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The Fear of Men: A Common Thread Between Wolves and Domesticated Dogs

Dog smelling a mans chest with a snear, text reads "why do dogs hate men?"

In the captivating realm of Animal Watch, a recent video shed light on a fascinating aspect of wolf behaviour – their apparent aversion to men, especially strangers. As we delve into the intricacies of wolves' reactions to the male gender, it's only natural to draw parallels with our beloved domesticated dogs. Do our furry friends share similar sentiments towards men, and if so, what can we learn from the wolf-dog dynamic? Join us on this journey as we explore the fascinating connection between wolves, wolf dogs, and the fear of men in our loyal canine companions.


The Wolf's Perspective:

Wolf looking at the camera leeringly.

In the video below, the seasoned narrator explains the nuances of wolves' apprehension towards men, attributing it to a combination of factors like the scent of testosterone, towering stature, and the often more demonstrative mannerisms of males. As pack animals, wolves rely heavily on a hierarchical structure and perceive unfamiliar men as potential threats, reacting cautiously, growling, or even retreating.

Wolves' fear of men can also be attributed to the long history of hunting and killing for their furs, as well as the need to keep at bay from tribal settlements. Over time, wolves have learned to associate men with danger and threat, and as pack animals, they rely on a hierarchical structure in their social interactions. The unfamiliar scent of testosterone, towering stature, and assertive body language of men can trigger a wolf's fear response, causing them to react with caution or even retreat.


The Domesticated Dog's Behavior:

Two dogs on the kitchen tile floor looking up at the camera eagerly.

Drawing a parallel to our domesticated dogs, we observe similar behavioural patterns. While domestication has significantly altered our canine friends' behaviours, the instinct to discern potential threats persists. Many dog owners have likely noticed instances where their dogs display signs of fear or discomfort around unfamiliar men, manifesting in barking, growling, or even cowering.

Dalmation with a concerned look.

Similar to wolves, domesticated dogs may also hold an inherent fear of certain stimuli due to their evolutionary history. For instance, dogs' ancestors were pack animals and often had to defend themselves against larger predators. As a result, dogs may have learned to associate certain stimuli, such as sudden movements or loud noises, with danger and threat. Furthermore, dogs have been selectively bred for centuries for specific traits, such as loyalty and protectiveness, and their innate fear response may have been amplified through this process. Therefore, it's essential to be aware of your dog's triggers and provide them with a safe and secure environment to avoid adverse reactions.


Understanding the Fear:

stack of research papers on a desk.

As per the research, like wolves, dogs seem to react strongly to specific characteristics associated with men, such as deeper voices, larger stature, and sometimes more assertive body language. Dog owners must recognize these cues and approach their dogs with empathy and understanding. By doing so, owners can build a stronger and more positive relationship with their dogs. It is recommended that we understand the behaviour and needs of our pets and take necessary measures to ensure their safety and well-being.


Lessons from the Wolf-Dog Encounter:

silhouette of a wolf dog

The video's central experiment involves introducing a 16-year-old boy, Kai, to a confident white wolf named Bosch. Kai employs strategic body language, a higher and gentler tone, and a submissive posture to bridge the gap between him and Bosch. The success of this encounter reveals that similar to wolves, domesticated dogs may respond positively to non-threatening, carefully approached interactions.


Tips for Dog Owners:

dog laying on the floor waiting for instruction.
  1. Subtle Body Language: Encourage men to adopt non-threatening body language around dogs. Crouching, avoiding direct eye contact, and allowing the dog to approach voluntarily can build trust.

  2. Gentle Tone: Dogs are highly attuned to vocal cues. Encourage men to use a higher and gentler tone, conveying reassurance rather than dominance.

  3. Positive Associations: Introduce unfamiliar men to dogs in positive contexts, associating their presence with treats, toys, or enjoyable activities.

  4. Patience and Consistency: Building trust takes time. Encourage men to be patient and consistent in their interactions with dogs, fostering a gradual bond.


happy beagle holding hands with his humans.

The video from Animal Watch sheds light on the complex relationships between wolves, wolf dogs, and domesticated dogs. It highlights the importance of fear, trust, and acceptance in navigating these dynamics. By learning from the encounter between the wolf and boy, we can establish healthier and more fulfilling relationships between our pets and their human companions.

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