What is Reactivity?

The term “Reactive Dog” is used to describe dogs who overreact at a certain stimulus in the environment. Dogs reaction to these stimuli can involve; barking, lunging, growling, snapping, whining.

Dogs are reactive because they are in a position that they can’t leave, so are left with no other choice. Your dog reacting does not mean your dog is aggressive or dominant. Dogs react for many reasons some being fear, excitement, over arousal, anxiety, frustration.

Common things which can trigger reactivity…

  • People
  • Joggers
  • Cyclists
  • Cars
  • Other dogs

What to do when your dog reacts?

R- Retreat; retreat to a safe distance. Ideally a distance where your dog can remain calm.

E- Evaluate; evaluate your current situation. What is surrounding you/ what can you change.

A- Adjust; adjust your plan or course of action. Set your dog up for success.

C- Capture; capture and reward all calm desirable behaviour.

T- Treat; treat, treat, treat!!!

What if I am not prepared and my dog reacts?

Interrupt the unwanted behaviour and redirect your dog to a safer distance or something that will take his/her attention away from the trigger.

Ask for some basic simple behaviours that your dog knows, sit or paw and reward.

What if my dog is reacting to moving objects i.e. cars?

  • Tip for training with dogs who react to cars along streets.
  • Start training focus around stationary cars, for example in a carpark.
  • Then begin training in a quiet estate and gradually build up to busier streets.

Training Tip:

  • Use high value treats; chicken, ham, hotdog!
  • Use an appropriate kind harness; front or side clip harness.

Be patient and always end your training sessions on a high. If you or your dog is becoming stressed take a break.

We offer a 4 Week Training Course for Reactive Dogs, see here!

We also run human seminars, see here!

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