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Scare the Dog

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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 Evil-Detecting Dog, which covers the normal ability of dogs to tell whether someone is nice or not. Also compare with Animal Reaction Shot and Shut Up, Scary Thing!. Often used together with Animals Hate Him. See Nice Kitty... for instances in which a character gets softer and friendlier rather than more aggressive when dealing with a scary thing.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Hitomi Takano of Hitomi-chan Is Shy with Strangers is scary enough to frighten animals; one scene in the second chapter shows a cat scurry away in terror when she shows up, and she tells Yuu that this happens often with this particular cat.
  • 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 one story arc where the heroes infiltrate a science lab and find a facility full of animals that don't run away, Medaka flips out and acts like a little kid, wanting to tour all the "cages".
  • 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 The Seven Deadly Sins, the Black Hound Oslo is frightened by Ban and Meliodas when he senses their respective Killing Intent and Animal Battle Aura.
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, Wamuu the Pillar Man intimidates a pair of vicious vampiric horses into obedience with a simple stare.
  • This is how Kenshiro became the successor of Hokuto Shinken in Fist of the North Star, his icy Death Glare being enough to do this to a tiger that confronted him and Raoh. Later on he repeats this by frighting away some dogs belonging to one of Raoh’s minions.
  • Early on in Bladedance of Elementalers, Est completely stops Rinslet's ice wolf spirit in its tracks of attacking Kamito by simply moving her hand in front of it. She even completely tames the animal in 3 seconds.
  • At one point in City Hunter, Umibozu intimidates an angry dog by giving it a Death Glare while he was following Ryo. Disguised as a woman, no less.
  • SPY×FAMILY: In one instance to protect Anya, Yor gives an attack dog a Nightmare Face (and the anime adds an angry growl on top of it) that sends the animal running away in fear.

    Comic Books 
  • 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 dog starts barking at him, so he yells "SIT!" and the dog backs down.

     Fan Works 
  • Enjin in The Bridge has a proximity effect. Every animal within a hundred meter radius of it is sent running for their lives. The forest going completely quiet is a warning sign that it's gotten close.
  • The young Lancre-trained witch Sophie Rawlinson grew up as daughter of a rural squire in the Shires. Her father's pack of foxhounds knows better than to misbehave around her. In Ankh-Morpork with the Air Watch, she has do do the feared Postman's Walk so as to be able to carry despatches from Vetinari - classed as "air mail" by the Post Office. The Lipzwiger attack dogs set to impede her route as part of the test fold to a stern word and a commanding look. Read more in the works of A.A. Pessimal.
  • The Haddock Chronicles: Dragons are naturally very jumpy around Elsa, and this was before her big secret was revealed to the island.
  • Some Things Never Change: In its follow-up Finite, a traveling Mr. Krabs scares off a giant lionfish (like the one from "Spongicus") that is blocking his path to the Fountain of Youth by roaring back at it, with the beast meowing like a kitten in response.

    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 (2011) 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.
  • In Turning Red, the temple cats are scared by Mei's aunties even before they set foot in the temple.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the dog barks at the Tyrannosaurus 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.
    • The latter scene is explained in the novel. The pigs are trained to attack a screaming man. Hannibal is again showing no fear, so they ignore him in favour of the wounded man trying to run away from them.
  • The trailer for The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep 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 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.
  • In the short film adaptation of Stephen King's The Road Virus Goes North, the protagonist is dumbfounded as to why dogs bark madly at him wherever he goes. They're actually disturbed by the cursed picture he's got in his car. When the Road Virus himself appears, a dog falls instantly silent except for a few terrified whimpers.
  • Rampage (2018): When the three giant monsters attack the city of Chicago, a dog barks at Ralph the Wolf, who makes a loud roar in retaliation, causing the dog to run away.

