How to Help Your Dog Stay Calm When Friends Come To Your House
Discover effective ways to ease your dog's nerves when welcoming visitors. From the first encounter to fostering positive interactions, learn practical tips for a stress-free and enjoyable experience for both your furry friend and your...
For dogs, their home environment is their "territory." When unfamiliar people enter, they often become nervous and attentive. Some dogs may express excitement by jumping or playfully biting guests' clothes, causing embarrassment or even punishment. Others may exhibit extreme behaviors such as barking, growling, or even aggression.
In our view, if a dog's agitation lasts for more than 30 minutes and fails to calm down, it indicates significant stress in response to house guests.
For guests visiting a dog-owning household for the first time, even though the humans may be friends and already aware of the dog's lifestyle and preferences, it's the dog's first encounter with them. Despite being friends to humans, these visitors are strangers to the dogs. This is often overlooked by owners who assume their friends are automatically recognized by their dogs.
Except for dogs with defensive or aggressive issues, the first meeting can be conducted following these steps to ensure both human and canine feel at ease.
When guests arrive, take the dog downstairs to greet them and engage in a short social walk together.
Let the dog take the initiative during the first meeting. Guests should refrain from approaching the dog directly, allowing the dog to decide whether to get closer.
Maintain a distance greater than the leash length. Humans can greet each other first without excessive movement, then take a simple walk while keeping this distance.
During the walk, if the dog approaches and sniffs the guest, slowly extend a hand for the dog to smell. However, refrain from touching them.
Avoid staring at the dog; use calming signals such as blinking, squinting, turning your head, or yawning. These signals reassure the dog that the guest means no harm and is a communicative partner.
Most dogs, through the process of walking together, will become acquainted with the guests and slightly more comfortable. This process helps reduce the social safety distance between them.
Once inside the home, ask guests to sit down, offer some of the dog's favorite treats, and let the dog eat. Since they've already walked together, dogs are more likely to accept the goodwill of strangers, especially if treats are involved.
If the dog willingly approaches or seeks affection, guests can gently touch the dog's shoulder or neck area, avoiding sensitive areas like the head or paws.
Understanding that, by nature, guests are still unfamiliar "intruders" to dogs, acceptance takes time. Dogs consider themselves the masters of the house, and guests should not overshadow this with excessive enthusiasm and assertiveness.
Dogs, like children, may not always enjoy participating in adult social activities, especially those requiring special performances.
If guests love dogs, as owners, we need to assess whether our dog is in a suitable state to meet new human friends. If so, follow the previously mentioned introduction methods for a harmonious interaction.
For overly enthusiastic or defensively barking dogs, behavior adjustment is necessary as extreme emotional fluctuations indicate high stress levels, potentially harmful to the dog's health.
Excessively enthusiastic dogs may display behaviors like jumping or biting, unsure of how to express their emotions and seeking attention. Training incompatible behaviors, such as teaching a dog to fetch a toy when guests arrive, helps release stress and addresses the need for attention.
For dogs displaying defensive behaviors, such as excessive barking and territorial aggression, crate training or a safe space can be introduced to help them ignore external stimuli, improving their sleep quality.
Remember, a good sleep routine increases tolerance to the external environment, aiding in the thickening of the brain cortex and the production of serotonin.
Invite friends to assist with further practice. Before guests enter, place the dog in a crate, and with repeated exercises, gradually transition to having the dog on a leash, engaging in sniffing activities at home, and eventually interacting calmly with guests.
Dogs with such behavioral issues should collaborate with professional trainers for behavior adjustment. Rushed interventions may lead to forced socialization, increasing defensive reactions and potentially escalating to more severe aggression.
Positive interactions between humans and dogs enhance the dog's affinity for strangers and contribute to a peaceful coexistence. Aiming for a great journey with our canine companions, always remember that dogs, as a different species, exhibit behaviors for specific reasons, not intentionally challenging humans or deliberately avoiding certain actions.
Dogs are not as complex as we might think; seeking professional help for behavior adjustment is crucial when issues arise. Here's to a fantastic life journey with our furry friends!