Some pets love everybody. They live for cuddles and playtime and adore the company of people. But this isn’t true of all cats and dogs. Some cats dart into the next room when company comes over and some dogs avoid guests like the plague. So what can you do about it? Here’s our guide to introducing your shy pet to new people!
Winning Over a Demure Dog
Dogs are man’s best friend! You expect them to jump into everyone’s lap and shower them with kisses, right? It’s this high expectation for dogs that makes it extra frustrating when your beloved pooch shows a new person nothing but fear. But that’s okay. Not every dog is born knowing how to be everyone’s best friend.
First warn your guest ahead of time that you have a skittish dog. Clue them in regarding your pup’s behavior and how to best approach your dog so that they’ll soon be best friends. Then when your guests arrive, you can coach them through the meeting.
We recommend your dog and friends first meet on neutral territory. Your home or anywhere else the dog considers “theirs” isn’t ideal. If possible, you might want to consider all going on a walk together.
Tell your friend to use a calm low voice and take things slowly. They should give your pup plenty of space and gradually decrease the amount of space between them. Your friend should let your pup approach them, not vice versa, and it never hurts to bribe a dog with a yummy treat! Once contact is made, a gentle pat on the side, not their head, assures your pooch that your friend is not a foe.
Making Friends With a Coy Cat
Cats tend to be pickier about their friends, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your feline bonding with new people. The rules are a little different when it comes to gaining a shy cat’s trust. This has to do with the setting where a new person might meet your cat, as well as the fact that cats are very different from dogs.
One similarity between skittish cats and dogs is that new people need to let both animals come to them. They should let both species make the first move. That’s where the similarities end though.
Your friend should try to get to your cat’s level, which will probably be on the floor. Your guest shouldn’t even look at your cat. When your kitty wanders over to see who the new person is, your friend can offer your cat their finger to sniff. Hopefully your cat will encourage your guest to rub the kitty’s chin.