Introducing Your Dog to New Guests
Everyone likes to think all dogs are friendly and would love to meet new people, but that isn’t always the case. While some seem to take a liking to everyone they meet, others might be wary around strangers. If your pet is the nervous type, here are some tips that will help you with introducing your dog to new guests, both for the safety of your guests and your pet.
Remember, You’re in Control
The most important thing to remember is you are the one in control, not your dog. If you have guests coming over, put your dog on a leash until you’re certain it’s safe to let them go. Gently but firmly correct unwanted behavior such as barking or charging the door, and make sure you greet your guests before they acknowledge your dog. Once they do acknowledge your dog, let your dog sniff your guests and get used to them. Reward good and calm behavior with plenty of praise and treats.
Keep Introductions Short
When introducing your dog to your new guests, try to keep the introduction short. Doing this is especially important if you have an anxious or excitable dog. Short meetings are less stressful than a lengthy interaction with lots of jumping and barking.
Use Calming Commands
Give commands such as “sit,” “stay,” or “lie down” calmly but firmly. Your dog might be under enough stress as it is with strangers entering your home, so there is no need to make things worse by yelling angrily.
Related: The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog – Some Good Advice
Teach Your Guests How to Treat Your Dog
Your guests’ behavior will have as much of an effect on your dog as your own, so give them a few tips on how to treat your dog. Tell them that a sideways stance is better than looking at a dog head-on and that they shouldn’t maintain eye contact with your dog for longer than a couple of seconds. Most importantly, tell them to move slowly and gently when they greet your dog. You’ll be responsible for locking up a dog, keeping gates in place, and helping the premises stay safe and in order, but your guests are responsible for their own behavior as well.
Don’t Force Behaviors
Not every dog will want to be friendly with strangers. If you know your dog has a nervous disposition, or you notice them getting stressed out, don’t introduce them to your guests. Give your dog some space, preferably in a dog crate or some other place where they will feel safe.
Introducing your dog to new guests can be a lot of fun, but remember that dogs can be just as nervous around strangers as humans are. Take things slow, and always pay attention to your dog’s mood. With a little luck and the right training, your dog should start to perceive the strangers coming into your home as new friends.
“Tips for Safely Introducing Your Dog to New Guests”
Author Bio: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.
Other articles by Eileen O’Shanassy:
- Bad Dog: How to Weed Out Bad Dog Behaviors
- Tricks to Train a More Obedient Dog
- How to How to Check Your Dog for Ticks and Other Illnesses
MY QUESTION FOR YOU:
How does your dog behave when you have company over?
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36 thoughts on “Tips for Safely Introducing Your Dog to New Guests”
I think that the biggest downfall in dog training and dog interactions are the high expectations people put on their dogs. “They ought to know these things … they ought to like these things …” Which is not always automatically so. We need to drop the preconceived notions and have a starting point as if the dog didn’t know anything at all.
I agree, Jana. People who think their dogs are stupid and useless because they disobey make me furious. Just furious. There’s no such think as a stupid dog, in my opinion. Thanks for your input. I appreciate your visit. 🙂
My dog J.R. is pretty good with new people, but April is very nervous around new people, especially children. A kid chased her a while back, and now she is scared of all children. I have to be very slow in introducing her to new people, otherwise she totally shuts down.
Good tips, thank you!
A lot of dogs have fears of children, it seems. They’re too rambunctious. The kids, I mean. 🙂 I hope your April will figure a way around her fears. She sounds like a sweetheart. Thanks for stopping by Animal Bliss, Karen. I appreciate you!
These are good tips. I’m not always thrilled with guests the first time they come over, and sometimes I get put in a back room. The second time they come I’m more welcoming!
Well, I hope you’re more polite the second time around, dear Mishu. I’m sure you are. I’m glad you stopped by Animal Bliss for a visit! Woo-hoo. It’s always fun to welcome a celebrity. 🙂
Teaching the guests is harder than teaching the dogs most of the time. Our Lyla simply wants to be acknowledged then she settles down. Not forcing things is key as you said, and sometimes just going about regular conversation makes things seem more normal to a pup. Great article with solid tips!
You’re right, Joely, that sometimes teaching the guests is more difficult than teaching the dogs the first time they’re introduced to each other. Your Lyla sounds like she’s pretty much got it down, though, and that makes a great dog. Thanks for your input. I hope you’ll come see us again soon. Peace
These are great suggestions. While two of my dogs love everyone, one has a few trust issues. We’ve found it best to put him in the crate before meeting a new person. After he sees that everyone else is comfortable with the guest, he is much more at ease.
Putting your dog in a crate before meeting a new guest sounds like the best thing to do in his case. Knowing your dog is key. I appreciate your visit to Animal Bliss. Take care and come back soon.
My dogs are great with other but some dogs that are groomed at my work place are very shy and nervous. These are great tips I might just write down a few to remind fellow pet owners who get their dogs groomed!
I’m sure you see all types of behaviors where you work. Thanks for checking out my post about introducing dogs to new guests. I do appreciate your visit. 🙂
Layla would welcome everyone into our house, she loves company as that means more attention LOL. This is a wonderful post jokes aside, as it is important to have some kind of protocol so everyone feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Thanks
Hey, Ruth. Thanks for your input. Layla sounds like a delightful dog. It’s sweet that she loves everyone and all company. Some of us just want all the limelight. 🙂 Take care.
