What Is A Reactive Dog?

Do You Have A Reactive Dog?

“I’m afraid my dog is going to kill another dog,” Pamela said. She was sitting across from me talking about her dog Zeus. Zeus is a friendly, big, beautiful Rottweiler and as I looked back at Pamela, she teared up and added, “I love this big oaf but I don’t know if I can keep him.”

Zeus has a common problem faced by many dog owners. Zeus loses his mind when he sees another dog. Pamela told me how she can barely hold him back if they encounter another dog. Zeus barks and lunges so hard he pulls her off her feet and she has been banged up more than once.

“Do you think you can help? You really are my last hope,” she said.

Feeling like Obi Wan Kenobi I said, “Pamela, you are in luck. I specialize in dogs with reactive behavior and we will have him calm around other dogs in no time.”

And then something incredible happened. Something so unbelievable I still shudder to share it with you. You know what happened? You’re not going to believe this but… she doubted me.

Can you imagine doubting a highly skilled, professional pet dog trainer with years of experience and results. You’d think I would be offended but I wasn’t. In fact, I don’t blame her in the least.

Reactive behavior is described as barking, lunging, growling, or acting aggressively towards other dogs or people. It is HIGHLY stressful for the dog owner and it can seem IMPOSSIBLE to help a dog with this problem.

Reactive dog classes have become very popular and I must be honest with you, most of them are useless because they think all you need are treats to overcome this behavior problem. Harsh words I know, but I take this seriously and don’t suffer fools gladly.

And there is a lot of foolish advice about reactive behavior. Advice where the dog pays the price because if I can’t help Zeus he is on his way to a shelter. Not on my watch. I’m not going to screw around with wishing all I had to do was throw treats at the dog. I’m going to help keep the dog in his home.

There is a shelter in my area that holds reactive dog classes. They set up barriers for the dogs to work behind so they won’t see each other. They throw buckets of treats at the dogs in the hope of counter-conditioning. They use fake dogs, actual stuffed animals, to deal with the behavior. And they never, ever want the dog to go “over threshold.” (Over threshold is never allowing the behavior to be triggered.)

But bags of treats and fake dogs won’t help. I am more concerned with helping dogs than dancing around the problem. And if you are not willing to roll up your sleeves and dig into the problem and HELP THE DOG AND OWNER, step away from the training room.

So, I do NOT have special, separate classes for reactive dogs. I meet with the dog and client and get the problem taken care of in one or two sessions.

Once the private sessions are completed it’s straight to group class to continue working around dogs and create some long term behaviors. And if you are skeptical, I have dozens of before and after videos of dogs with reactive behavior. You can also get a FREE behavior consult with me by filling out the form on the top right of this page. Or give us a call at 774-319-6351.

And by the way, Zeus is doing great and is fine around other dogs now.