Introducing your dog to new people can come with its own set of challenges. Some dogs get anxious around strangers while others may become fearful, or some may become over excited and begin jumping up or acting boisterous.
It can be difficult to know the best way to let your dog meet new people, but with a bit of patience, some training, and some good management there is no reason why your dog can’t become a pro at politely saying hello to new people.
Separate your Dog and the Strangers
Keeping your dog away from the strangers you want them to meet may seem counterintuitive but it works well, particularly for over excited dogs. If you are at home, confine your dog to another room or behind a baby gate while you talk to your guests. This allows your dog to take in the sounds and smells of these new people, while observing them from a distance where they can’t act badly.
If you are making your introductions outside of the home, then keep an eye on your dog and as soon as they start acting over excitedly towards the new person walk them in the opposite direction until they calm, then return. You may need to do this several times, but your dog will soon realize that they only get to meet people when they are calm and relaxed.
Bring Out the Treats
When your dog is acting calmly enough to listen to commands, then you can ask the stranger to tell your dog to sit and then reward them with treats. This is a good confidence builder for nervous dogs, who will learn that new people are enjoyable to meet.
Don’t Reward Unwanted Behavior
Many dog owners accidentally reward bad behavior in their dogs by giving them attention and petting them when they act unfavorably. If your dog acts aggressively towards people or is nervous around them, then try not to soothe them by stroking them and praising them. This will only encourage the behavior you are trying to put a stop to.
Lead by Example
If your dog has no confidence and becomes anxious around strangers then don’t forget to show them a good example. Dogs are very good at observing people, particularly their owners, and picking up on the subtle signals we give off. Act tense and your dog will feel stressed, act relaxed and your dog will feel calmer. So, keep your body language happy and content, and use a cheerful tone of voice.