Training Tip Tuesday – Stranger Danger

Training Tip Tuesday – Stranger Danger

By: Kelly Erick

Stranger Danger happens. It’s ok that your dog doesn’t like everyone. I know I don’t like everyone I meet. The idea is to reduce the stress and not let your dog get over their threshold so it can be more easily managed.

Management of Reactivity to Humans

What is Stranger Danger? It is a fear towards unfamiliar people. It can cause your pup to run and hide or react aggressively.

How to help

  • Engage/Disengage: This is a technique where your dog is rewarded with a delicious, high value treat for looking at a trigger. This is the “engage” part. Over time, people become a cue for her to look at you for that reward. This is the “disengage” part.
  • Look At That (LAT): This is a technique that simply rewards your dog for looking at the person. She looks at a stranger and gets a treat – simple as that! Over time, we change her emotional response to people from something negative to something positive.
  • When in Doubt, Distract: Distractions can be helpful to get you out of a tricky situation. Sometimes when we are out for a walk, people can surprise us, or situations eliciting a fearful reaction are unavoidable. Bring some high value treats with you on your walks to have on hand!
Blog and graphic by Kelly Erick, one of Ruff Start Rescue’s volunteer trainers, who focus on supporting our fosters and helping create successful dogs.