How to Teach a Puppy to Not Growl at New People

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 30, 2017

Diesel is a ten-month-old Weimaraner / Blue Heeler mix puppy who lives in Omaha. His guardian set up a puppy obedience training session with me to address a few unwanted behaviors; getting over excited, barking, jumping up, chewing, pulling on the leash and leash aggression towards other dogs.

Because he lives in an apartment, his guardian had to come and let me into the building. When the door opened, I could immediately tell that Diesel was not very comfortable with my arrival and was lacking for confidence in this sort of greeting.

Because he is a puppy, its going to be easier to help Diesel to have a positive outlook on meeting new people to stop his growling. Im not a puppy trainer, Im a dog psychologist, but I have trained puppies before so I shared a number of the puppy training tips I have picked up along the way.

I spent an hour going over some different ways for his guardian to help Diesel feel more like a follower by eliminating perceived authority so he can go back to a smaller world view.

One of the things i recommended, and I will recommend to you if you have a puppy, is to check out the Quest-Ed section of my website. I shot over 100 puppy training and puppy behavior videos and posted them there to help other people train a puppy using the same positive puppy training methods that I use.

Just like human’s, dogs feel stress when they feel responsible. And if they feel like they are not being heard and it effects that responsibility, it can cause them distress. But in this case, we are dealing with a puppy who is essentially a baby. It really needs structure in place to help it develop in a happy and healthy way and not worry about being in charge of things like security, resource acquisition, hunting, etc.

Adding rules, boundaries and limits end enforcing them within 3 seconds maximum is a great way to help the dog adopt a smaller world view and let them go back to being a silly puppy.

Next I went over some basic puppy training techniques and puppy training secrets to help Diesel’s guardian engage in activities that will boost a puppy’s confidence.

I also recommended that the guardian practice my Petting with a Purpose method of asking the dog to do something small like sit or lay down and then pet it after it does while saying the command word once.

This helps the dog adopt a asking mindset instead of thinking can tell the human what to do. Building off this is the technique I suggested to help the puppy feel good about meeting new people.


  • Introduce rules and boundaries and enforce them consistently within 3 seconds.
  • Pet Diesel¬†with a purpose.
  • Wait for Diesel to settle down before petting him when arriving home.
  • Practice leashing up Diesel calmly and stop or pause when he gets excited.
  • Teach Diesel new tricks and commands to build up his confidence.
  • Use the Manding exercise detailed in the last video to help Diesel feel positive about new people.
  • Practice the Focus exercise to develop a redirect command.
  • Pick up my mentor’s book, Feisty Fido to help Diesel learn that other dogs are not a threat.
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This post was written by: David Codr

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