Does Your Dog Have a Fear of Strangers?
For any dog owner, it can be stressful and unnerving for your dog to meet strangers when he or she is fearful. For your dog to be comfortable with new people, it requires a bit more than just understanding the person is making an attempt to be friendly. As we explore why your dog may feel nervous and how to manage this issue, protect your four-legged friend with a Canine Liability Insurance policy.
Why does my dog fear strangers?
According to Dr. Sophia Yin, 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. Then if this socialization continues through their adolescence, the relaxed demeanor around people becomes part of their overall personality. Dogs without this experience are more likely to be fearful around newcomers.
How does the stranger impact the issue?
Most often, people make the issue worse. Rather than ask to pet your dog, they approach without question, which likely makes your fearful dog even more anxious and uncomfortable. However, if your dog shows signs of fear, it’s best not to reprimand him or her. This will only cause him or her to learn that showing her anxiety is not welcomed and he or she will be forced to suppress it until he or she explodes into a full-blown bite, explains Dr. Yin.
Read the signals.
If your dog is licking its lips, panting, darting its eyes back and forth, or cowering with its tail between its legs, it is showing blatant signs of fear. However, most dog owners fail to recognize these body signals during greetings. If these signs are present, do not allow the stranger to your dog her just yet. Explain that he or she needs time and needs to be gradually introduced to new people. Over time, your dog will learn to associate new people with friendliness and, ideally, replace fear with contentment.
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 (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.