Tips to Help a Skittish Standard Poodle Feed Better About Houseguests

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 18, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped 1 year-old Standard Poodle Maple by sharing tips to help her get over her barking and skittishness of house guests and fear of visitors to the home.

I knocked pretty hard when I arrived to create a strong response and it worked, maybe too well. For the rest of the session Maple barked, kept her distance and was hesitant to come near me unless I was providing treats.

While I shared dog behavior tips with the family, I strategically tossed treats to Maple, taking care to have them fall in front of her so she had to take at least one step towards me in order to get it. This is a great way to help a dog practice approaching something or someone they are unsure about.

I used a version of this approach to help the dog get over her fear of new people. Actually in Maple’s case, id classify it as more of an anxiety of new people. Likely due to under socialization as a puppy and inadvertent rewarding of undesired behaviors.

I shared a number of tips to help the humans start to flip the leader follower dynamic. I think part of why Mable was reactive to strangers who visit is she thinks she has the same rank and status as her humans. It’s my belief that she thinks it’s her job to protect the family from people she doesn’t know. Adding in rules and structure is a great way for a dog to start to realize they don’t need to be a guard dog.

To help the dog stop barking at guests, I filmed a free dog training video where I shared secrets to helping a dog feel good about people visiting the home.

Creating a positive association with guests, combined with redefining the leader follower dynamic will help stop her barking at guests. But just like anything else, it will take practice. Many people assume their dog will know how to behave when guests come over, but without instruction, direction or clear communication, many dogs get confused and act in ways we don’t like.

The family can also help set Maple up for success by increasing her daily exercise through some creative activities, especially 30 minutes before guests come over. This can help put her into a more accepting mood.

Maple is a great dog, she is just confused about her place in the home and her role / job. Consistently enforcing rules, streamlining communication, increasing exercise, rewarding desired behaviors and teaching her new tricks will help her family demonstrate they have the leadership thing covered.

To help the family remember all the tips we shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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