Reactivity in dogs is increasing. Some reactivity is normal, however, it seems to be standard behaviour for the majority of dogs these days. In my experience, the latest reason for this seems to be peer pressure by other dog owners, pressuring dog owners to put their dogs in situations their dogs are not comfortable with. Like shaming people for not walking their dogs. The other main reasons are that dogs’ needs are not being met and then, of course, dogs who were not taken to school during their critical socialisation period or they were taken to questionable schools and trainers.
The longer your dog lives with his defences up, the more the reactivity generalises to other situations and the worse the dogs’ responses become. Reactive dog owners’ anxiety also increases, their relationship with the dog takes the strain and their behaviour towards the dog also changes. Once this happens, the dog starts responding to that as well. It becomes a vicious cycle and neither the dog nor his/her owner is living their best lives together anymore.
The standard approach to reactivity is counter conditioning and desensitising the dog to his trigger/s. Sometimes medication is needed and is helpful. Having worked with many aggressive and reactive dogs, I have found that there are often many holes in this standard process that makes it difficult and frustrating for the dog and the owner, the owner gives up on the training and finds themselves back at square one, square one plus a bit more added frustration.
I have created a programme for owners with reactive dogs. This programme is meant to fill in those holes and make the journey of helping your reactive dog easier, smoother and kinder for both parties. The programme is part of Doggo Genius’ Home School division. During part 1 of the programme, we do not work with the dog’s triggers, we take a trigger break and we work on other skills, calming exercises, tolerance exercises, management, and coping techniques for both the dog and the owner.
My reactive dog and I is a purely force-free, modern science reward-based programme. It’s very important not to bring other methods into the therapy, because there will be fallout, resulting in the complete opposite of what we want to achieve. The good news is, that you are guided through the methods and techniques. The first part consists of two, two-hour, live webinars that include training exercises for you and your dog to do at home.
To start this journey with your dog, contact me at email@example.com for the next available starting date. I keep classes small so that each individual dog/human team receives the assistance they need.