In your eyes, your puppy is the most precious and adorable pet in the world. They are cuddle bugs who want to spend as much time with you as possible. That’s why the sudden shift in your pet’s attitude when a stranger arrives may be so surprising.
Your normally well-behaved yet playful pet may start barking incessantly at the stranger knocking on your door. After inviting your guests inside, your puppy may run up to them and start growling.
Behavior like that is problematic for puppies and downright dangerous for adult dogs. It should have no place inside your household. Prevent your pet from behaving that way by following the tips listed in this article.
Ease Your Puppy into Socializing Interactions
When a stranger is nearby, your puppy may bark out of fear and a natural instinct to protect themselves from the unknown person.
You can make those interactions less stressful and frightening for your pet by easing into them. Put a leash and harness on your puppy if you’re expecting guests to arrive soon. Before answering the door, hold your puppy’s leash and keep them nearby, observing how your puppy interacts with your guests.
Lead your pet away if they start getting aggressive. Assuming your guests are okay with it, you can slowly introduce your puppy to them.
Give Your Guests a Relaxed Greeting
Puppies have so much to learn in our human world. That’s why they often turn to us for cues as to how to behave. If you greet your guests in a happy and relaxed manner, your puppy is more likely to see them as safe. Your goal is to show your puppy that welcoming guests into your home is pleasant and no threat at all. Give your guests a warm yet calm greeting, and let them know to do the same.
Use the Crate to Keep Your Puppy Calm During Socializing
Another great tool to help your puppy learn about having guests is a crate. Prior to using the crate when you have guests, you must introduce the crate to your puppy as a comfy and pleasant place to be. Then when guests come over you can have your puppy in the crate until they show signs of calming down. At that point, let them out of the crate (clip the leash on though) and start the greetings. Your puppy’s crate is also a great place for them to rest if they get tired or overstimulated.
Hire a Behavioral Consultant or a Veterinary Behaviorist
If your puppy’s behavior issues don’t show any improvement (or they worsen), consult a behavior consultant (a dog trainer with additional knowledge and skills in the area of canine behavior) or a veterinary behaviorist.
A veterinary behaviorist differs from a dog trainer because they are veterinarians who are knowledgeable in all aspects of animal behavior.
Socialization can be a struggle for puppies who instinctively fear the people they don’t know. You can make those unfamiliar situations easier for your pet by following the tips we detailed above.
Want help to establish good puppy socializing habits? Address the issue by hiring a professional certified dog trainer. Visit our dog training service page for more information.