What is a Reactive dog?
A Reactive dog is one who exhibits an excessive response to various “normal” environmental stimuli. Their reactivity can involve multiple stimuli or be singular. The Reactivity also has different levels and intensities. The reactions can be brief or last for quite a while.
What type of dogs are reactive?
In general, most reactive dogs are high anxiety and high energy. They are also usually, dogs that aren’t confident. Breeds that exhibit these traits are very often reactive dogs. German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Belgian Malinois, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds are some of the more common ones. The breeds that are usually more apt to have aggressive tendencies, also are more likely to react in an aggressive manner.
What behaviors are considered reactive?
Barking, growling, lunging at people or other animals, biting, trying to run away, hiding and trembling are among the most common. If someone rings your doorbell and your dog starts barking and won’t stop on command and continues to run around and bark, that is a reactive behavior. It was an excessive response to a normal everyday occurrence. If you’re walking your dog on a leash, or they are in their yard and bark, growl, lunge and snap at any person or other animal that approaches, that is reactive. If they start those behaviors when the perceived threat is 200 feet away, they are at a higher level of reactivity than a dog who is ok until the perceived threat is 20 feet away. If your dog growls and runs away to hide when they hear a loud noise that’s reactive.
How do you deal with Reactive behaviors?
Correct and Redirect! Those two things are key, and in that order. The correction needs to happen immediately ! When the dogs even thinks about reacting you make the correction and redirect his attention to something else, and give him a job to do. This involves considerable commitment, consistency and persistence on your part. Reactive behaviors take time to extinguish. The worse they are and the longer they’ve been present, the more time it’s going to take. Correcting Reactivity is a process, the rules, boundaries and guidelines that you establish to correct the behavior, will need to remain in place all the time. It is not a fix and forget journey.
If you want help with making you Reactive dog relaxed and confident in their life, please contact me to schedule an evaluation and lessons.