WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Some characters are frightening enough to scare some people. Some characters are frightening enough to scare most people. Some characters, though, are frightening enough that they can reduce even fierce or aggressive guard dogs to whimpering, cowering puppies, just by looking at them, or even just by being there.

It may be that the character is big, or mean, or evil, or scary-looking, or simply Badass. It may be any combination of those qualities. It doesn't even have to be a person, although it usually is. It cannot be a case of a supernatural evil leaking through a failed shield or glamour, though; that's Glamour Failure. This trope isn't limited to dogs, either. The critter that backs down may be any critter, as long as it's established it's a badass in its own right.

Not related to the Tropey the Wonder Dog family of tropes.

Contrast with Glamour Failure, when the scary one is supernatural in some way, and Evil-Detecting Dog, which covers the normal ability of dogs to tell whether some one is nice or not. Also compare with Animal Reaction Shot. Often used together with Animals Hate Him.

Examples of Scare the Dog include:

Anime and Manga

  • Fan-translated manga Code Breaker- One of the Code Breakers frightens dogs into submission, and they come up to lick his hand when he beckons them. The other one scares them so badly they refuse to approach. This is used to show us which one still has a soft spot in his cold heart, and which one is a through-and-through psycho.
  • In the anime version of Gakuen Alice, The Friend to All Living Things Ruka Nogi's favorite rabbit ran away from him when he got Brainwashed.
  • In Medaka Box, Medaka pulls this off not out of choice, but because animals are frightened by her overwhelming power. When she was in primary school, she took a field trip to the zoo, not one animal showed its face!


  • In Jurassic Park 2, the dog barks at the T-Rex which promptly turns around. Dog hides and whimpers loudly. Then it gets eaten. Dog house and all.
  • Shrek scaring that little white fluffy dog in Shrek 2.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the Ringwraith asks the first hobbit it sees where to find Baggins. Said hobbit's dog barks, then whimpers and hides inside the house.
  • In Robots Rodney's pet/invention faces off against Madame Gasket. Who just sneers at it causing it to short-circuit. It does get over it's fear in the very next scene though.
  • In Hannibal the titular character breaks into Paul Krendler's house, and the fairly imposing dog takes one look at him and starts to back down and whimper. The film just about gets away with it, since it is possible that the dog is just a pet rather than a guard dog, and it would make sense that the dog would smell the psychopath's lack of fear. In any case, it's a lot more convincing than a scene later in the film (and book) where specially bred and trained killer pigs refuse to attack him, apparently because he is just that awesome.


  • Inverted in Going Postal: Moist Von Lipwig is able to control some dogs as he originates from the same country as them, and thus knows the commands to give them. Or so he thinks... It turns out the dogs weren't Lipwigzers. The power was in Moist the whole time!
    • Werewolves in general have power over dogs, though it's largely the power to make them cower and look as inedible as possible.
    • Horses are deathly afraid of Mr. Nutt, from Unseen Academicals, although he can stop them from panicking and compel their obedience with the Horseman's Word. They aren't any less scared, though, as the footnotes from Lords and Ladies make clear.
  • There's an official Metal Gear Novelization where Snake, at one point, covers himself in "panther musk" and roars at a group of guard dogs to scare them away.
  • The Nazgul from The Lord of the Rings.
  • In Women of the Otherworld, dogs and other canines dislike werewolves intensely. Not only do werewolves smell like intruders, but the combination of human and canine scents is plain unnatural. In The Awakening Derek says that large dogs instantly back off and run away after a half second staredown, but yippy little lapdogs will invariably attack him.
  • In the Warrior Cats Expanded Universe manga The Rise of Scourge, it's explained that Bone first met Scourge because of rumors (which Scourge himself had spread) that Scourge defeated a dog in combat. Bone and another cat named Brick got Scourge to fight another dog that had been terrorizing cats around the town. While at that point, Scourge wasn't the all-powerful cat known to fans, his badass-looking shadow was able to scare away the dog and earn him the respect of Bone.

Live Action TV

  • Vigilante serial killer Dexter tends to terrify animals of all types.
  • Hill Street Blues' Sgt. Belker makes a dog back down by barking at it.
  • Myth Busters debunked the myth that smelling like wolf urine will cause this effect. Er, how much do Grant and Tory get paid to do this stuff?

Tabletop Games

  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse from White Wolf games has a Gift called Smell of Man that can have that effect.
  • In Leman Russ' backstory it's said that the disguised Emperor caused one of Leman's wolves to cower in fear, while the other was too stupid to do so.

Video Games


Western Animation

  • Fluttershy from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. She's normally the resident Shrinking Violet, unless you hurt her friends. She stood up to a dragon and a cockatrice. Special mention to doing it by staring the cockatrice down, a creature with the ability to have whatever look into it's eyes be Taken for Granite.
    • Averted in the First Season finale, where the animals at the Gala just didn't seem to like her. And then it's played straight when she snaps...
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.