Fear of People
This problem may be manifested as fear with no aggressive tendencies or with fear-related aggression.
Usually the fear is directed toward a class of people such as children (in dogs not raised around children or habituated to
children) or a class of people, for example, men. The behavior is often intensified because a dog's aggressive behavior is
rewarded when the people go away and the fear or anxiety is reduced. The fear may involve threats or snapping. This problem
is often caused by inadequate socialization to people.
This issue here centers around when aggression is involved and one must distinguish between fear-related aggression and dominance-related
aggression based on body posture and history.
Do not punish the dog - This will only increase its anxiety.
Desensitization – The indicated treatment is gradual desensitization using a gradient of distance to the fear-inducing people or similarity
to the fear-inducing stimulus (e.g., progressing from teenagers to small children).
Countercondition – Get the dog to associate gradients of the fear-inducing stimulus with a favored food treat and affection (withhold affection
prior to trials).
Medication – Anti-anxiety drugs (fluoxetine or clomipramine) could be used to reduce emotional response to facilitate desensitization.