Most puppies will enjoy meeting new people, and most people will enjoy meeting a puppy!
However, it’s important that your puppy is not overwhelmed, so ask people to crouch down to meet them. It’s much better for your puppy if they are able to approach a new person, rather than the other way round – this way you can be sure that they are feeling confident enough to meet somebody unfamiliar.
It’s tempting for people to pick up puppies and hug them, but it might frighten your puppy (especially if they are shy), so best avoided until you know that your puppy enjoys this sort of interaction.
If you live in a household without children, try and make sure that your puppy gets to meet a variety of sensible children of different ages
Observe your puppy constantly for signs of anxiety or being overwhelmed and, if things get too much, remove them from the situation or give your dog more space and freedom to approach. Remember young puppies tire easily, so keep encounters short with enough time in between for resting. During all encounters, protect your puppy from bad experiences.
Young puppies are inexperienced and get themselves into trouble easily, so think ahead and try to prevent any unpleasant events from occurring.
• Never pick up your puppy and pass them to someone or pull your puppy towards them. Puppies should always be able to make an approach in their own time and retreat if they want to.
• An anxious puppy will try to look smaller, avoid eye contact, hold their tail low, put their ears back and keep away. They may also lick their lips or yawn. Make sure you pay attention to these signs and take action as soon as possible, usually by taking your puppy away from whatever is causing them to be worried.
• A happy, relaxed puppy will stand up straight with their tail (or whole body) wagging and be keen to investigate
• Avoid using food when introducing your puppy to strangers as this may teach them that all people carry food on them, which is not ideal. You’ll want your puppy to approach people because they want to say hello politely, not to receive treats!