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Introducing Your Dog to a Sitter or New People

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

Every dog has a different personality. Some dogs will easily adapt to new people and different situations while others are very shy, some dogs can even get aggressive. Care.com has put together a set of 11 tips on how to ease into this situation. The key is patience!

  1. Confine Your Dog to a Separate Room Until Everyone Has Settled In
    If you’re having a new person come over to your home, you should keep your dog confined until everyone is settled in and sitting down, says Dr. Jessica Gramlich, a veterinarian.
  2. Let Your Dog Make the First Move
    You should never allow the new person to approach, speak to or touch your dog until your pet makes the first move to signal that this type of contact is acceptable, says Whitney.
  3. Ask the New Person to Offer Treats to Your Dog
    Without making eye contact with your dog, the new person should hold out treats or drop them on the floor nearby. During this process, the new person should stand sideways or in a crouching position.
  4. Do Not Reward Your Dog if He Continues to Show Fear or Shyness
    As Whitney points out, if you reward your dog for continuing to show fear or shyness, you will only delay his progress and increase the likelihood that he will continue to engage in this unwanted behavior.
  5. Be Patient
    If your dog finds the offered treats to be desirable, he will eventually feel confident enough to approach the new person, but it may take a while. You should never rush this process because that may only worsen your dog’s feelings of fear or shyness.

How Should You Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs?
You can help your dog feel comfortable with meeting other animals by starting out with “positive reinforcement, counter-conditioning and training with a known friendly, calm dog,” says Dr. Gramlich. Here are six tips on how to introduce your dog to a potential canine friend.

  1. Start in a Calm, Neutral Environment
    Make sure that you begin this process in a controlled environment that has little to stimulate or distract your dog.
  2. Use a Familiar, Well-behaved Dog
    According to Whitney and Dr. Gramlich, you should start by introducing your pet to a confident, well-socialized dog, as this will help you learn how to handle these types of introductions.
  3. Go Slowly at First
    When making this initial introduction, make sure that both dogs are properly leashed. Keep your distance from the other dog and his handler at first, and reward your dog for calm behavior. Then, approach the new dog slowly. When the dogs eventually meet up, you can allow them to sniff and circle around each other. Afterward, you should walk away with your dog.
  4. Use Plenty of Positive Reinforcement
    Throughout this introduction process, you should reward your dog when he displays confident behavior, as this will encourage a positive association with meeting new dogs.
  5. Never Use Tight Leashes or Pull the Dogs Apart
    According to Whitney, using tight leashes or pulling dogs apart can cause a negative reaction in your pet.
  6. Repeat the Process As Many Times As Necessary
    Depending on just how shy or fearful your dog is, you may have to repeat this process several times for him to feel truly confident around other dogs. Once he is able to build up this confidence, you both will feel more comfortable and relaxed on your outings.

Remember, your pets count!

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