Robin and I were at a new Home Dog Training client in Canton last Wednesday helping them with their Yorkie named Henry. We were called in to help them with basic obedience and Henry responded very quickly. Our clients understood what they needed to do and were excited about having an obedient dog. As we were finishing up and filling out the paperwork, our client remembered one more issue. He said that he believed that his Henry, his Yorkie, will be fine when friends come over, but he is not sure how Henry will respond when they have a plumber or electrician come to take care of a problem in the house. He wondered if he should keep him out and about so that he can become socialized to having the contractor around or should he put Henry away?
It is important to understand that the main thing that all dogs want more than anything else in the world. They want to feel that they are safe. As their leader; their teacher; their boss; it is your main job to assure that they always feel safe and secure all the time.
So what is happening when we have friends and family over? These are people that you obviously know and you have a rather good notion of how they are going to respond to your dog. If they have been over in the past, you also pretty sure how your dog will act around them. Are they good friends or “Oh, it’s you again”?
When you are answering the front door, you are showing your dog a relaxed, safe body language stance. Your dog can interpret this interaction and understand that you are in charge and that these “new animals” entering your house are OK to be there. Since your guests have already met your dog, they are already know how he will respond to them and will show a confident stance.
When you have visitors, you and they are normally together. Because of this, you can constantly reassure your dog that everything is OK. The bottom line is that when you have guests over, there is very little stress and “unknowables”. This equates to a calm situation that is visualized in your and your guests’ body language. Everything is fine.
Let’s switch the situation to when contractors come into your home. The reason the contractor is there is because something is broken and that already makes you a little stressed and nervous. When you meet them at the front door, you are not greeting a friend, but a stranger. As you are trying to assess this unknown individual, your body language communicates that we are not completely confident and you may have a little interpretation regarding this person. All of these things puts your dog “on alert”.
You also aren’t sure if the contractor likes dogs or if he is afraid of dogs.. They might have dogs and treat them badly. Your dog will pick up on all of these things through the contractor’s passive body language when they see each other. On the other hand, the contractor may love dogs and our dog might just want to play and bug him. All of this adds confusion to the situation.
To cut to the chase, put your dog away in a safe and secure place, away from the area the contractor will be working. This allows you to be in control of your dog’s perception of you and the contractor and will maintain your leadership and continuity of their safety. It also makes sure the contractor can work in peace and to get their job done as quickly as possible.
We always suggest that you stay with your dog while the contractor is there. Have him in your office with you or in the back yard playing with you. This means you can control his perception of your leadership while “other animals” are in the territory. You are always there to reassure your dot that “It is OK, I am here to keep you safe”.
Please feel free to contact Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We cover many dog training topics on our web site at Best Dog Trainers Canton Georgia. Get our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Canton Georgia.