Do you have a reactive dog

Do you have a reactive dog


Until recently, I haven't really been aware of the difficulties of living with reactive dogs. I knew of the concept and obviously had great sympathy for owners dealing with their reactive dogs but had no real insight into what it means.

Enter Rosie! Our 7 year old rescue Labrador. We don't really know what her life has been like but it hasn't been good and it has left her with anxiety and several behaviour issues. She is unsure of other dogs and reacts by lunging and barking at them. She also does this randomly with humans too. Sometimes she is fine and other times she cannot cope.

This behaviour has emerged as she has become

more confident in our household and confident she can show us her real self. Great in one way as it means she trusts us, but it also means we need to try and help her manage this anxiety.

We were out of our depth. There are a million people claiming to be experts on social media platforms telling you what you should do in certain situations, all are completely confident in what they say and totally conflicting with each other. We knew we needed help we could trust.

Donna our guardian angel Dog behaviourist has helped us to understand why Rosie does the things she does and how we help her to cope and make better choices for herself. Donna belongs to APBC and ABTC She is a clinical animal behaviourist. She only uses kindness in her training methods, Clicker and reward based training. (oh and clickers aren't a tool to get your dogs attention! I have seen one particular social media trainer doing this and its the complete opposite of what they are created for!) There is no one size fits all method which is why it is essential to find the right trainer for you. ABTC registered practitioners have undergone rigorous training and adhere to a strict code of conduct. They use science led, compassionate and non punative methods. They believe there is NO place for positive punishment or the creation of fear and anxiety in animal training. This kind method was definitely the way we wanted to go with training our already traumatised dog.

ABTC website here

There is no quick fix for a reactive dog, it takes a lot of patience, love and understanding to help a dog cope in situations that are stressful for them. Showing dogs 'cured' after one session on social media is unrealistic and misleading. It can make owners feel they are failing when the reality is very different. Proper training takes time but it is effective if you stick with it. High five to all reactive dog owners out there!

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