Fear is a feeling of response and almost every individual have this feeling of fear of something in himself. This is not only present in humans but is also present in animals as well. When this feeling of fear gets intense then it turns into a phobia. Phobia can be termed as an intense feeling of fear of something which is actually not that much dangerous. Humans who suffer from hydrophobia, gets afraid of water, and a few people have a fear of heights, and so on! But this fear feeling is not present in wild animals. Basically, it is seen with the pet animals only, especially dogs. A few dogs have this feeling of fear of strangers; so as a result, they get aggressive, start barking or stand behind the curtain. The dogs can also be afraid of standing on a table, going to a veterinary doctor and much more. This feeling of fear present in them is basically due to the three reasons. They are:
- Result of past experience:
The frightening of dogs is due to any such bad experience that it had in the past.
- Interaction problem:
This is another reason faced as the dog has not interacted with many people in his early days when it was a puppy.
- Basic nature of the Dogs:
Few dogs have cower nature, so as a result, they may pull or hold their owner’s leg when supposed to move out or get frightened seeing two dogs fighting.
But now the question arises “How to cope up with this problem of fear in dogs of strangers”?
Here we will discuss about few therapies, methods or strategies of coping up with a dog’s fear of strangers. As already discussed, a few dogs are of the cower nature, so they get anxious whenever a new person a stranger comes to your place. This is because of its basic behavior. In such a situation the owner gets irritated and punishes the dog. Giving punishment makes the situation worse. So, as a solution to such a problem of dog’s fear in strangers you may use:
- A therapy known as conditioning therapy in which the dog is tied up with a muzzled cloth not too tight so as the dog may approach the strange person easily rather than the person may approach the dog. The strange person may let down on his knees in front of the dog and loves him on his chest rather than on his head. The strange person must be given a plenty of food so as to reward the dog.
- An addition to this therapy another therapy that can be used is counter-conditioning. As per this therapy the dog should be made to perform such actions which diverts its mind and makes him comfortable. It could either be a trick or game. You may also use food for the help as a reward to be provided.
- Another way of coping up with a dog’s fear of strangers is to provide training to deal with the new ones. They should be given a 5-10 minute session everyday so as to develop its obedience skills and face such situations easily.
- You, being the owner should remain polite with your dog otherwise your anger and loud noise will result in getting the dog more afraid. You should handle the situation by being calm.
- You can also take the help of professionals to tackle them if the situation is getting worse.
- You can take your dog to the veterinary doctor regularly for a veterinary exam. At the clinic the dog will meet unknown and strange people.
- If your dog shows aggressive behaviour when getting frightened then it is better to keep him away from such people that make him feel scared.
- You can keep your dog with you while opening the door when a stranger comes to your place, then by giving command to make the dog sit and stay there. After that introduce the dog to the strangers using your hand for making the dog shake hand and smell them so as to recognize them and be familiar with them.
Other than these approaches or methods there are a number of ways that can be used for coping up with the dog’s fear of strangers.