Is Your Dog A Reactive Nightmare? Rescue dog hyper sensiitive around others? Triggered by a seemingly endless variety of noises and humans? Trust me, I know how you feel as the owner of a former reactive dog.
I wrote a rescue dog training book about my journey – the pain, embarrassment, stress of walking and owning a reactive dog. The life you dreamed of when you decided to get a dog has disappeared and now you’re left praying that you make it through each walk without an incident.
- Would you like to understand why your dog is reactive?
- The possible causes behind their behaviour?
- Understand that you aren’t alone in how you feel?
Click here for your Free Dog Training access: How to understand the reasoning behind reactive barking behaviour from your dog. Owner lessons and homework is included. Practice along with my tuition!
Free Video Lessons – 6 Week Course to Train Your Reactive Doggy
– Reaction or Over-Reaction
– What causes Reactivity
– Behaviour is always happening
– Both ends of the Lead
– Why Reactivity is Hard for Us.
– Notes included.
– Lifetime Access
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How Can Human Training Help My Reactive, Barking Dog?
Well thats not a straight forward answer… let me explain. To help your reactive dog overcome his reactivity you need to understand it… these are the things you need to think about.
You need to figure out exactly what triggers your dog – You say dogs, but is it ALL dogs, or just the small yappy ones, is just black dogs or flat faced dogs… try to get into specifics.
Exactly describe to me what your dog does/says when reacting? Is it a growl, bark and/or lunge?
What precedes before your dog growls, does his body get tense, do his ears prick up? Is it a skateboarder, a hairdrier, a plastic bag, a doorbell, a friend in the street?
…. rarely does a dog launch straight into a bark, so what does he do just before it?
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What is the emotion behind the reactivity…. Is your dog reacting out of fear, anxiety, frustration, excitement?
Then we need to look at other aspects of your dogs life, how do the walk on lead, what do they eat, do they get enough sleep, do get enough exercise and so on.
Now you need think about what you’d rather your dog did instead, simply teaching your dog not to do something won’t work in the long term you need to give your dog something he can do instead.
Would you rather he greeted dogs calmly instead of bouncing around? would you rather he could ignore dogs or strangers?
With behaviour problems like reactivity we have to rule of possible pain and discomfort as undiagnosed pain can be the cause of behaviour issues.
Your dogs age will influence training outcomes, if your dog is 12 and have been reactivity all their life then you may never fully undo the unwanted behaviour instead you maybe able to manage it.
Where as if your dog is 2, the chances are better that you can undo the unwanted behaviour.
When there is the approach to think about – how are you going to train?
ALWAYS the answer is ALWAYS REWARD BASED TRAINING. This has been proven by science to be long lasting, kind and effective. Built around rewarding your dog for doing the behaviours you like, in the world according to dog what gets rewarded gets repeated.
Balanced training, Dominance training, any training that involves shouting at the dog, getting physical, using E-collars/prong collars etc may work but the training Never lasts. These methods suppress the dogs behaviour and the dog is only reacting as an emotional response. If you suppress it and keep suppressing then one day the dam will break and the behaviour will reappear worse than before. Also Dominance/alpha theory training was debunked in the 1960’s.
Training will definitely help if you can be detailed in your approach to assessing your dogs reactivity. I highly recommend training for reactive dogs, as it not only helps with their reactivity but a great side effect is the connection, focus and trust you and dog build together.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE
A common question is how long will it take for my dog to stop overreacting? As with many things, the answer is, “it depends.”
Individual genetics, breed characteristics, and your dog’s personal history all have an influence on your dog’s behaviour as does the length of time they have been overreacting.
If your dog has been reacting to their triggers for months or even years, expecting an overnight change is unrealistic. Healthy, long-lasting behaviour change usually takes time, so having attainable goals is important.
Other key factors in determining how long things will take include how effectively you are able to manage your dog’s exposure to triggers, whether you can address other issues such as pain or illness and how frequently you practise alternative behaviours.
Remember it’s not always possible to remove over-reactivity completely. Sometimes there are factors beyond your control and it’s important to celebrate your dog and your successes as a team along the way.
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There may not be an exact answer as to how long it might take to see progress, but your dedication will make a huge difference to your dog. When you manage your dog’s environment, give them plenty of chances to practice desirable behaviours and allow them the time and space they need, you will see progress sooner rather than later.
CLICK HERE to access my FREE course Understand Your Reactive Dog