So, you get a new dog, you’re excited, you want to introduce it to all of your friends, neighbors, and family. Sound familiar? This is what most owners do when bringing home a puppy. Could you be making a mistake by doing this? You sure can.
Right off the bat, introducing your dog to excited family members, neighbors, and friends, teaches the dog that he/she needs to greet almost every person it sees. Along with that, it also teaches the dog that overexcitement during that greeting is ok. You are actually doing yourself and your dog disfavour, as arousal is what we don’t want in the family pet.
Now, we aren’t saying not to bring your puppy around those people, but to do it the right way where it will benefit you and your dog in the long run. There’s a reason we don’t allow people to greet our dogs while on walks or in new environments. The reason is, we want our dogs to learn that people and other dogs just exist, to ignore them, relax, and focus on the task that they’ve been given.
Dog Arousal is not a good practice
Remember, arousal is usually not a good thing. A dog that is a constant state of arousal is usually a poorly behaved dog or one that doesn’t make good choices.
Imagine if everyone and every dog ignored you and your dog completely. Your dog would never have built the emotional response that it did through greeting inappropriately all the time. Instead of getting excited, anxious, defensive, etc, your dog would remain calm and most importantly listen to your commands.
How do we go about stopping people from feeling entitled to greet our dog’s the wrong way? How do we prevent our dogs from getting excited or reacting every time it sees someone or another dog? We ignore everyone and everything to start. We tell others to ignore our dogs until we say it’s okay.
But what if they don’t listen? If they don’t listen, they aren’t allowed to be around our dogs, period. What if it’s a neighbor or someone we pass on walks regularly? You change the route or turn and walk in the other direction.
Keep it simple.