View Full Version : Meeting new people

25th January 2008, 11:30 AM
Hi everyone--havent posted here in a while. I need some advice/help...

Oliver (just turned 3), for some reason, takes a looong time to warm up to new people. He barks and barks when someone new comes to my house and once he settles down, wants nothing to do with them petting him. He will shy away when they try to pet him. I always tell people just to leave him alone and he will eventually warm up on his own time.

When people he knows and sees a lot come over, he is fine. Maybe not overly friendly to all of them, but doesnt bark and will let them pet him.

Tonight my neighbors came over. When they knocked on the door, Oliver started barking, so I picked him up (not to comfort him, but because his barking was a bit of a nuisance) and answered the door. My neighbor (a nice guy Oliver has met before), bent down to kiss me on the cheek to say hello. I think it scared Oliver and he gave a growl and bark and it seemed like he was almost going to bite the guy, who immediately pulled away, surprised. I was really surprised, too, at Oliver's reaction. He usually barks but has never tried to bite anyone, EVER. I think it was the way my neighbor leaned over us and bent down near our faces that really freaked Oliver out.

Once we all settled down, I gave my neighbor treats to give Oliver and he worked with him on sits, shakes, downs, etc... but Oliver was still really skittish and hesitant to come around unless there were treats involved.

I have had Oliver since he was 10 weeks old and he comes from a reputable breeder. He has always been around people and new situations, so I just don't understand why he is so neurotic sometimes.

The only thing I can thing of is maybe I spoiled him too much??? He was the first dog I ever owned by myself...I had a dog as a kid, but it's so much different when it's your very own!

We did obedience training when he was about 7 months old. Before the class, there was a "free play" time. Oliver used to get really scared by the big dogs and come running over to me, and I would pick him up and tell him it was ok. The trainer put a stop to that and told me that was just reassuring him that he was right to be afraid. She said I was coddling him and that would result in a dog that wasnt very self-confident. I definitely changed my ways when I realized the logic, but I wonder if I spoiled and coddled him too much and that's why he sometimes acts the way he does around strangers??

Anyone have any advice on helping Oliver to warm up to strangers or thoughts on what happened tonight??? I dont want Oliver to act like that when he is meeting new people.

25th January 2008, 01:19 PM
Yes, I definitely can see where I made a big mistake in picking him up!! Thank you!

25th January 2008, 01:37 PM
I always recommend getting back into obedience where you can talk to a professional trainer on specific areas you'd like to work on, and have your dog in an active bustling environment with new dogs and people. The environment alone helps. Also the class setting helps us to place our dogs in good social situastions that we may not really actively do in day to day life. Finally, doing a class together builds the right kind of relationship with a dog -- active and respectful. Daily work on obedience at home also is good practice -- even just 5-q10 minutes maintains and reinforces the behaviour you do want. As with people, dogs forget what they've learned when they don't use those skills regularly. Most of us tend to do a class then rarely practice or maintain the level of knowledge they had during the course and all the work we put in begins to slip away.

25th January 2008, 03:49 PM
We have the opposite problem, Candi gets overly excited when people come over to the house, we tell them not to clap her until she sits for them( obviously they give her the command), and if she doesn't straight away to ignore her for a minute, then start again giving her the command. Usually with Candi after the minute she will sit for them, we've noticed with Candi she isn't being disobediant she is just overly excited. She is also like that when we are outside walking, but i keep giving her the command heel and stay, its not to say she isn't good walking outside, she is, just when she see's people. Hopefully she will calm down through time. I've never seen a dog get soo excited, the wee bum wiggling and the tail going at 90. She does get out a lot so she should be used to meeting people even relations that she see's every couple of days.

26th January 2008, 02:37 AM
We have a similar problem but with our Lab-Duke. Every time we go for walks, if he sees another dog he will bark and bark almost to the point of making the other owner (& dog) afraid of us. Once Duke meets them, he would either calm down or start playing. To this day, we don't know why he does it. He was socialized at an early age. We asked a trainer and she was at a loss. Anyway, good luck with it. I know it can get pretty embarrassing, not to mention frustrating.