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"My dog dislikes my partner/friend/family.. Help!"

"My dog dislikes my partner/friend/family.. Help!"

Chihuahua mix sitting in the stairway, looking straight at the camera.

It’s tough dealing with a situation where your little one is generally social and friendly with most. But yet, for one reason or another, your dog just doesn't seem to be too fond of someone close to you and you're now left having to manage that situation each time they're together.

Here's what you can do to both prevent and manage unwanted/negative situations with them:

Tip #1 - If most of the issues happen at your home..

If most of the issues happen at your home, as that seems to be where your dog reacts the most (this is common), you can try first meeting outside and going for a nice, pressure-free walk. You can take this a step further by doing an activity your dog is sure to enjoy with you and the other person nearby, before coming indoors. When I first met Lilo she really wasn't too into me, as it's the case with most new people. 😔 But one day she and I went on a super long and fun walk together that changed things for the better from that point on.

Tip #2 - When the person coming to your home arrives..

When the person coming over to your home arrives, ask them to wait by the entrance of your home after they stepped in, instead of just walking directly in. However, the success of this can depend on just how your dog feels and reacts to this person in particular (the more challenging scenarios will encourage you to use a leash to guide your dog to take space first). But the idea is that you want your dog to be able to take his/her time to sniff, assess, think and walk away before anyone comes in. Letting your dog do this will help them feel more comfortable with the following interactions, even if they've already met before."

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” —Hal Borland

Tip #3 - This one will sound familar..

This one will sound familiar to other advice you'll see me recommend but it's for good reason.. provide enrichment to your dog daily, ESPECIALLY when people are coming over! There's really nothing better than a dog who associates people and social interactions with relaxation and the feeling of calmness above all. Having a tired/mellow little pooch can also help them slow down, think and as a result make better choices that you're both happy with!

Pro Tip! Do your best to avoid this:

A common mistake a lot of pet parents (and even trainers) make, is they try to use food as a way to encourage or ease a dog's introduction to someone or a situation they may find unpleasant. This is something that may work with certain dogs, however, food or treats, in general, don't have the capability of truly forming the idea of actual comfort and safety inside your dog's heart and mind. Food can certainly help your dog go into a situation in a more positive mindset as a result, but to ensure that things remain optimistic, you will want to focus on forming a bond instead. This requires time, patience and experience. Your dog will be the one to let you know once he/she feels comfortable and safe, and that's when it's truly helpful to bring out food to reward the progress and efforts that helped your dog get to that point.

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