How Do I Train My Dog To Ignore Strangers?

When going for a walk and you come across strangers, does your dog act all jumpy, going in circles and losing control? Dogs that get overly-excited are usually reacting from anxiety. Such behavior can be a nuisance, especially if you hate when strangers touch your dog.

It’s not easy going about telling people not to pet your dog. The best thing you can do in such a situation id to teach your dog how to ignore a stranger.

Here are step by step guide on how to do it.

Practice at home

Sometimes you may teach bad habits to your dog without realizing it. Whenever you allow your dog to jump on you carelessly at home, you’re unknowingly given them a go-ahead to jump on strangers.

Don’t get on the habit of greeting them often or saying goodbye unless they’re standing on all fours. Remember to reward each time they do this to reinforce that behavior.

Once your dog understands this, it will be ready to apply it when you guys are out in the park or going for a walk.

Walk away

When your dog becomes overly excited when they see a stranger, immediately get them away from the distraction.

Continue pulling until they calm down and stop trying to pull away. If you stay put and continue commanding them to stop, it will make your work harder.

Stay away from the dog park

When you are just starting to train your dog to keep off strangers, you should avoid taking them to the park where there are many people. It may seem the best place for a dog’s socialization, but it is the worst for a dog that has no impulse control.

There are a dozen dogs at the park running loose and people are also walking everywhere. There is no way you will be able to stop them from greeting your dog.

Draw their attention elsewhere

Whenever you are out with your dog, ensure you carry treats with you or their favorite toys. Once they spot someone and start jumping up and down, be ready to draw their attention away.

You can always use the “focus” command. If they respond by turning to you, then reward them with a treat or toy. Continue practicing until your dog learns to stay put in the presence of strangers.

Choose a special collar

You may not like the choke collar for your dog as at times they can be so painful. There are other collars you can choose which are more comfortable. For example, you can decide to use head collars.

They tend to force your dog to turn away from the triggers whenever they try to pull away. Using these, you can avoid pain and negative reinforcement to get your dog to do what you want. These are great when going for walks.

Take a trip to the city

If you are keen enough, you might have noticed how well-behaved dogs are in the city. It is because they are used to seeing so many people daily. It might help to take your dog on a trip to town or other crowded places often.

After seeing many people, the urge to greet them, and the enthusiasm will eventually fade away. It’s a trick that will help your dog practice calm behaviors.

Teach down and stay method

Teach your dog to sit and stay with no stranger present. Practice when they are on and off-leash. Repeat until your dog performs this without any problems. Always reward good behavior. Next, have a stranger come to your house.

Put your dog on a leash earlier before the stranger arrives. Give your dog the stay down command and show them to their mat once the person rings the doorbell. When your dog obeys and sits calmly on the mat with the stranger present, reward with a treat.

After your dog has been calm for some minutes, call them over, introduce them to the stranger then give gifts. Repeat the process several with different people until the pooch learns to stay calmly in the presence of strangers.

The ignore method

Have a friend act a stranger, then go and meet the “stranger.” It could be at home or on a walk. When your dog starts to overreact due to the stranger’s presence, both of you should ignore it. Do not look or talk to them.

Both of you should not pay too much attention to the dog. When your dog stops barking and jumping, let the stranger give a small reward. As the dog becomes calmer, provide a treat. If your dog starts reacting overly excited again, withdraw the gifts and ignore it.

Repeat the process severally with different people ignoring the excited behavior and rewarding calmness. Let your dog understand that there is no reward for overreacting and that calmness is rewarded with attention and treats.

Train polite greeting for a closer encounter

You can arrange for a friend to act like a stranger, let them come in the house, sit but don’t let your dog meet them first. Let your friend handle a smelly treat to get the smell on their hand then hide it on the other hand.

Get your dog out to meet your friend. If they portray any rowdy behaviors, the stranger should ignore them until they come down. Tell your friend to present the smelly hand. When they sniff the hand, say “yes” and give the treat.

When they finally learn to nose touch the open hand presented, give the action a name. Repeat the practice while your friend is now standing and lowering their hand. Continue the process with different people for several weeks and give treats whenever they behave accordingly.

Your dog will always come into contact with people, strangers, or friends. Either at home, at the park, on trips, or during walks. Taking a calmer dog on walks will always give you a feeling of satisfaction.

If you want your dog to react more calmly whenever they meet strangers, never punish any negative behaviors. Never pull back or yell; this creates more anxiety and only makes the behavior worsen.

The best way to create a calm behavior on your dog is to socialize them at an early age and offer rewards to reinforce good behaviors.

1 thought on “How Do I Train My Dog To Ignore Strangers?

  1. Kristina Greenwell

    I am so happy to say that my dog is FINALLY fully trained! I found out about this online dog training tool at TrainDogsOnline.org – it has been such a wonderful help in learning how to train my dog without ever leaving home. I learned so many great ways to teach my dog nearly every trick imaginable. Also, I can finally correct common behavioral issues, anywhere from potty-training to barking too much. It’s an actual man who’s a real dog trainer training his dog. He’s an expert so you can see his mannerisms and changes in his tone of voice… especially his body language. My dog behaves PERFECTLY now and picked up on these methods so fast. From what I understand, this will work on all dogs regardless of breed or age. Best of luck to you and your dog! Check out TrainDogsOnline.org – highly recommended!

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