Managing Fear of Strangers in your Dog
It’s not uncommon for dogs to be wary of strangers. However, as timid dogs can often lash out at unfamiliar people, it’s important to understand how to navigate your dog’s fear of strangers. In turn, you can minimize Dog Bite Liability and help your four-legged friend get along with strangers and friends alike.
If your dog is usually friendly but snaps or growls at strangers, it typically means he was not socialized enough in his prime age. From three weeks to three months of age, puppies are primed to explore and form bonds. Such that if they meet and greet all types of people in many types of environments and good things happen to them simultaneously, they generalize to understand that people overall are friendly, says Dogster. If not, dogs can become fearful around people they don’t know.
Oftentimes, people make the situation worse by crowding an insecure dog and not asking to pet them prior to doing so. Therefore, your seemingly friendly dog might be on the defensive and start to growl or bark out of instinct to protect himself.
Notice the signs of fear in your pet. Notice if his eyes darting back and forth or his gaze looking away while he’s cowering, or he may be yawning, licking his lips or panting when he shouldn’t be hot. Sometimes Fido starts moving in slow motion like he’s sneaking around, or his ears suddenly going out to the sides or back while his brow is furrowed in a worried look, says the article. These are all tell-tale signs that your dog is in distress and you should warn the stranger to refrain from petting and back away to make your dog comfortable again. Advise strangers or new friends to take their time allowing your dog to get used to them by feeding him treats but not petting him right away. Once your dog is relaxed and wags his tail, it’s safe for strangers to approach.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog-bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs, and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 534-6495.