It has been a year now since this happened.

I returned home from work (I go outstation for work) after a few months. I found him so scared that he always tends to stay away from me. He shivers when I go to touch him.

Moreover I find his attention is always fixed on me - what I am doing and alert to stay away from me.

I don't find the same attitude with my other family members. I never beat him to train / tried to force him to do anything. He is 2 years old.

I asked my vet who thinks that it may be hardwired into him. Can I do something to help him?

  • 2
    Is he acting afraid of you just when you get home from work? Or all the time?
    – Spidercat
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 0:04
  • All the time since last year when I returned home.
    – Amartya
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 7:37
  • Are you the only person in the home of your gender? Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 14:59
  • @James Jenkins yes.
    – Amartya
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:38
  • 2
    You may want to ask someone of your gender to stop over for a visit, it may not be you personally but the gender relationship. I have noted on multiple occasions, a pet developing an aversion to one gender. If your pet has a gender fear issue you may be able to speed the recovery by increasing positive interactions with more people of that gender. Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


I think this might be a hard one to solve without seeing the behavior and interaction.

However there are a few things you might be able to do to try to narrow down the cause and help him work through it.

Does the dog eventually warm up to you when you have been home a while?

Here are some things to try:

  • When you first come in do not acknowledge the dog. A big greeting may intimidate the dog. Instead go about you business like he doesn't exist and let him choose when to approach you. It is likely that he'll choose to do this at a time the house is settled.

  • Take a shower and change clothes into something that has been in the house. Dogs first sense is smell, it could be a sent you carry home from your workplace that he is weary of. For example dogs can become conditioned to think of the smell of alcohol as associated with the vets office.

  • When you are at home you should be the one to feed the dog his regular meals. It helps to establish a relationship and dependence on you as a caregiver.

  • ,Thank you for the answer. " ...the dog eventually warm up to you when you have been home a while?" -not really he behaves like that all the time. He sometimes approaches me when I play with my other dogs but then retreat when I approach. Your third point is very valid - but he does not eat even a cookie from me.
    – Amartya
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 7:51
  • 2
    In my experience, it also helps to be extremely consistent with certain dogs. Regular feeding times and routines make them much more comfortable. I like to mark events with a consist phrase & tone - "OK, it's time to eat." "Let's go outside!" etc. I ignore the dogs when I first get home as Beth mentioned and that very works well. I have a routine that lasts 5 minutes or so after I get home (plugging my phone in the charger etc.) and the dogs get calmly acknowledged afterwards.
    – user3324
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 14:00
  • When you feed don't make the dog feel like it is taking anything from you. Don't even talk to it just put the bowl down for it and walk away. Do not look at the bowl after even. Sounds like a really soft dog and for right now you have to remove any pressure that you can. It is great that he wants to be involved a little when you are playing with your other dogs. When that happens still do NOT approach him. Just let him experience being closer to you for a while. It sounds like you might be trying to push the physical interactions to soon... just be really patient.
    – Beth Lang
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 15:13
  • 1
    Thank you ! Your suggestion seems to work. He is less afraid than before.
    – Amartya
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    Just be patient and keep at it. Don't try to rush it or you may make it take much longer.
    – Beth Lang
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 2:42

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