Help! My Dog Is Scared Of My Boyfriend

Help! My Dog Is Scared Of My Boyfriend

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Your dog can be comforted by using yourself as a distraction when it is afraid of your boyfriend. Your presence and hugs will comfort him and give him a sense of safety. It may be helpful to wrap your dog up in something, such as a shirt that you just wore and still has your scent on it. This may provide gentle pressure to your dog and the sensation of being held.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Help! My Dog Is Scared Of My Boyfriend“.

It can be unfathomable when your friendly socialized and happy dog suddenly becomes afraid around other people.

Help! My Dog Is Scared Of My Boyfriend

Your boyfriend may even be afraid of him if he acts nervously around him.

It can be a tricky problem because its likely that your boyfriend will be around a lot at your house but you can not let your dog feel threatened constantly.

Lets try to figure out where your dogs fear is coming from in order to start resolving the issue.

Are dogs afraid of men more than women?

Lets begin by asking all the right questions. 

Can your dog suddenly and unexplainably become scared of other new people? Could he have been socialized improperly as a puppy? Can your dog be afraid of men in general and not just your boyfriend in particular?

Dog owners are noticing that their dogs are afraid of men. There is a lot of talks circulating around the dog-loving community. Men who are strangers are more likely to do it; however it also happens a great deal with men who are already familiar with the dog. Is this an indication that dogs are more afraid of men?

That question cannot be answered scientifically. There are some articles that suggest that since dogs are raised mostly by their mothers they may relate the smell of women as safe and comforting while the smell of men may simply register as strange or foreign. Additionally women tend to approach dogs in a nurturing comforting and nonthreatening manner while men tend to approach dogs in a playful and assertive manner that may be misconstrued as aggressive.

All of these are possibilities but they are not necessarily cold hard facts. Our only option is to observe your dogs behavior. Check to see if he acts strangely around just your boyfriend or around your other male friends as well.

Why are dogs normally scared of people?

Many dogs are afraid of people for various reasons and it isnot always because they have been abused or neglected. Some dogs are just shy or very timid to the extent that they are nervous when they meet a new person or are in a strange environment. A second reason could be that they werenot socialized well enough at a young age which means that they werenot exposed to enough people or had physical contact with them making people – strangers or not – a bit scary to them.

However sometimes the reason may really be that they were abused or neglected before you adopted them. Give the shelter a call if you have adopted a dog and ask for a bit more information about its history. 

There is nothing more empathetic than a dog with a strong memory. At a young age a broom could fall on them and hurt them and they could develop a fear of all sticks. Violence around them or abuse by their previous owners might leave a mark on their minds causing them to associate people particularly strangers with feelings of fear and pain.

Is this a sudden change with your dog? 

You’ll have to unravel another mystery if prior to your boyfriend your dog has consistently been friendly and approachable to both men and women. Depending on whats triggering your dog it could be anything such as your boyfriends deep voice his smell or his size. A negative memory or feeling could be triggered in your dog by your boyfriends presence.

Was your dog afraid of your previous boyfriend?

Do you know if your dog reacts this way to all your boyfriends or just your current one? Has your dog been friendly with your previous boyfriend even if he wasnot outright fearful or cowering? Have they played together or spent time together? He approached your ex-boyfriend in a friendly way without being invited or was it more like a silent coexistence?

If your dog was wary of your previous boyfriend then he might have already displayed fear and nervousness but in a different manner. There may have been some fear in your dog for both of these men but only to varying degrees.

Is your dog afraid of any other men such as a brother?

Furthermore you need to ask yourself if your dog is afraid of other men in your house such as your brother or your friends who are men? This could indicate that they are afraid of all men as well as your boyfriend since they reacted badly to other men. 

By bringing some other males to your house and seeing how your dog responds you can test this out. Rather than engaging with your dog ask them to approach calmly and in a relaxed manner. If your dog is in the same room as you act naturally addressing you instead of him. Pay attention to his reaction.

If your dog does not react badly or fearfully have your male friend approach your dog in a nurturing and comforting way not in a playful way. You can ask him to sit at the same level as your dog to avoid towering over him then wait to see if your dog approaches. 

In the event that your dog cannot approach or isnot friendly with any men who visit your home it could indicate that your dog is inherently fearful of men. When your dog is friendly with most men but seems to be afraid of your boyfriend there may be something peculiar about him.

Fear could be related to men who have deeper voices have beards or are bulkier and appear larger in size. It is also possible that your dog is simply jealous of your boyfriend. There have been stranger things.

Although we may never fully understand why your dog is afraid of your boyfriend there are still ways to soothe his nerves and help him view his presence positively rather than negatively.

What is the best way of comforting a dog who is scared of your boyfriend?

Your dog can be comforted by using yourself as a distraction when it is afraid of your boyfriend. Your presence and hugs will comfort him and give him a sense of safety. It may be helpful to wrap your dog up in something such as a shirt that you just wore and still has your scent on it. This may provide gentle pressure to your dog and the sensation of being held.

You may want to separate your dog from your boyfriend at least when your boyfriend is around if there is a very severe reaction from cowering and trembling to bark and aggression. Gradually and with positive reinforcement you can reintroduce your dog to your boyfriends presence.

How can you get your dog to like your boyfriend? 

The first step to easing your dogs fears is to calm him down. If you are around people who make your dog nervous or afraid its important to appear relaxed and at ease. Remember that our dogs will pick up on our emotions very quickly and may begin to mirror those emotions so the more nervous and fearful he is the more relaxed and comforting you need to be. We do not want to unintentionally create a cycle of anxiety and fear.

To prepare your visitors for your pets nervousness do the following. It is certain they will become nervous and afraid if they go into the situation unprepared. Tell your boyfriend that hes causing your dog anxiety and ask him to be relaxed and comforting.

Third counter-conditioning must be done. If your dog is afraid of going to the vet reward him every time you go so that he begins to associate the treat with the trip. Whenever your boyfriend comes over try conditioning something positive for your dog. 

Give him the treat gradually and when he shows improvement let your boyfriend give him the treat. Praise your boyfriend for praising your dog as well using phrases such as “Good boy Rosco!” Dogs love hearing their name so let your boyfriend call him by his name liberally in comforting tones. 

When all else fails however you may have to consider obedience training since constant fear can make your dog more aggressive.


Dogs can be fearful of men and of strangers in general but figuring out whats causing your dogs anxiety or aggression isnot always easy. Using positive conditioning we can gradually change your dogs perception so that he sees your boyfriend as a positive presence instead of a negative one. 

Hopefully with some effort (and a little bribery) your dog will begin to love your boyfriend as much as you do and you will be able to easily coexist in your home.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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