Tips for a Reactive Dog

May 26, 2018

It is easy to label a dog and write them off or become frustrated with them when they show undesirable behavior. At Click Treat Play, we prefer not to label dogs. Instead, we will identify the specific behavior that needs work and the condition in which it is observed. At that point, we can begin to address it. When we hear someone say “My dog is aggressive towards other dogs,” we will dig deeper for the specific behavior. We may find that the dog in question barks at other dogs in the dog park or lunges at other dogs on walks. We may find that this occurs when another dog approaches on the sidewalk. The dogs in these examples are dogs that we can help.

Following an initial consult where we determine there are no health issues with the dog and we take a full history, we will create a specific training plan based on the identified behavior and situations observed. At the same time we will give the owners several tips to help immediately:

  • Don’t let her rehearse bad behavior
    • Avoid the dog park for now
    • Walk somewhere different
    • Walk at a different time when it is quieter
    • Drive to a less crowded place to walk her
  • Give him plenty of mental stimulation
    • Use games like “Find It” indoors or outdoors
  • Encourage relaxing behaviors
    • Go to a quiet park or far end of a parking lot at the grocery store or mall and just watch people from the side of your car. Reward for quiet
    • Sit in your driveway with your dog and watch people go by. Reward him for glancing at you or sitting quiet
  • Pay attention. We like to teach the dog to pay attention by making eye contact with you. This can then be rewarded in situations where he once may have barked or lunged but now he looks to you instead.

 

We will not guarantee fast results as all dogs and backgrounds are different. Some cases may need to be referred to a vet behaviorist, but many cases can be addressed with training and the management tips above.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at karen@clicktreatplay.com

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