You love your dog, and want to include her in as many of your activities as possible. But when your dog barks and growls at visitors, having friends or family over can be stressful for both of you. What can you do so you both have a better time?
Dogs who are uncomfortable with visitors to their home can benefit from help from a qualified dog trainer, a veterinary behaviorist, or both. If you’ve been trying without success to help your dog happily accept visitors to your home, it’s time to reach out for professional help. You don’t have to struggle with this issue alone.
In the meantime, are you and your pup doomed to a solitary existence, never to enjoy an evening at home with friends again? Luckily, it is often possible to have friends visit without your dog causing a scene, even if you haven’t yet begun training. In our new, FREE step-by-step guide to setting up a “Zen Zone” for your fearful or reactive dog, we walk you through how to choose a location, set up, and use a safe space for your dog that will keep her happy and separated from visitors, so you can relax and enjoy time with friends.
You might feel guilty about “isolating” your dog this way, and excluding her from activities. But many fearful dogs are much happier when they are not around strangers. Think of your dog as an introvert at a party where she knows almost no one. Strangers keep approaching, trying to make small talk. It’s an introvert’s worst nightmare! What she wouldn’t give to be back at home, tucked into bed with a book (or maybe a bully stick.)
So give yourself, and your fearful dog, a break. Let your dog relax in another room while you relax with your friends. If you’re working with a good trainer or a veterinary behaviorist to help your dog become more comfortable with visitors, you probably won’t have to do this forever. But for now, it’s the kindest thing you can do for your pup, and for yourself.