Help – My Dog is Scared of other Dogs!

by Jacqueline Brindle
(Evansville, Indiana)

This is Gus – Lab Mix

Please help I have a scared dog…I rescued Gus from an Animal Rescue when he was about 4 weeks old, I have found that he is fine around other pups or dogs that are on leashes but as soon as they are off leash with him and show any type of energy he tucks his tail between his legs and runs away or wants to hide between my legs, what can I do to help him conquer his fear?

Our Response


Hi, I am sorry to hear that your dog is so scared of other dogs when you take them out for a walk and other dogs are let off the leash.

This is actually more common than you might imagine. The first thing that you need to consider is that you don’t know what your dog has encountered previously when he was in the Shelter. It might have been that he was bitten previously or badly treated. Remember dogs can also pick up on any tension that your dog is exhibiting especially with the body posture etc…

The first thing that I would do is to start the socialization period all over again. You need to get your dog used to being around other dogs when they are off the leash. Speak to your friends and find a dog that your pooch gets on well with – find a garden or somewhere very quiet and keep both dogs on the leash. After a short period let both dogs off the leash but only for a couple of minutes before you attach the leash again. Do this everyday until your dog has become more used to being around dogs off of the leash.

Another great idea is to start taking your dog to training classes – this is a great place for your dog to meet other dogs and socialize on and off the leash. The trainer will also be able to spot any problems right away.

This is important as all training techniques need instant responses otherwise your dog will not understand which behavior is being modified. Training classes are also great places to meet other people with similar problems and ask them questions about how their dogs were cured. Hope this helps – we have added some links below where we have covered similar problems.