Dogs are extremely perceptive animals.........like most animals they have to be, it's survival (as stated above). IMO, it is "normal". I don't know how you can redirect this behavior, at least as far as the dog is concerned......the humans, well, tell them to not be so afraid LOL. Easier said than done. Some don't feel comfortable around dogs........nothing new here. This type of human/dog interaction has been going on forever. I remember being very young and being told "not to show fear" when you pet such and such dog. I certainly am not a trainer........so if someone has advice on the subject maybe they can speak up. But I'll bet that a modification will have to occur with BOTH dog and human alike for this to be resolved. BTW, my dogs who know me better than myself will at times "pick up" when I'm not myself (anxious, scared, etc. about something)...and have gotten quite on "edge" themselves. It was confusing for them....and, on one occasion, resulted in a brawl between the two. Obviously, some dogs show this type of behavior more than others....like humans, nothing is for certain. One of my dogs would be as gentle as a lamb with a child or stranger, while the other would not. It is what it is. It is an interesting topic for sure.
OFRN: THE DEVIL'S LAP DOG