As a pet parent, if you're going to be having guests in the house with your pet present, then this is an essential step.
Ideally, the socialization process should begin as soon as your pup comes home. Invite friends and family over, and have them interact with your pup so that he gets used to the feel of other people outside of yourself.
Pups have different personalities and would naturally react differently when meeting strangers for the first time. So, whether the meeting is outdoors or indoors, here are 5 steps to help you ace pet-human introductions:
- Stay On Top of the Entire Exchange
This starts right from when the doorbell rings. Keep your dog on a leash, and correct unpleasant behavior like barking or charging at the door using a firm but calm tone.
Once your guest enters, ensure that they are interacting with you and ignoring your pup. This strange but correct action allows your pet to understand that they don't pose a threat, and this should help him relax.
Next, allow your dog to get a few sniffs of your guest, and he should be more relaxed afterward.
- Keep Intros Short Initially
This especially applies when your pet gets easily excited. Watch his behavior, if you note any buildup of aggression or agitation, slow the process down.
You may need to keep the leash on for the entire duration of the visit, this would help you keep control of the situation.
Furthermore, a calm tone and lots of loving physical contact should help.
- Reward Good Behavior
If your pup remains calm when he hears a knock instead of racing to the door, this is behavior that should be rewarded.
You could allow your visitor to do the honors even, this would help him relax.
Furthermore, it would reinforce the message that remaining calm is a pathway to treatsville. Even from visitors!
- Employ Commands
If your pet starts to appear startled, use any of the basic commands, "Sit", "Stay", "Off" and "Lie Down" which are already in his vocabulary.
Similarly, you should use a calming tone when doing this. It would serve to take away the building fear. This also indicates that your attention is still on him even with strangers around.
Ensure that your guest's manner is calming as well. No eye contact with your pet for the first minute or two a slow approach is one of the fundamentals.
- Provide Safe Grounds
A secure, calming space where your pup can retire to when he's spooked is pretty essential. You want him to retreat and not attack or face his fears if he's feeling threatened.
Apart from a crate, using a doggy gate is a good idea as well. The gate serves as a separation between your pup and your guest, and he can observe from a safe distance.
Since he's in a safe space, he can then evaluate the situation more calmly. And over time, you should be able to do introductions without any hassle.