There are a lot of dogs out there that do not react kindly to strangers. Often we make the joke that “My dog is racist” or “He doesn’t like _____ people”. While sometimes the statement is made as a way of adding humor to a nerve racking situation or condition, the fact remains that your dog is not racist.
Dogs often bark, lunge, hide from things that visually don’t make sense to them. Example – a person walking into your home wearing a tool belt can visually confuse a dog and cause a reaction based out of fear. The dog in this particular example was most likely never abused by someone wearing a tool belt, but the truth is that they were probably never taught how to deal with things they don’t understand or haven’t been exposed to. The same is the case for someone of a different race or ethnicity; they just look different to your dog, that’s all.
Dogs react differently to sights, sounds, and smells. With proper socialization, leadership, behavior marking, genetics, and structure, there is often no problem when crossing paths with a person or object that doesn’t make sense to them.
But let’s say your adult dog is already having issues controlling themselves around strangers or odd looking objects, here are some things to consider.