Teaching Your Dog To Be Friendly With Visitors

While you want your dog to be mindful of intruders and potentially harmful strangers, you still want them to be able to distinguish the difference between them and an unexpected, friendly visitor.  Depending on your dog, there can be certain people who can trigger a reaction or anxiety so it is always best to understand the triggers and learn how to work with them so that they can be more comfortable around guests to your home.

If you happen to know that visitors are going to be stopping by, you can prepare in advance by making sure that the house is a calm environment for your dog once they arrive.  Trying to run around and doing things at the last-minute can end up bringing up the anxiety level in your dog.  If necessary, you can think about having your dog in another room for the visit or even during the time the guest comes through the door.  From there, you can choose to introduce your dog slowly so that they are much more comfortable with the guest.

It is always a good idea to be as calm and positive as you possibly can with your dog so that he or she does not get the sense that there might be something wrong.  Shouting at your dog or getting angry with them can actually make the anxiety or acting out even worse.  When bringing from another room, wait until your dog is calm and then introduce them on a leash to make sure that you are able to stay in control of the entire situation from start to finish.

When possible, talk to your visitors and let them know that you are trying to work with your dog to make it so that they are better with guests.  Simply ask them not to look at your dog directly into the eyes and remind them that quick movements and loud noises could be distracting or cause anxiety.  In some cases, you may also have great results simply by handing treats to your guests before introducing the dog so that they will see the visitors as a positive instead of a negative.

Overall, you are going to need to learn from the hints that your dog gives as to how they are going to be with visitors.  Knowing your dog’s reactions and what makes it calm or excited will be a big help as you are working to socialize them with human guests.

Mark Mansfield

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