  • Discworld:
    • Guards! Guards!: Sybil Ramkin uses her knowledge of swamp dragons (which grow as big as large dogs) to try to cow a Draco nobilis (which is about the size of a building) with a sharp admonishment of "Bad dragon! SIT!" Sam Vimes finds himself almost sitting himself because of the raw Authority in her voice, but then she breaks eye contact to look for a dragon treat in her pocket, and the spell is broken.
    • Going Postal: Moist von Lipwig is able to cow a pair of Angry Guard Dogs into obedience because they happen to be a rare breed from his home country and he knows the commands they're taught. Then he learns that they aren't that breed, but were just confused by his self-confidence.
    • Werewolves in general have power over dogs, though it's largely the power to make them cower and look as inedible as possible.
    • Unseen Academicals: Horses are deathly afraid of Mr. Nutt the Orc. Although he can stop them from panicking and compel their obedience with the Horseman's Word, they aren't any less scared, 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 Nazgûl from The Lord of the Rings frighten Farmer Maggot's large, fierce guard dogs. When they're really trying, they're a powerful Supernatural Fear Inducer.
  • 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 Clive Barker's "Rawhead Rex" a pony refuses to go into its stall because it could sense the presence of the titular demon waiting inside, and is so terrified that it craps itself.
  • Downplayed version; in the Baker Street Irregulars series by Terrance Dicks, a Snooping Little Kid is caught by some criminals who threaten to let their Angry Guard Dog eat him. Unimpressed, the kid just orders the dog to "Sit!" and it does — he points out that guard dogs are trained to guard, not eat people. The dog later gets adopted as a Team Pet.
  • In Villainess Level 99, any animal Yumiella approaches usually flees in utter terror. After hearing how Alicia sees her as a formless mass of black fog, she suspects animals see her the same way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dexter: The titular sociopathic Serial-Killer Killer tends to terrify animals of all types. He mentions that he had a pet turtle as a child, but it starved itself to death rather than accept food from him.
  • 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?
  • The Sesame Street TV movie Big Bird in China has Big Bird's dog, Barkley, accompany him on a trip to Beijing. While they are visiting the Great Wall, Barkley begins incessantly barking in a state of paranoia for no apparent reason - until we see that a grotesque mythological demon called the Monkey King (who is actually a good guy and there to help Big Bird solve a mystery, although he is a bit of a Jerkass) is constantly appearing, disappearing and reappearing, frightening Barkley.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse from White Wolf games has a Gift called Smell of Man that can have that effect.
  • Warhammer 40,000: 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.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Creatures with the "Unnatural Aura" ability, such as the Always Chaotic Evil undead Wraiths, terrify natural animals — they won't willingly go near the creature and panic uncontrollably if forced to.


    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Peko Pekoyama frightens animals with her very presence. Peko herself just wants to pet them; she's a nice girl who wouldn't hurt a fly unless it dared to threaten her master Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu.

  • In Paradigm Shift, Kate McAllister has used the fact that she's a werewolf to teach some dogs not to mess with her.

    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...
  • In The Batman, before she became the Joker's assistant, Harley was able to cow his two vicious hyenas by commanding them to sit.
    Joker: You've got moxie! [ominous organ music with a Beat] I feed moxie to the hyenas.
    [Joker whistles as a pair of vicious, snarling hyenas leap out and prepare to maul Harleen]
    [Harleen steps back a bit in fear, then frowns...and then...]
    Harleen: SIT!!!!
    [The two hyenas do just that]
    Joker: ...You're good.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series
    • A variation 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.
    • Cruella has this with most animals, but is especially notable in "Snow Bounders" when she manages to frighten a full grown grizzly bear.
  • 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.
  • In the Mr. Bean cartoon "Mime Games", a stereotypically face-painted street mime won't stop following Mr. Bean around, even slipping into the back seat of the taxicab he takes home from the park and sneaking into his house, where he proceeds to help himself to Bean's food - and all of this because Bean didn't pay him for his performance back in the park (a performance that Bean didn't enjoy or even ask for in the first place). Bean isn't aware of the mime's presence until he walks through his front door and turns around - but his pet cat notices the mime following Bean out of the taxi and snarls suspiciously (making this overlap with Evil-Detecting Dog, except that the mime isn't evil - just a pest). The mime makes a grotesque face at the cat, causing it to yowl and jump into the air in a panic.
  • Looney Tunes: Some cartoons directed by Bob Clampett, like Goofy Groceries and Wagon Heels, have a gag where one character roars at another, only for the other to roar back even louder, causing him to shrink down and become a crying baby.
    • The gag was also used in the Pink Panther short It's Pink, But Is It Mink?
  • An episode of G.I. Joe had Junkyard, the dog of canine handler Mutt, get into a standoff with a random Angry Guard Dog. The two growled at each other until Mutt arrived and he growled at the dog as well, which promptly ran away.
  • My Goldfish is Evil: Normal animals are terrified of Admiral Bubbles and flee or hide in his presence, even natural predators many hundreds of times his own size.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: In "No Space Like Home," Hair Bear scares away Professor Rockabuilt's guard dog by barking back. Hair considers the dog psychologically disturbed.
  • Rocky Kwaterner: As a caveboy who grew up in the wild, Rocky can easily scare most wild animals into submission with his loud screaming/roaring. He does this to an actual angry dog in "Rite of Passage", to a wild boar in "Follow the Leader", and even to a bear in "Rocky has Dissappeared".


Video Example(s):


Amleth doesn't get spotted

Amleth takes cover from patrolling guards behind a house wall. An Angry Guard Dog starts to alert the men to the hero's presence but then Amleth pulls an angry face on the dog which scares the dog into silence. One of the guards approaches the corner where Amleth is hiding but conveniently decides to turn around before reaching it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SafeBehindTheCorner

Media sources: