Helping Dogs Cope With Visitors to Your Home

Helping Dogs Cope With Visitors to Your Home

Dogs can have many different reactions to visitors, from frolicking and jumping excitedly, growling and anxious fear, barking and aggression. All dog owners should take steps to train their canine companion to respond appropriately when guests arrive, and there are several ways to help dogs improve “company manners” when greeting guests.

Socialization is important

Many dogs react badly to visitors because they are not used to being with strangers. Proper socialization and training from an early age, whether from puppy age or as soon as a dog is adopted, help dogs learn to behave both at home and outside with guests. Organizing group workouts, walking in busy areas, visiting dog parks, arranging puppy play dates, and occasional dog day care can help dogs become more socialized and accepting of others. The more accustomed a dog is to strangers, the more he will accept guests in the house.

Helping dogs cope with visitors

There are several ways to help dogs adapt to the presence of a visitor without bad behavior. Effective options include…

Provide the dog with a safe place and train him to use it.

It can be a box, a bed or just a corner of the room where you know you are safe. This should be the dog’s established place, and he can be rewarded for using it with a treat or a chew toy. The dog must be trained to go to this place with a simple command, which can be used at any arrival of a guest.

Reinforcing all training commands, in particular, “stay”, “down” and “no”.

Strengthening training helps the owner to maintain control over his pet. Focusing on the commands that are important to the guests will help the dog to remember his manners and show the correct behavior when visiting the guests.

To tie up the dog when a guest arrives.

Using a short leash can remind the dog of the correct behavior and keep the owner under control to minimize jumping or other bad behavior. Keep the leash close to the door and train the dog to accept you when someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell. This also helps to keep the dog under control so that he does not run out of the door when opening it.

First, greet the guests outside, and then come in.

Very territorial dogs may be best suited if guests are first greeted outside in a neutral area. Then the guest can enter the house and settle down, and after a minute or two, the dog and the owner can enter. If the dog sees that the host is already part of the territory, then domination problems can be reduced.

Be confident when the guests arrive.

Dogs take behavioral cues from their owners, and if an owner comfortably greets a guest with a good tone of voice, the dog will know that this is a person who can be trusted and welcomed. A hug or a handshake can also help to give the guest a hint of the owner’s scent, which will make the dog feel more comfortable.

Introduce the dog correctly.

Dogs get acquainted with newcomers by sniffing, so allow the dog to greet guests in his own way. Allow the dog to approach the guest and learn about him so that he can accept him more easily. The owner can bring a guest’s hand to the dog’s nose for a formal introduction and a mixture of fragrances that the dog will understand.

First, minimize the guests.

If a dog is exceptionally nervous or misbehaves with guests, avoid a big party or a lot of people until the dog learns better manners and gets better used to the activity. This will help the dog get used to having different people around and he will learn that there is no danger from guests.

Reward good behavior.

If a dog responds to commands and responds appropriately to a guest, reward this behavior with a kind word, a pat on the head, or a treat. This will reinforce the dog’s good behavior for future visits.

Although not all techniques are effective on all dogs, using different tactics to get used to guests helps the dog develop better manners for each stranger he interacts with.

Helping visitors deal with dogs

There are times when a host’s behavior can cause even greater anxiety to a dog or send conflicting signals to the animal. To make everyone feel comfortable…

Warn guests about possible bad manners of the dog and emphasize that the animal is still being trained and is not always used to visitors. Show the guest what verbal commands or hand signals should be used so that the dog receives consistent suggestions about behavior.

If the dog is sensitive to certain stimuli, let the guest know and ask him not to contribute to the animal’s anxiety. For example, strong perfumes or aftershave lotions can increase anxiety in dogs, and if a visitor is asked not to wear one, it can help minimize bad behavior.

Let the guest reward the dog’s good behavior with some bites or treats that you can share with the dog. This also helps the dog to recognize the hierarchy of visitors so that he behaves accordingly when someone comes to visit.

If the guest is afraid of dogs or has severe pet allergies, it may be better to put the dog in a crate or keep it in another room or outside while the visitor is present. Limiting interaction can easily compensate for very unpleasant situations.

It can be embarrassing and unpleasant when a dog is rude or aggressive towards a visitor, but with constant training, proper socialization and good techniques for dealing with guests, any dog can have appropriate manners for greeting and interacting with visitors.


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