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 Wonderdog
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
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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 Osamu Tezuka's Buddha, Ananda, the half-brother of Devadatta, was gifted by the devil Mara after his father offered him in exchange for sparing his life. As a result, Ananda possessed an aura that made the most vicious animals turn tail and run away in fear, including dogs and tigers trained to kill him.
- In Parasyte, one of the minor parasites masquerading as a human manages to scare off a rampaging LION that had escaped from the zoo with his presence alone. Said lion had already killed several people. Unfortunately, while initially frightened at first, the lion attacks the parasite anyway both because it could not conceive being intimidated by a human, and because it ignored its stunted survival instincts. It gets its head turned into a pile of blood pudding for its efforts.
- One of the first memorable moments in One Piece is Shanks scaring off a giant eel to cement how much of badass he is. Later Luffy does it similarly with a bison. Much later, it's revealed what they did was a form of Haki that only a select few are capable of doing.
- One of the ways Toriko and various other characters deal with the various monstrous beasts is through the sheer force of their intimidation that frightens said beasts into submission.
- In Nanatsu No Taizai, the Black Hound Oslo is frightened by Ban and Meliodas when he senses their respective Killing Intent and Animal Battle Aura.
- In a Deadpool/Daredevil crossover, Deadpool is hired to kidnap Daredevil's partner, Foggy Nelson. To do show, he disguses himself as a balloon delievery man and enters their lawfirm. Foggy's dark starts barking at him, so he yells "SIT!" and the dog backs down.
Films — Animated
- Shrek scaring that little white fluffy dog in Shrek 2.
- Robots: Rodney's pet/invention faces off against Madame Gasket, who just sneers at it, causing it to short-circuit. It does get over its fear in the very next scene though.
- The Adventures of Tintin has an example of a dog being scared by another dog: Snowy, a tiny Wire Fox Terrier, makes a ferocious Rottweiler twice his size whimper and roll over on its back by merely barking at it. A minute later, the Rottweiler is seen playing with Snowy.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the dog barks at the T-Rex which promptly turns around. Dog hides and whimpers loudly. Then it gets eaten. Dog house and all.
- 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 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.
- While the trailer for The Water Horse has the titular giant sea monster only scaring off a bulldog, The film on the other hand, takes a darker turn as the sea monster, already turned violent and wild by the constant threats on its life, ominously rises in front of the barking dog and prepares ready to kill it before cutting into another scene. The dog isn't seen anywhere after that.
- The Thing-dog in The Thing (1982), when it reveals its true form, terrifies the other sled dogs so utterly that one of them tries to tear open the chain-link fencing of its pen in a desperate attempt to escape the mutating horror, to no avail.
- Completely averted in Brotherhood of The Wolf where the Beast of Gévaudan, a gigantic armored creature trained by a secret cult into putting fear in the hearts of peasants in the French countryside, is itself mauled to death by a pack of wolves led by the alpha that had survived the previous slaughter of its pack by hunters blaming them for the attacks done by the Beast.
- In the thriller/horror The Relic, a police officer sends his two beloved German Shepherds, Castor and Pollux, to eagerly hunt down the Kothoga within the dark tunnels of the natural history museum. The monster tears apart Castor, leaving Pollux a whimpering wreck when he is found by his handler, who is shortly after killed by the Kothoga while the poor dog looks on. When the monster appears again, the dog wastes no time hightailing it out of there as quickly as it can.
- 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 Nazgűl 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.
- In one of Clive Barker's short stories, Rawhead Rex, a horse refuses to go into its stall because it could sense the presence of the titular demon waiting inside, and is so terrified it craps itself.
- 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.
- Mythbusters 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?
- 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.
- In Paradigm Shift, Kate McAllister has used the fact that she's a werewolf to teach some dogs not to mess with her.
- 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...
- In The Batman, before she became the Joker's assistant, Harley was able to cow his two vicious hyenas by commanding them to sit.
- A variation in the Animated Series of 101 Dalmatians, where Cadpig (who is the runt of the litter) was able to emotionally manipulate a group of vicious guard dogs by cruelly pointing out their flaws and weaknesses until they became a whimpering pile with self-esteem issues. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
- An earlier episode of Rugrats had Spike, the family dog, make a crazy bulldog (who had been spending part of the episode ripping through its chain to get at Tommy and his friends) run back into its doghouse in fear because he was wearing a scary mask.
- In The Legend of Korra, Big Bad Amon/Noatak is revealed to be a bloodblender who, along with his brother Tarrlok, was trained by his father to get revenge on Republic City and the Avatar by forcing him to bloodbend animals. Among those animals were a pack of wolves which he used to control like marionettes, lifting them up in the air, dragging them to the ground, making them stand on their hind legs, and even making them bow towards him like servants, all of this while they were helpless and whimpering in fear. In the middle of this training, he temporarily broke his hold on them, where they took this opportunity to run away from him as fast as possible, only for Noatak to reestablish his hold and drag the terrified wolves back for more twisted bloodbending displays.
- When Rich Bitch Gemini Stone and her family temporarily go broke and are forced to share rooms with Sabrina in Sabrina: The Animated Series, Salem is forced to share space with her ill-tempered dog. He momentarily becomes his chew toy before Salem is quick to make clear that trying to chase a former megalomaniacal warlock whose still got some of his magic is a VERY BAD IDEA. Gem's dog quickly learns to behave from then on.