Help for pups to overcome a fear of strangers
Allow dogs to take in information from afar where they continue to feel safe
We adopted a fearful dog from a shelter. He is sweet and gentle, however, strangers cause him fear. To address this, we have been introducing him to as many strangers as possible. Those people offer him treats, affection and social contact. Unfortunately, he is not responding to this strategy. How can we teach our dog that strangers are nothing to fear?
Positive attitudes, treats and a gentle approach are ab- solutely the way to go with scared dogs. The goal is, after all, to convince an animal that people are safe and pleasant. But the difference between success and failure lies in the details.
Distance is the scared dog’s best friend. Allow dogs to take in new information about strangers from afar. Whatever distance triggers fear, double it. Should strangers move unexpectedly, the dog is at a distance where they can continue to feel safe. Do use food, but not as a lure. Lures that draw the dog in are the wrong approach because they draw the dog in too close, too fast.
Using food to lure dogs in closer contact with strangers is the wrong approach. It is too much, too fast for them.