Dogs have been the most preferred companions and are supposedly friendly and calm.
But even you would have come across instances, where a dog (maybe your neighbors or while jogging in a park) might have lost control seeing a stranger and acted uncontrolled and in extreme cases, violently.
Firstly you must know that such behavior is normal for Dogs. It’s their instinct that makes them behave weirdly when they come in contact with strangers or things they don’t understand.
Well, if your Dog feels uncomfortable when guests or strangers visit you or while you take him out on a walk, there is nothing to worry about.
Here are some beneficial and practical things that can help you train your dog to remain calm under such circumstances.
But before that, you must know certain things that define the need for correcting the behavior of your Dog.
Markers That Require Corrective Behavior In Dogs
Dogs follow their instinct and have a natural sense of fear. They react aggressively to fear, and this is something that makes them vulnerable if their behavior is not checked.
Your dog will always warn you with a bark or two when an unknown person is approaching; this is normal.
But if your dog starts behaving aggressively, barks continuously jumps, and tries to unleash itself, then that’s something you need to work on.
Regularly, there will be many unknown persons who would visit you, as the delivery person or repair persons.
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Also, your Dog will meet strangers while you both go on a walk every morning and evening. If unchecked, his behavior might cause you a lot of trouble.
So, it is advised to check and control your Dog’s behavior and teach him to remain calm around strangers from an early age.
A To-Do List To Train Your Dog to Remain Calm Around Strangers
Before you begin preparing your Dog, there are certain things you need to keep in mind, perhaps follow strictly as a rule:
• You must have a well-defined schedule for training your Dog.
• The program must be followed strictly every day, wherein you have to give your Dog limited exposure to a stranger.
• Until the training is over, refrain from taking your dog to crowded places or keep him in a separate room when you have guest over.
Ask your family or friends who wish to volunteer in helping to train your dog.
• Do not tighten the leash of your dog nor scold him or punish him.
• Remember you have to calm him down every time he becomes anxious.
• If during the training schedule your Dog becomes unruly, immediately confine him to your home or where ever your dog feels safer.
• Keep things and treats your dog enjoys the most as a motivating factor whenever he responds positively to his training.
• Do not forget to use a muzzle if you know that your dog has a violent behavior or is prone to biting strangers.
The Training Procedure
Now, taking into account the above to-do list on training your dog, the following is the step by step guide that will help you train your dog to be calm around strangers:
1. Ask your friend whom your dog doesn’t know to become your assistant in training your Dog.
2. Now invite that friend of yours to come over to your place or tell him to meet you in a walkway where you take your dog for a walk.
3. Try to ignore the behavior of your Dog if he starts reacting aggressively around your stranger friend. Both of you must avoid and ignore him. Keep in mind that your dog is reacting aggressively because of his fear.
4. If you notice that the Dog has started to calm down, you can offer him a treat or ask your friend to do so, to attract the interest of friendship towards the stranger friend.
5. But if your dog doesn’t stop barking or starts becoming aggressive around the stranger friend, then refrain from giving treats and stop paying any attention towards him.
6. Continue doing the same this over and over again, till the time your dog behaves calmly and is comfortable with the stranger.
7. Now, keep repeating the entire routine with different friends, until you see a positive change in your Dog’s behavior around strangers.
Another prevalent method to practice has following routine; this is particular to those very fearful Dogs, acts violent, and becomes aggressive:
1. Invite your stranger friend, but keep your Dog on a leash or at a safe distance.
2. Do not haste; take everything slowly. Introduce the stranger to your Dog from a range. Keep improving and increasing the conversation between the dog and stranger, but maintain a distance.
3. As the dog becomes calm over time, ask the stranger friend to go closer to him, and interact with him.
4. Give rewards to your dog if he responds well and positively.
5. Repeat this until he becomes delighted and comfortable with strangers.
Remember throughout the training phase you have to be very calm and patient with your Dog. Your Dog can easily sense your frustration, and it will not help him.
Also, if you will be angry at him or shout at him, he will become tenser and may show unpredictable behavior.
Moreover, regular practice will keep him accustomed to the entire concept of meeting strangers, and he will show positive results quickly.
Take Care Of Your Dog
Your Dog is not just your pet; he is your friend and family. Give him the same treatment as you would give your child when he starts to learn to socialize.
It is as difficult for him as it is to you, or even more. Your constant support and love will make the training easier for both of you.
Treat him well, give him his space and respect his emotions; it’s imperative.
The best way to train your dog to be calm around strangers is by beginning his training at a very early age. The older a dog grows, the more resilient he becomes in accepting changes.