How to Help a Big Dog Greet New People Without Being Fearful

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: January 8, 2018

In this Omaha dog training session we worked with one-year-old, Forrest, a German Shepherd/ Malamute mix who was having issues greeting new guests into the home and overcome his fear of strangers.

Before I arrived I called the guardians to ask them to put Forrest on a leash so they could have more control and help guide him away from me after I came into the home. As you can see in the video above I asked them to bring Forrest into the kitchen area so he couldn’t see me. This allowed him to lose at least one sense, his vision, briefly to help him calm down quicker. Once he started to calm down I had them put him in his kennel with a bully stick that I brought for him.

Once Forrest was in his kennel and happily chewing on his bully stick I chatted with the guardians. I waited for Forrest to finish his bully stick and fall asleep. That way I knew that he was relaxed enough with me in his home to progress to the next stage. You can see how I started introducing myself to Forrest in the video below.

As you can see in the video Forrest was still a bit apprehensive about me being in his home but was warming up to me. His tail was sometimes elevated due to having treats on the floor, which was exciting for him. The things that I want to remind the guardians to watch for when Forrest is greeting new people is any stiff body positions, his tail being too elevated or pulling directly towards someone. This would indicate that Forrest is nervous and wants to tell the person to leave. However, if he is calm, low tail and relaxed body posture he is in a relaxed enough state to progress.

By the end of the session Forrest became comfortable enough with me to take treats directly from my hands. I didn’t start out this way so as not to put him into training mode, which can stop his normal dog communication signals, but after he felt comfortable around me it is okay to start giving him treats. To keep up with this good behavior the guardians will want to set up greetings with new people for active training with Forrest. We wrapped up this dog behavior session with Forrest’s Roadmap to Success video, which you can watch below.

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