Dogs make wonderful companions, each having their own unique personality and way of interacting with the wider world. However, some dogs are temperamentally high-strung, with oversized reactions to new experiences. If you have a dog that is nervous, hyperactive, or aggressive around unfamiliar people and situations, you will have to implement a few strategies to make these encounters more comfortable for all involved. Here are some tips to calm your nervous dog around new people.
Keep Your Dog Restrained
A nervous animal will feel more comfortable when kept on a leash and restrained. In this way, the dog knows you have control over him and will feel more secure. While teaching your dog to be more controlled when meeting new people, it’s a good idea to inform the newcomer how much interaction is advisable, in order to let the dog warm up in his or her own time. Remember that you are training other people how to act around your dog just as much as you are training your dog how to act around people. Let people know if it is okay to pet your dog, make eye contact, or how close they can get.
Give Calming Commands to Maintain Your Authority
Good training can help your dog deal with incidents that cause anxiety and uncertainty. You can reinforce your control over the situation by giving calming commands to let your dog know you are at his side and monitoring the situation. The sound of your authoritative voice and familiar words will help to relieve stress from the unfamiliar situation. Consider working on conditioned relaxation to help your dog learn to become calm on their own.
Reward Calm Behavior
You can also keep a small plastic bag of treats in your pocket when walking outdoors or when greeting people into your home. Cut up average-sized treats into very small pieces to give as rewards. When your dog acts appropriately, remaining calm, give him a treat. Withhold the treats if the behavior is not what you desire and show your dog that good behavior earns a reward.
Provide Calming Compounds
If your dog continues to have problems with anxiety or fear of unfamiliar situations, you can provide a calming supplement suitable for pets. A number of these compounds are available, such as chews that contain chamomile and valerian root, lavender sprays to induce a relaxed state or CBD oil to help the animal relax. Many outlets offer CBD tincture for sale to help calm the behavior of excitable dogs. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian about the right dosage for your dog’s needs.
Exposing your dog to new situations on a regular basis can de-sensitize animals to new experiences. Over time, the dog will become accustomed to unfamiliar stimuli and will take the new experience in stride. However, in the meantime, you can implement these strategies to help your nervous dog.