Why Is My Pet Good With Some People and Not With Others?
Dogs and cats have a very strong sense of personal space and can sometimes interpret your guests as a threat to their territory. Because dogs (and to some extent, cats) are always reading the vibe in the room, they're watching for behaviors that seem (to them) different and unpredictable. The sudden movements of children playing or a worker using loud equipment can trigger defensive behaviors such as:
• Loud barking: "I don't want you in my space!"
• Growling: "I'm Warning You!"
• Showing the whites of the eyes: "Watch out!"
If you have a rescue pet or if you don't know your dog or cat's history, there might be something in their past that is still an issue for them now. It could be a facial tic, a guest wearing a hat or, particularly with dogs, a loud male voice. Dogs and cats favor high female voices and a man's deep tenor might just set them off.
The scent of a stranger
Pets have a highly evolved sense of smell and will pick up scents on people that we can't. Unfortunately, some smells have a negative association.
Happily, there are things you can do to help your pet become a friendly furry friend. Before a new visitor arrives:
1. Keep your pet in another room and introduce them slowly to the unfamiliar guest.
2. Arm your new guest with treats for your cat or dog.
3. Train your dog to sit on command when a visitor arrives.
With love, patience and a few training sessions, your pet can become the Helpful House Greeter for all your guests!