud noises. If you have a loud voice, the puppy may see you as a threat and be scared when you talk. 

Simply being mindful of how loud your voice is or what tone you are using can help this situation. 

However, if you yell, shout, or verbally abuse your puppy when it does something wrong, the situation is more serious. 

Remember that no matter what your puppy does, it does not deserve to be verbally abused. This behavior does not solve any problems and only makes your puppy more fearful. 

There are better ways to discipline a misbehaving puppy without traumatizing it in the process. 

Physical Abuse

As with verbal abuse, a puppy will fear you if you physically harm it in any way. No matter what your puppy does, physical abuse is never the answer. 

Physically harming your puppy will not solve anything. The puppy will only fear you and try to hide from you. 

If your puppy is constantly misbehaving, it is important to talk to a vet or a trainer about correcting this behavior. 

Yes, it can be frustrating when puppies don’t do what you want, but this behavior never deserves abuse. If you want your puppy to love you and not fear you, you must never abuse it. 

If any of these scenarios don’t apply to your puppy and your puppy still is fearful around you, you may want to consider taking it to the vet. The vet will do a checkup to see if a medical issue is causing the fear.

How to Overcome Fear

Once you’ve figured out why your puppy is fearful, the next step is overcoming that fear and rebuilding trust. After all, most people buy puppies because they want to create a strong bond with them. 

Below are a few steps you can take to create that bond. 

Reward Good Behavior

If your puppy is fearful because of your disciplinary methods, try focusing on good behaviors. Rewarding good behavior not only helps build a strong connection with your puppy, but it can also eliminate some unacceptable behaviors. 

Praising, talking affectionately, petting, cuddling, and giving treats are great ways to reward good behavior. 

These acts will enforce good behavior and prove to your pup that you love them and want to connect with them. 

Watch Your Tone

As mentioned earlier, some animals are very sensitive to sound. As a result, they can be afraid of anything that makes a loud noise. 

This is one reason so many pets are scared of vacuums and other appliances. However, some humans have naturally loud voices or just talk loud in certain situations. 

If this is the case for you, and you believe your pup is afraid of your voice, try to speak more softly and affectionately. Pets are very sensitive to tone. Talking in a quieter, calmer, and more affectionate tone can help reduce your pup’s fear.

Love and Affection

Consistently showing love and affection to your puppy is crucial to improving its happiness and decreasing its fear. If you consistently treat your puppy well, your puppy will realize that you are a safe person to be around and will enjoy your company. 

What are some ways to show love and affection? One thing you could do is try playing games with the pup. 

Try throwing a ball and see if the puppy will chase it. Throw a frisbee or play tug-of-war with a rope or other toy. 

You can also try petting your puppy calmly so that it becomes familiar with your affectionate touch. Try scratching behind the puppy’s ears or under its collar. Give your puppy treats or a special type of food. 

These may all seem like simple or common sense things, but they show your puppy that you love them. If you consistently try these things, your puppy will be joyful in your presence soon enough. 

However, don’t force your puppy to do anything that it doesn’t want to do. This will only worsen your relationship. 

If the puppy isn’t interested in your attempts, give it some space until it is ready to play or connect. Sometimes puppies don’t open up when you want them to. Be patient. Soon enough, your puppy will liven up and trust you. 

Discipline Calmly

Puppies will sometimes behave in ways we don’t like. Sometimes they do things that are unacceptable, such as urinating on the carpet or chewing on expensive furniture. 

These situations can be incredibly frustrating, but it’s important to be calm, collected, and patient in these moments. 

Screaming, verbally abusing, or physically harming a puppy for a mistake is not acceptable. 

There are many ways to correct behavior in a way that is effective and not traumatic. For example, you could use a spray designed to keep pets away from certain areas or from chewing furniture. 

For stubborn puppies, talk to a trainer or a vet for advice. Some behaviors could be a sign of a deeper issue, so if it persists, speak with a professional to make sure it’s not something worse. 

Be Consistent – The Fear Will Subside

It’s hard when your puppy is scared of you. You adopted this pup to bring joy to your home, but instead, it’s fearful. 

You want this puppy to be a part of your family, but your pup isn’t interested or is even running the other way. 

Hopefully, this article gave you a few ideas as to why this might be happening and a few solutions to fix the problem. 

Your relationship with your puppy is incredibly important. As with all relationships, we must make changes and compromises for it to succeed. 

If your puppy is afraid of you, try these tips, be patient, and get advice from a professional trainer or vet if needed. 

By making some positive changes, soon enough, your pup will be lively, loving, social, and happy to be a part of your family. 

Recommended For You