HELP! My Australian Shepherd Fears MEN!

Posted by asongbird6
Oct 23, 2008
Hi Everyone! A few months ago, I rescued a 3 yr old Australian Shepherd named Buddy from a dairy farm who was going to euthanize him just because they didn't want him anymore. I was told that he didn't like men very much but loved children when I picked him up. I was also told that Buddy had been hit by a car a year earlier and had a front leg that had been mangled and had open sores on it. The previous owners paid for the leg to be amputated a few days after I got Buddy. Since having Buddy, he is AWFUL around men. He growls and tries to run up to them and attack them. I've never seen a dog act like that before. He especially hates my dad who we only see every so often and my dad has never done anything to Buddy. After about a month of daily interaction with my husband, he finally is good around him. But when my husband speaks or looks too harshly at him, Buddy will pee a little or even roll over on his back and shoot pee out. Buddy is afraid when he sees me take out the fly-swatter or broom which leads me to believe that he was abused. I also believe that there were things that went on at his previous owner's house that they didn't tell me.
Other things to consider:
1. I know I need to try and replace negative situations with positive ones, but we just moved to a new area out in the country where we do not have neighbors. We honestly don't know anyone near us in the area yet to socialize Buddy with men.
2. I was told to have Buddy neutered and it would help with his agression. He was neutered the same day he had his leg amputated and his agression is the same.
3. He will growl at some other dogs and is fine around others. There is no real pattern I can see as to why he would like or dislike a specific dog.
4. He is an amazing nice and wonderful dog at home. He is very protective of me if a man enters the room where I am and Buddy is also there and will growl and try to bite. If a man enters a room where Buddy is alone, Buddy growls but runs away and hides from him (like under the bed). If Buddy is taken into a room/house where a man already is, Buddy doesn't even seem like it bothers him. He will go up to the man and befriend him. But he will growl and try to bite the SAME man who walks in on Buddy if I'm there.
5. We have been working on training...he has pretty much mastered sit, stay, come, lay down commands. He's a very intelligent dog. I would like to not have to find a dog trainer since I really don't have all the money for that but I can't afford to have a dog who I feel could potentially threaten men who come near me in public or into my home.
6. I was told by my vet that Buddy would respond well to me becoming the "Alpha Dog" and Buddy seems to respond to me being the Alpha Dog except when there is a man around.

Posted by asongbird6
Oct 23, 2008
Just a note that Buddy LOVES women...I forgot to say that.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 24, 2008
Hi asongbird6,

Buddy seems to a wonderful dog and I am so glad that you and your husband provided her a new loving home. No dogs deserve to be treated in the way his previous owner did!

It is obvious that Holly was abused by a man in her previous life because she barked at most of men (especially with a baseball cap and/or sunglasses) and was scared with anything longer than a foot or so. She used to ran away from a broom, wrapping paper rolls, clutches, etc. I desensitized her by putting a treat right by a broom on the floor, etc. It took a while but she is not scared of those any more.

As for men, she barked at my husband for a week or so when I first brought her home. I had my husband give her treats any possible occasions when she was not barking at him. She was still skeptical about stranger men so I always hand them treats and have them feed Holly as I spoke to them in a friendly manner. It took time but she is now pretty confident around men.

She is a Border Collie mix and very intelligent like Buddy. I love herding dogs. They tend not to be very friendly to strangers but they are very loyal to their owners. Since Holly was a stray and starving she was and still is very motivated with food/treats. Is Buddy food oriented too? If so there is a hope. Lets start with your husband and your father. Have them feed him every meal and wait until he and they get really bonded. Once he gets over it, introduce him to some of your male friends. Go step by step and don't flood him or overwhelm him because it might work backwards.

It is very important that he gains his confidence. It has been a very hard life for him so far, both physically and emotionally. Give him time to settle down and get used to you and your family first.

Thank you again for giving him a loving home.
Posted by asongbird6
Jan 15, 2009
Its been awhile since I've logged on here sadly...thanks for the response! I still could use help for Buddy. See my previous note if you need to. Buddy is doing better around men or at least we've learned how to handle him around men much more easily. The problem now is with submissive urination with my husband. There is no rhyme or reason with how Buddy reacts towards my husband. Sam could be playing with Buddy and feeding him treats and all the sudden Buddy will just drop the treat and cower and submissively urinate. He has never gone to the bathroom in the house except for the submissive urination. My husband and I keep getting into arguments over the dog. Sam says the dog has 2 months so by March 15th if Buddy is still urinating in the house, then Sam said I either have to find a new home for him or he's taking Buddy into the woods and putting him down for good. I CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN...SOMEONE PLEASE HELP! I am at my wits end and have no idea what to do anymore with this dog that I love!
Posted by fanceyboy48
Feb 7, 2009
Thats strange. They suppose to be freindly. [URL=""]Australian Shepherds[/URL] fear man only if they had some traumatic experience.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Feb 8, 2009
Hi fanceyboy48,

No it is not strange because it is obvious that Buddy had a traumatic experience that involving a man, or men. It will take a long time and a lot of patience to help him recover from the trauma.

Hi asongbird6,

How is Buddy doing since then? In your last posting I learned that his fear to men is getting somewhat better and under control.

The latest problem with Buddy seems to be submissive urination. I don't have any experience with this problem but I would expect that it will get better as Buddy regains trust and self-confidence towards your husband and other men that he interacts with.

In order to build trusty relationship with your husband (and it is probably good for his protection against you) can you step out from Buddy's daily care/routine and have your husband take most of care of Buddy? For example, you can go out for a long time leaving Buddy and your husband alone, etc. Buddy and your husband need to become buddies If there is YOU in the picture, it looks like it is hard for them to get close to each other.

I hope things are going better now.