My dogs behaviors range from timid, nonchalant to protective. I have 3 dogs and they are consistent with their behavior. This is an important topic and your points are great reminders.
That’s quite a range of behaviors between your three dogs, Jodi. Timid, nonchalant, and protective just about covers all angles. It’s important to know how your dogs are around new environments and it sounds like you know yours very well. They’re lucky to have you. Peace
The cockers I have are very easy going and have no problem when we have parties. But I have had dogs where it was best to crate them until the guests settled down. Dogs don’t like it when they have to worry about being stepped on. At the park, I tell kids that they could bite, they are dogs and always a bit unpredictable. I don’t like strange kids at the park to pet my dogs since they then decide to give them a hug or you get ten kids circling your dog and not providing an escape route.
Hi, Sandy. I’m nervous with a lot of kids around my dogs too. Especially when I had my German Shepherd. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, but when she had too many kids around she would become very uncomfortable. Your cockers sound like party animals, though. You must have a lot of fun with them. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit Animal Bliss, and I hope you’ll come back again soon. Peace
As someone with a tiny (3.5 pound) dog that loves all humans but NOT children this is always a weird one. Under 12 seems to be the cut off. And my biggest issue are not the kids but the parents that don’t teach their kids to ASK first. My little one does better if NOT on leash. I think he likes to feel that he can scoot away from someone’s reach? He will then do the “hide behind the feet” and when he does that I know not to push it. He’ll come around. In HIS own time.
Your little pooch sounds so precious. Dogs do have issues with small children sometimes, don’t they? We have to respect that. I agree that the parents should be educated about teaching their kids to ask first if they can pet your dog. All the best with you, and stay safe on your travels.
When I’m meeting dogs for the first time I try my best to respect their space and go at the owner’s pace. These are great tips for dog owners.
Hey, Lola. I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit! It’s wise to go at the owner’s pace when meeting a dog for the first time. Thanks for your input!
Great advice! 🙂 It’s so important to make sure our dogs are socialized, but taking their time is important too.
Yes, you’re right. We have to allow our dogs to take their time when it comes to meeting new people and other animals. They deserve that respect. Thanks for taking the time to check out my post, Shelby. Peace.
Honestly, my dogs are TOO friendly, especially my Husky. She’s ridiculous and it gets kind of embarrassing. She is always croch sniffing, it’s a terrible habit we can’t seem to fully break. I usually keep her on a leash when people first come in, after about 10 minutes she’s fine. Excellent tips, thanks for sharing.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Oh, yes, the dreadful crotch-sniffing. Haha. We all know it well, don’t we? I appreciate you taking the time to visit Animal Bliss, Cathy. I appreciate you. Love & Biscuits to you and your dogs too. 🙂
Yes and yes! The last thing you would want is your dog stressing out and doing something completely out of the blue, like our neighbor’s dog once bit one of their movers, yikes! Ours is super friendly, but whenever we have a plumber or someone come in, we put him a separate room for some time and then bring him out when his excitement subsides.
You’re very wise to be cautious of your dog meeting new people. The fact that your neighbor’s dog biting one of their movers must have been an eye-opener. I hope the mover wasn’t too badly hurt. Thanks for your input, and I do hope you’ll come back and see us again at Animal Bliss.
Hmm interesting tips. I never had to introduce a dog to strangers since I’ve only had cats but I like the tip of keeping introductions short. I never would have thought of that. That does make sense the way you explain it as to not give the dog extra anxiety as the situation is already stressful. You laid out the tips nicely. Thanks for sharing.
I appreciate your comment, Kamira. I wonder how your cats have been with meeting new people. I have six cats, and most of them run for cover whenever someone new walks in the door. Hey, thanks for stopping by! Come again! 🙂
These are some great tips! We have a dog that used to be very timid around new people, especially entering his home. One thing that we also do that helps is that we introduce him separately from our other dogs. Having 3 other dogs trying to meet new people at the same time just made for more movement and craziness, which could make him even more anxious. We let him meet our guests first and then let the other dogs join in once he’s gotten a chance to sniff them and is no longer scared. Thanks for sharing these tips! So helpful!
Hi, Debbie! It would be fun to visit your house and be greeted by all your dogs. Life with mutts, indeed! I love that. But I understand why you would want to introduce the timid one by himself. That makes perfect sense. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you!
My dogs get very excited when we have company. While Gonzo is a friendly guy, Beau is initially a bit wary. He gets over it quickly as long as guests don’t look at him and he gets to use his nose. Knowing him like I do, I always have him leashed and treats available to encourage positive behavior. Great advice, and I’m happy to read that I am on the right track.
Thanks for your comment, Heather. Gonzo and Beau sound like wonderful beings. What happens when your new guests look at Beau, initially? I’m sure he appreciates the treats, anyway. Good boy. Who’s a good boy? 🙂 Come again!
Great topic! It’s so important to understand your dog and how they react to visitors in your home. Not all dogs are comfortable with attention, visitors, or children and need a place to feel safe and comfortable. It’s also important for the visitors to understand that your dog may not feel comfortable with attention.
Kids need to be taught to keep their distance from new dogs. Not every dog is cute, cuddly and willing to be hugged tight. Kids are impulsive and friendly so parents need to teach the kids respect. (I’m a cat owner and it drive ME nuts too!)
I like the suggestion to maybe not even introduce nervous pets to visitors, I am sure some dogs just love their families but visitors, no thanks!