Greetings: Meeting the Friendly Stranger

In a continuation of our greetings series, the following are positive dog training tips for greeting friendly strangers. For more greeting tips check out “Greetings: Mom! You’re Home!

There are a number of training methods you can employ with your clients, but the following are a few helpful guidelines to keep in mind.

1. Ensure your stranger is in fact friendly. Do they like dogs and want to engage with your dog? If not, don’t approach.

2. Ensure that your dog is interested in meeting friendly strangers. Dogs that are reserved and slowly warm up to new people aren’t the best candidates for meeting friendly strangers in public.

3. If you use food, decide whether you or your stranger will deliver your food. Again, reserved dogs shouldn’t be encouraged to take food from strangers’ hands. This can create some conflict (I want the food! But – I’m worried about the person!) that can be stressful for the dog

4. Whether you or the stranger is delivering the lure/reward food, be sure there is a clear criteria for when and how the food is delivered. Check back for specific methods to use in teaching greetings, if you need a few new ideas.

5. Be sure there is a clear decision as to who will do what if there is a failure of politeness – jumping, barking, lunging, or pawing, for example. One possibility is that the owner leaves with the dog, thereby removing the dog from the excitement (and reward) of the interaction with the friendly stranger. You might also have the stranger walk away.

6. If you are using food or a toy, keep the delivery low if jumping is a concern. For more on delivering the reward, read our blog post “Practical Skills: Improve Your Reward Delivery.”

Leave a Reply