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Thread: pup's terrified of my dad

  1. #1

    Default pup's terrified of my dad

    my pup who is almost 4 months now is very wary around my dad and i'm not sure why. i've never seen him hit my dog or anything. he doesn't like how my dog keeps backing away from him so he will often drag him towards him and force him onto his lap where my dog won't feel comfortable.

    obviously my dad feels rejected and his behaviour towards my dog is not good for him. i tell my dad to back off but he does not take it very seriously ("I'm not harming the dog" "what's wrong with him?")

    my dad does pay for all of his medical bills and food and everything, there's never any malice towards my dog, if anything he loves my dog as much as everyone else in the family but i keep thinking that because he's a puppy my dog will develop fear based aggression issues later on.

    why does my dog act this way?

    other dogs as well at the park and in peoples yards are terrified of him so it's not just my dog that's the problem.

    there used to be these two dogs these people kept behind their shop and whenever anyone would walk past they would go nuts. they lived behind a chain link fence so they could see everyone as they walked by. one was a german sheperd and the other was a mixed breed, both fairly large dogs. My dad would go there to say hello, no loud noises, no threatening or quick movements and both dogs would just disappear. he would call out to them ("hello! doggy doggy doggy...") and they wouldn't come out and it was actually pretty funny to watch.

    it's not every dog that acts like this but many of them do. my old man never acts offensively to them and i think he's confused and a little bit hurt by why some dogs are so afraid of him.

    have you seen anything like this and besides developing trust slowly eg. my dad not pulling him over, is there anything i can do to make my dog feel more comfortable around my old man?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    South-West Victoria


    Hi Goggles,
    I used to take care of a poodle and occasionally my Dad would come over and the little poodle was, at first, quite a bit afraid of him. It took a while for the dog to get used to him, even though my Dad liked dogs and didn't do anything except pick him up and pat him; and he spoke fondly to him. But Dad was a fairly strong, man's man. He exuded authority and was quite competent and manly. (Heck, I was afraid of him for the most part.) I don't know for sure, but I believe that a really strong kind of 'Alpha' male, in humans can make a dog quite timid.

    Eventually, though, after my Dad kept the little poodle in his lap and spoke nicely to him and patted him, and came around several more times, the dog gradually got used to him and was very excited to see him eventually. I'm no behaviorist and perhaps I'm just talking through my hat, but I would guess that your Dad might just be intimidating the dog by the sheer size of his personality???
    Perhaps it will just take time.... I would like to hear what a dog behaviorist has to say about the matter.

  3. #3


    'goggles' - a few questions !

    Do you live at home with your Dad ? - and - How do you get on with your Dad ?

    I just want you to think about your answers – don't put them on here – probably TMI - but they will affect the way that you can/will handle things !

    How much do you know about the breeds supposedly in your pup ? Staffy/Akita – you have said previously. Mum was tall – maybe not pure.

    Here are some links for you - so have a good look around them – particularly the history of the breeds and supposed/expected temperaments.

    American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Vic - Home

    SBTCV Inc.

    Akita Inu Club of Victoria Inc

    I am still astounded that anyone would think that mating these two breeds together is smart – but hey – maybe they are looking at a new type of hunting dog or something ? !

    Also, have a good look around these links. I am sure you will find all the information helpful.

    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    English | Dogmantics Dog Training

    Free Video List | Dogmantics Dog Training

    kikopup - YouTube

    Pups can get some funny ideas in their heads sometimes – love something one day and then be scared of it the next day. So have a look at this link:

    It would be good if you and your Dad could work as a team to solve this particular problem that you both have. Pulling a scared pup to you is a no-no and will only make the situation worse.

    Do you think that your Dad would have a look at some of the links above and between you both look at working out a ‘plan of attack’ to solve this problem ?

    When I had the last two foster pups at my place a few years ago – I had no shortage of people coming to say hi and play with the pups. Some of these people were large and very tall – so the rule was ignore the pups, sit on the ground and see if the pups would come to them.

    I will never forget the look on the pups’ faces when two of the ‘boys’ stood up for the first time ! These ‘boys’ were 6 ft and the pups’ eyes bugged out ! Once the pups heard their voices it was OK – but – oh boy – was it funny !

    Has your Dad any special skills like – whistling – or maybe singing ? Maybe you can use that to help you !

    Lets see the Dog Whisperer do this!! - YouTube

    Good Luck !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    Does your dad approach quickly or try to pat the dog in areas etc that the dog is not happy with?
    Sometimes too they just may not like them. It took my lot a couple of years to like out neighbour who is here a few nights a week. I told him that they know he is really a serial killer and then that he must have given that up when they started to like him.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  5. #5


    my dog is getting along much better now, just had to give him some time to get used to him. still does not explain how some dogs react to him like in that movie with hannibal lector, although i can't remember which one, where he meets a german sheperd in a hallway and it backs off and he eventually ends up eating him - eating the dog that is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    Good to hear. Tell him not to rush things as your pup is still very young.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    It may be something to do with eyes contact and the way he moves.
    I had a friend who was unfailingly loved by cats and we could never figure out why. All our animals over the years have adored my mother whether or not she feeds them or even lives with them ( as when we left home and got families and pets of our own)
    It sounds like he is a reverse of that.
    Does he go for direct eye contact?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    he doesn't like how my dog keeps backing away from him so he will often drag him towards him and force him onto his lap where my dog won't feel comfortable.
    Yikes - no wonder your dog is freaked out by your dad.

    Imagine you are put in front of something you've never seen before, and it's big, smelly, loud, and probably dangerous. And the person you look to for protection - treats it with respect and wariness - doesn't want to upset it either. And then the big scary smelly monster drags you close and completely stops your option to run away from it. Imagine the Alien has grabbed you and pulled you against your will to come close. Would you call that "harmless" behaviour on the part of the Alien?

    I'm surprised the puppy didn't bite him as hard as it could or at least pee on him.

    To help rebuild the relationship, food often works. If your dog likes food. Or if your dog sees you playing in a friendly gentle way with your dad eg a bit of frizbee or catch - something a dog can join in if it wants to. And get your dad to hand feed your dog - start by tossing a treat if the puppy does something he likes, and allow the puppy to approach in his own time. No force. A puppy should always feel they have the option to retreat (loose lead helps), otherwise people can get bitten. The vet can be an exception but even there, it's better to have a willing puppy than one that fears the vet. Especially a puppy that is likely to grow very large and strong.

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