Teach Your Dog to Keep Cool Around Strangers

Sunday, August 28, 2022 13:00:02 PM America/Los_Angeles

Nothing is more heart-warming than your fur baby leaping to greet you with a big, sloppy kiss! And as much as we love those loving licks, encouraging this behavior can have some unwanted results. Many doggie pawrents unwittingly train their pups to respond to strangers inappropriately through their own well-intentioned actions. Whether it’s barking or jumping, the way we react to our dogs has an effect on how they react to strangers. 

Photo by Camylla Battani

Why Do Dogs Bark at Strangers?

Some may be surprised to find out that aggression isn’t the only reason that dogs bark at strangers. Yes, barking can be territorial or protective behavior, but it can also happen when canines feel confused by a stranger’s presence or even when they’re frustrated with not being able to offer a friendly greeting. Plus, some breeds may be more prone to communicate via barking. 

Why Does My Dog Love Strangers?

Some dog pawrents, on the other hand, have pooches that simply can’t resist “attacking” strangers with sloppy kisses and enthusiastic jumping. And while dog lovers may not mind these sweet greetings, not everyone takes so kindly to them. It’s equally important to train friendly pups to greet strangers properly. In addition to being a loving doggo, canines who are passionate greeters are likely being rewarded for this behavior at home. 

How to Get Your Dog to Keep Calm Around Strangers

  • Practice calm greetings at home: Canines who love to say “hello” are probably the fur babies of equally enthusiastic dog pawrents who are understandably thrilled to see their pups when they get home. Greeting your pooch as soon as you see them or giving them treats right when you get home encourages dogs to respond enthusiastically. Instead, wait to offer affection (or treats) until you’ve moved past the doorway and have settled down. 
  • Go potty at home: For those fur babies who are overwhelmed by strangers or feeling territorial, consider using an indoor dog bathroom until your pup is better equipped to be around others. A real bark pee pad like Bark Potty can offer a taste of the great outdoors in the meantime! 
  • Provide positive reinforcement: As with any other kind of training, rewarding good behavior is the ultimate way to tell your dog that they’re doing a great job. Treats and praise after passing strangers calmly lets them know that you’re proud of their fantastic behavior! 
  • Exert energy before leaving: A quick play sesh indoors may help those hyper doggies who simply have excess energy to spare. An interactive toy or chew toy can offer a way to spend some of that energy before they use it to jump on passing strangers.