Why Does My Dog Run Away From Strangers?

Why Does My Dog Run Away From Strangers?

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Sam Basso
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Why would a dog try to avoid being touched or approached by strangers (away from the dog’s territory)?

This generally boils down to two types of dogs.

Aloof Dog: Some dogs don’t care about anyone except their families. There are a number of breeds that aren’t very sociable with strangers. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. These types of dogs aren’t afraid. They avoid strangers, but they don’t go into flight. They might even go up and check out a stranger, but then walk away. These dogs typically don’t run away from strangers as adults, but they could prior to being adults. When strangers approach, there is no sign of a happy greeting. As puppies, some of these dogs are mistakenly diagnosed as being fearful. They aren’t. It is a good idea to read breed descriptions. You can find them at the American Kennel Club web page. You’ll be surprised how many dogs don’t like strangers and want nothing to do with them. You are foolish to get such a dog if you want the dog to like everyone. You are foolish to let strangers pet these dogs. You are foolish to not do your research.

Fearful Dog: Some dogs are afraid of people they don’t know. So, they go into flight when approached by strangers. Fearfulness can partly be inherited, partly be a result of a lack of socialization, and can be a result of bad experiences.

You can’t turn an aloof dog into a sociable dog. Forcing your attention on a Chow Chow will irritate the dog, and get you a warning bite. I never force myself on an aloof dog. If they warm up to me, great. If they don’t, I don’t invade their personal space. For fearful dogs, there are many things that can be done to help them be more sociable. However, if you force yourself on a fearful dog, they will feel cornered and bite you.

Whether you own an aloof or a fearful dog, you should have a plan for interactions with strangers. Hire a professional dog behaviorist for an evaluation. Then implement the proper procedures around strangers.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.

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