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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dogs and Prejudice Part II

Mail bag question: Why are some dogs afraid of people wearing hats?

In my last post, I talked about how dogs might learn to fear things that they hadn't been exposed to when they were puppies.  People wearing hats is one good example.  Additionally, hats frame our faces and can change the way we look. For dogs who aren't used to hats, we might not look like humans at all.

Some dogs have issues with children. They have high pitched squeaky voices, the move about in weird ways. 

Men have deep voices and their size can also be frightening.

My Murphy lived in a crowded, noisy shelter for the first 8 years of his life.  One might think he'd be excited about finally living in a house.  But when Murphy came to live with me, apparently, he was afraid of carpet (and a lot of other things), because he would not leave the kitchen for a week.
Murphy had lived on concrete his entire life. Carpet was something completely foreign (and scary) to him.

Is your dog afraid of hats or sunglasses or backpacks?  Tell us about it in the comments below.

Email general questions or comments to Replies might be shared on this blog but names will be changed or left out.


  1. My dog doesn't like Lance Armstrong wannabe bicycle riders who ride by super fast without announcing themselves on the public trails when we're out walking.

    Oh wait, that's me that doesn't like them.

    1. Hi Old
      My dogs and I also wish they would let us know they are back there or at least slow down when they pass.
      We tried a "please announce" vest but it didn't work very well

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  3. My dog is scared anything manual (not cars and trolleys) with wheels: bicycles, shopping carts, skateboards, rolling suitcases, strollers, wheelchairs...

    She also gets nervous when anything goes by that she wasn't expecting, like a jogger sneaking up from behind, or someone coming out of an alley quickly.

    Other things that make her nervous: groups of people walking behind us, hats, people caring big bags, noisy people, some guys, people who make big gestures and movements, strangers who want to pet her, dogs that greet her by jumping on her.

    She is better about all these things when she is not on a leash so she can choose how close she will get.

    1. Oh my goodness. Poor doggie. She is scared of a lot of things. Have you considered consulting a board certified vet behaviorist?
      Are you working on protecting her from the things that bother her while you work on counter conditioning?