What to do if you have visitors who are afraid of dogs
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What to do if you have visitors who are afraid of dogs

As hard as it can be for the dog owner to believe, not everyone loves dogs as much as we do, and some people are very wary of them or even actively afraid of our canine companions. Even if we know that our own dog would never hurt a fly, this is often little reassurance to people who are fearful of dogs, and who would rather not come into contact with any dog at all regardless.

This can make things challenging if you have a guest or a visitor over who is nervous or afraid of your dog, to the point that they are uncomfortable if your dog approaches them, and this is a problem that you will have to find a way around if you intend to invite said person into your home!

In this article, we will look at some of the options available to you to when you have guests over who are fearful or nervous around your dog. Read on to learn more!

Keeping your dog away from your guest

The most obvious way to tackle the issue is to keep your dog away from your guest for the duration of their visit, and there are various different ways in which you can go about this.

Crating or closing your dog away

When you know your visitor is coming, crate your dog if they are crate trained, or close them into another room of the home. Give your dog plenty of things to do while they are closed up and a tasty treat to reassure them, and so that they do not feel as if they are being punished for something!

Your dog should be happy enough to be left for at least a couple of hours if they have something to entertain themselves with, and your guest can relax knowing that they do not need to come into contact with your dog.

Use a baby gate or barrier

If you have a baby gate or another type of barrier that you can place between rooms, you may be able to close your dog off from coming into physical contact with your guest, while still allowing your dog to see what is going on and not feel left out. It also allows you to keep an eye on your dog, and if your guest relaxes during their visit while they can see the dog, might mean that you can arrange a carefully supervised introduction later on!

Let your dog out

Assuming that you have an enclosed garden or yard that your dog is used to playing in or going out into to do their business, you can let them out to play for the afternoon in the garden. Give your dog plenty of toys and things to entertain themselves with, and of course, make sure that they have access to water, and can come in if the weather is getting nasty!

Don’t forget to check on your dog now and then to ensure that they are ok out there, and that they have not gotten into mischief!

Put your dog on a lead

Depending on how your guest feels about dogs over all, they might be willing to meet your dog and say hi to them, as long as the meeting can be controlled and your guest is able to feel safe. This does also depend on the temperament of your dog as well, of course!

Putting your dog on a lead allows you to retain some control over them and how close they get to your guest, and lets your dog and your guest say hello to each other safely and comfortably. Bear in mind that if your dog is apt to jump up, lick or bark, this may prove unnerving for your guest, and also, remember that many dogs get overly excited when faced with the lead, as it often means walkies!

Bringing your guest round to accepting your dog

While the occasional visit to your home does not present much of a problem in terms of there being lots of options on how to keep your dog restrained or out of the way, if your guest is likely to become a regular visitor, it is wise to try to encourage them to feel more at home with your dog, for the comfort of dog and guest alike.

Find out from your guest what it is that concerns them about dogs, and see what you can do to work on this with them; if they have previously been bitten or faced a bad experience with a dog, demonstrate to them how they can read your dog’s body language and learn to tell what they are thinking, and how to stay safe.

If your dog is personable, friendly and calm, you might be able to make great inroads into helping a reluctant guest to come round to the idea of dogs, but remember to work at your guest’s pace, and not push them into anything that they do not want to do!

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