My dog is about 2.5 years old, and I got him when he was about 6 months old. At first he was very afraid of me and my wife, but in time he learned to trust us. He is often playful and he sleeps with us in our bed.

However, lately he sometimes acts like he's afraid of me - he won't go near me and if I tell him to sit, he runs and hides under the bed.
He is particularly afraid of tick/flee preventing ampoules. Whenever he sees them, he immediately runs and hides. In these situations he doesn't respond to treats and doesn't "take the bait". I was petting him yesterday (he was relaxed and sitting with us on the couch) and I felt a tick. I went to bring some toilet paper to remove it and he somehow sensed something was wrong so he hid again. He won't let me go near him when I try to remove it.

If I try to force the ampoule on him, he growls at me and he seems both violent and afraid.

How can I get my dog to trust me?

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    Search first what is the cause of this, then address the cause. One possibility, for example, is that he has a sore spot somewhere on his body, that you don't know about, and you accidentally cause him pain when handling him. Finding the cause is essential here. Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 18:45
  • My dog is doing the same thing he now screams if the other dogs are around and I disapline them then go to touch him. I have never hit them "ever". He runs when I put his flee and tick on him. It's a liquid. I think he thinks he's getting it. Not sure but he's fine once I pet him. Idk if he went to a neighbor yard and got hit or if it's the treatment. I'm going to try a new one to see if eventually it changes his fear. I don't know what to do. He is loving my attention at the moment curled up in my lap. I love him and want make sure he is healthy. I don't want him freaking out every time I tou
    – user2945
    Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


I have a Yorkie (as well as other mostly large dog breeds). They are well-known for running away from their masters and hiding, ect. When I first had my dog as a puppy, he didn't even like to be petted by me. He loved strangers though-how frustrating!

The first thing is that you say he is growling. That should never happen in a well trained dog. If its serious pain they will nip or whine, and always take that seriously. IMO dogs understand you well if you overstate your emotions: deep sad sighs, saying "ouch," ect As I said I have several large breed rescues. I would never put up with growling. Most bites to children are actually from small breeds since they are on the level with the child.

My Yorkie hides under the bed sometimes, but if he growled (or barked a lot, that's usually how they establish dominance) at me-and he did when he was a puppy-you have to be willing to take apart the entire bed and bring them out. Usually a broom a works, just be very gentle. Don't swat them! Then sternly tell him "no." If you really put in the effort and it doesn't work, a small percentage of dogs have serious psychiatric problems and you may need professional help. Ask you're vet about that.

That being said. It's good you're giving treats. My suggestion is to give the treats more frequently during the behavior you're trying to reinforce and make sure the dog never gets treats when its not doing something you're not trying reinforce, like looking very cute. In the best of all worlds, all people love their dogs, but we shouldn't give them treats simply because we love them. Sometimes treats are given when the behavior is actually negative, such as "the dog was growling from under bed, so I gave it a treat to make it happy"- that would be a mistake, since it reinforces the negative behavior. Also make sure you are being expressive so that the dog understands. Its ok to use a high pitched voice you wouldn't normally use. "Good dog!" They really like that and they will be more likely to warm up to you. (I actually had to teach my Yorkie the command "Give love" meaning "let me pet you" which sounds silly, but they really are that withdrawn sometimes by nature.)

None of my dogs like their flea and tick medication, but they all get it. A little bit of trickery goes a long way here. Trying pulling out the leash to go for walk. Give them the meds. Give them a treat. Then always, always, always go for the walk. They will figure out if you're lying. I learned that one. If they are especially resistant, you could try an extra special treat, such as cheese, soft food, a new toy, ect. I have a very old Yorkie (about 14 years)-a different Yorkie than the above referenced, I have had several that had a hard time finding homes for many reasons- that will only take his medication in certain brands of low nutritional value soft food, for example.

You could also try getting the oral meds and grinding them up into soft food of course, but I think you need to concentrate on training. I say this since the dog is also sleeping in your bed. In many cases this can cause behavioral issues, so it would be in your interest to teach to the dog to sleep in his crate, outside the door or on the floor, whichever is most comfortable for the dog.


Dog's trust consistent masters. Always follow a routine, and always reward good behavior even if it's not what you asked for i.e. You say "come here", and he sits down and smiles... You should say "good boy."

Also make sure you're observant (does it have an injury?). For example, my dog is scared of hats. It sounds odd, but it is something I figured out and now I know not to allow people wearing hats to rush up on him. My dog and I are a team.

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    There is absolutely no point in rewarding something else than what you asked. Reward good behaviours (without asking or prompting anything, eg. lying close to you when you're watching tv) and reward calm behaviours.
    – Cedric H.
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 20:50

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