My dog doesn't like strangers


 Your dog doesn’t like going to strangers! This is something that really pisses you off because your dog doesn't seem to really like contact! Shouldn't he love petting like any “good dog”? Is there a problem with him? And especially how to help him to like strangers?

My dog doesn't like strangers

The sociable animal dog

The sociable character of the good family dog is often put forward when we speak of a balanced dog. We say that an animal is sociable when it can organize itself socially with several individuals. In addition, the dog must be able to:

organize in a group of individuals in a sustainable way

that he can communicate without a problem

and that he can also collaborate with individuals without seeking conflict

It is therefore often natural to think and expect that the family dog is sociable with everyone. It’s more complicated than that! Here's what to know if your dog doesn't like to hang out with strangers.


The dog is not a pet clinic. Yes, he has the right to be introverted or to dislike receiving hugs or solicitations from other humans. Truth be told, he doesn't even have to like making contact with his master.

Every dog is different, but it's true that most dogs don't really like petting. They find his contacts very intrusive! On the other hand, dogs are very tolerant and this is also what makes them accept contact with close people.

No wonder, then, that many dogs don't like making contact with strangers. And at the same time, would you like strangers to hug you?

Now, your dog's behavior towards strangers will vary depending on a lot of things. Here are some ideas related to his behavior:

behavior varies depending on the individual himself. That is to say, he takes into account his experience but also his genetics

of the environment in which it is located at time T

of his emotional state

and if he is in good health.

Behavior can therefore be innate, acquired, conscious, unconscious, automatic, voluntary, or involuntary.

Learning and genetics

You will understand, a dog does not have to love humans naturally. It’s all about learning, but also genetics.

For example, we need to socialize the dog as early as possible (in the first weeks of life), so that he associates the human being with something positive and not dangerous. It is the duty of the breeder and the owners to continue this learning to avoid having a so-called reactive aggressive dog in the future.

Learning is also about protecting the dog from the puppy if it is not confident in humans. For example, you should not force a dog that does not want to say hello or does not want to be petted. This is the best way to get a dog who will be suspicious of humans afterward, and worse who might be afraid and aggressive if he feels cornered! It should also not be put in total immersion in a group of people, as can sometimes be offered by dog trainers or clubs, because the consequences will be the same as before. It is then important to know what the dog's appeasement signals are, so as not to be mistaken. You can help you recognize your dog's consent with this infographic.

Bad learning can be done in spite of ourselves, following a trauma experienced by the dog. A human who would have scared or hurt him. The dog will associate anyone with someone who is potentially dangerous. This is why it is important to have controlled and always positive dating.

Non-existent or poorly adapted learning can lead to this kind of behavior. Dogs leaving the pet store are often the case. Indeed, the first months of their life will not have been stimulated enough for him to be able to cope with the arrival of strangers. You can also find the same kind of behavior, in dogs coming out of French laboratories.

However, genetics can also guide certain behaviors, such as the hunting instinct, but also defense and mistrust of strangers. Some dog breeds, such as border collies or even Czech wolfdogs and patios, can be very suspicious of strangers, or people outside of their close family circle. It's sort of written in part in their genetic code. It may even be that a puppy, he seems to accept strangers, only to get really wary of them as he grows up.

How to help your dog

The first thing to help your dog is to never force contact with humans. This is a top priority if you don't want the dog feeling cornered to end up biting.

The second thing will be to make contact positive. For this, the dog must gain self-confidence in the face of the stranger. We can go through different exercises such as:

asking strangers to throw very palatable treats at your dog

outsiders or strangers can simply ignore the dog and go for a walk with you

at home, we can offer our guests to give treats or toss a toy to the dog to relax him

we can also ask people to walk the dog for us

To do this, you may need the help of a professional dog behaviorist educator. In all cases, the work will be done gradually. You can also give Bach flower supplements to help your dog.

The final word

If it is a behavioral problem that prevents him from living or walking quietly, then it is essential to get help from a dog-friendly professional.

You should also observe your dog know if this inability to accept strangers leads him to aggression.

Finally, don't worry. If your dog just doesn't like going out to strangers it isn't inevitable, it may be his personality. As long as it's not a phobia, then you can respect your dog's choice.