Spreading the Love

If your dog only feels safe with you, it’s a significant additional burden as you can’t leave them with anyone else. My SA dog, Stevie, was like that. I feel your pain!

If you haven’t experienced this, it is hard to imagine how physically and emotionally draining it is – planning, juggling care of your dog with work and other commitments and not being able to leave your dog with anyone else…………..

Some advice if you’re starting your training journey and your dog is hyper-attached to you:

Alongside starting desensitization training, help your dog feel safe and comfortable with someone else – and then after a while with a couple more people. This increases their confidence, if done gradually and at the dog’s pace.

It will also relieve you of some of the burden of caring for a SA dog, and that is a very important aspect!


We call this Spreading the Love and it’s well worth investing a bit of time and care in. Here are a few tips:

  • Find someone who will be available regularly. It’s no use having someone who comes a couple of times only.
  • The key to gaining a dog’s trust is understanding their communication and responding appropriately. So, ideally, your dog’s new friend should be willing to learn the basics of canine body language.

a) This will help them know when your dog is feeling comfortable or not and when they need more distance.

b) They can use soft body language themselves. This includes not approaching your dog frontally but standing slightly sideways, not staring at them, sitting down if your dog feels safer that way etc.

  • They should never lure your dog to them with treats. The dog will feel conflicted and insecure.
  • Let the dog approach them in their own time and without feeling they’re going to be touched or stroked. Ask the person to keep their hands to themselves, including not offering their hand to be sniffed (a common mistake!)
  • Rather than have a stranger come in to your home, your dog may feel more comfortable at first meeting the new person on a short walk and going in together.

I have further practical tips in my Starter Kit, including masses of picture material on canine body language and how to use enrichment in this scenario.

The Starter Kit gives you masses of value, the comprehensive information you’ll need before you start desensitization training.

Click here to get the Starter Kit now