Your Dog and Strangers
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:49 PM
A behavioral test for your dog is his introduction to someone new. Make a difference in how your dog reacts to a new person with a little training and reassurance.
How do I make my dog feel comfortable around strangers?
Start with training. The way your dog is trained can have a big impact on how he reacts to a stranger.
- Make sure you can easily handle him in a group of people.
- Don't allow your dog to jump up on you or others in greeting.
- Teach your dog these crucial commands -- "Sit, stay, down and no!"
They'll help you and your dog when dealing with strangers. Make sure your dog is ready and able to respond to them.
How can I teach my dog to deal with children patiently?
Children you meet on your daily walks may want to pet your dog or may be afraid of him. Because children's reactions vary, it's hard for your dog to know how to behave.
Set parameters for your dog's behavior:
- Make sure children are aware of your dog's possible actions. If your dog can be either jumpy or timid, you have a responsibility to make sure that children are aware. If you think your dog will react negatively, tell people before they approach.
- Teach your dog to sit on command. This gives you more control of any situation.
- Never allow your dog to jump on you or anyone else. Many common injuries to children happen when an excited dog jumps. These dogs don't mean to cause harm, but their affection can bring fear to a child.
What do I do if a problem arises?
If a problem occurs or your dog begins to react negatively to a situation, it's very important you maintain control. This is not achieved by shouting or hitting, if you reach this stage contact a local trainer
- Remove your dog from the situation.
- Give your dog the command to sit and stay.
- Correct the situation immediately and then seek help if your dog has become aggressive with a stranger. Your dog will need some obedience training to correct the problem.
Stay away from situations in which your dog will be uncomfortable.
I can never understand why pet owners do not take their puppies to training classes. Schools are great places not only for the pet but for the owner.
If you have a dog of 4/72 months it is never too late to go to a school. Most vets are more aware how important puppy social classes are and work with local trainers.
What should you expect to see at a training class?
Expect to see friendly people and happy dogs.
DO NOT expect to see people shouting at their dogs all the time, hitting them or continually checking them on a check chain, shouting 'heel, heel' at the top of their voices.
Expect to see dogs being taught the recall (to come back when called). In a happy voice and manner, being praised and played with, not being yanked on a lead, or the owner calling them in a threatening manner, and the dogs coming back hesitantly.
Listen to the Trainers
Are they telling people to praise their dogs? Are they encouraging and imparting information at the same time? Is the whole class involved and interested, or are they bored and talking amongst themselves.
Your trainer should be able to advise you numerous things such as toilet training, tips on chewing. But if you have a specific behavioral problem you might need an in-depth consultation and the training class is not the place for this. Speak to your trainer about a private session in your home, if they cannot help you, they will know someone that can.
ABOVE ALL REMEMBER THAT YOUR DOG IS FOR LIFE AND ITS TRAINING SHOULD BE AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE. A WELL TRAINED DOG IS A JOY TO OWN, AN UNTRAINED ONE QUICKLY BECOMES A MENACE AND A BURDEN TO OVERSTUFFED SHELTERS.