Is your dog anxious around new people? Try this simple tip from an expert trainer

Nervous dog hiding behind boys legs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Is your canine companion nervous around new people? If so, you may be wondering how best to deal with it. 

Anxiety in dogs is more common than you might think and while it has many triggers, being around strangers is top of the list for a lot of pups.

While some pet parents have to learn how to calm a reactive dog whose nervousness may manifest as barking or lunging, others may have the opposite problem and be dealing with a dog that shrinks back, drools, or pants excessively.

Thankfully, expert trainer Adam Spivey, who is also the founder of Southend Dog Training, has come to the rescue with a handy Instagram video in which he reveals how we as pet parents can advocate for our nervous pups.

Check out the video in full below or keep reading for a summary of his genius solution...

In the clip, Spivey can be seen in a real life training situation with a dog who is particularly nervous of men.

"It's up to you to advocate for him," Spivey explains to the dog's owner, "because if you don't, he does.

"We're too nice to people. What we actually do is put our dog's in situations they can't handle so they overreact because we're worried about telling the person no."

Spivey says the solution to this is simple: If you have a dog that's nervous around strangers and someone they don't know approaches them, you want to step in front of your dog and act as a barrier.

When Spivey brings a stranger in to approach the dog in the video, he acts this out, placing the dog behind him and explaining to the man that the dog is nervous of strangers.

After doing this, the dog suddenly relaxes and lies down with Spivey remaining in front of him. 

If you have a nervous, anxious, or fearful dog, learning how to advocate for them is key.

Not only will doing this reduce the risk of them becoming overly stressed, it will also build trust between you and your dog and strengthen your relationship as they'll come to learn that you always have their back.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.