Reactive Dog Trainer Edinburgh – Solutions for Barking
Sound familiar? Your dog barks/lunges/growls at EVERY dog/bike/man/skateboard/insert your dog’s trigger here and you just can’t understand why? Read common causes below, but have you considered that your pooch is in pain?
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It’s Frustrating, no matter what you do your dog still loses his cool upon seeing that trigger. Your life is upside down as you try to walk your dog and avoid any and all chance that you see a trigger. When you got your dog, you did not dream of becoming an anti-social dog mum, living like a recluse to ensure your dog stays calm.
As you think back over the life you’ve had with your dog, you can not think of a single reason why your dog should be kicking off at dogs and yet it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The truth is there are many many reasons why your dog is reactive. But first of all, I need you to understand that when your dog reacts he isn’t being aggressive or misbehaving he is having an emotional response to what he has seen – that emotion could be fear, stress, frustration, excitement – and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
You always need to remember that they are FEELING something and you want to change that feeling as well as how your dog behaves.
Reactivity can happen because of a single traumatic event. Your dog’s brain stores traumatic memories in a way that makes them quicker to recall – so even one experience can be enough to create an ongoing reactive response.
Like the first time a dog visits the vet and they get jabbed with needles, that one visit can make them fearful of the vets for the rest of their life.
It can also happen if your dog has repeated negative experiences. Maybe they were fine after the first time another dog had a go at them, but when it happens two or three times more, they start to react to all dogs.
But there are other things you also need to think about.
Professional Reactive Dog Trainer
Pain is first on the list. When you are sore or uncomfortable, your behaviour changes right? You are more sensitive to other people or perhaps less tolerant or patient than usual? You might feel protective of yourself and not want to risk anyone brushing against the part of you that is sore. Your dog is no different!
So make sure you get your dog checked thoroughly for pain and illness, especially if you see a sudden change in them. Look at muscular-skeletal pain, gut pain and illness and remember that temporary pain or discomfort can influence your dog too.
Genetics are another factor. There are studies that show that fear of specific things can be passed down through several generations. Your dog might react to something because their mum or their grandparent did!
Of course, you can’t change this but knowing it can be reassuring especially when you think you must have done something wrong for your dog to be like this!
And sometimes you won’t be able to pinpoint a specific incident or cause. Your dog has been raised just like your previous dogs and none of them were over reactive. This can be frustrating for sure but don’t worry!
The good news is you don’t need to know the cause to be able to change your dog’s reaction. I can help you with my Reactive Dog to Calm Canine training Programme.
Sometimes, the reason for the behaviour is obvious and sometimes it’s not. But there is always a reason.
As you work towards changing your dog’s behaviour, you need to understand what their reactive behaviour gives them and find an alternative way to meet that need. Is it space? Is it a sense of safety? How else can you give them that?
There are three fundamental steps to changing behaviour.
First, manage the environment as much as you can so your dog feels safe and can be successful. Sometimes you can prevent unwanted behaviour completely, simply by changing the environment so that your dog finds it easier to do what you’d like them to instead.
Second, learn to recognise changes in your dog’s body language that indicate they are getting stressed. You can then support or encourage them to do behaviours that are alternative to reacting.
Third, reinforce and always support your dog when they are successful. This will make sure the new behaviours are more desirable to your dog than overreacting. The more success they have, the more likely they will choose these behaviours in the future.
If you need help and support with your reactive dog, Book a free call with me here.