Reactivity A Different Approach

Dog Reactivity is a growing problem in our pet dogs and it is not an easy behavior fix, especially if the reactivity has been going on for a while. The first step to treating your dog’s reactivity is understanding how it started in the first place.

Causes for reactivity:

Fear is probably one of the leading causes of Reactivity and because Fear is a primal response, trying to expose the dog to the things that make him or her react in the hopes of “showing your dog” that there is nothing to be afraid of, you are really only proving to the dog that the fear is REAL and that interactions with you are definitely tied to the fearful thing that is making your dog reactive and every reaction will only further entrench the fear therefor increasing the reactivity.

Exposure and Punishment training does not work and will often escalate reactivity to aggression.

Lack of Confidence - When a dog feels that they do not have the ability to choose who they socialize with, who pets them and things are completely out of their control, they learn that barking and lunging will keep everything away from them and it is a very effective strategy.

Exposure and Punishment training does not work and will often shut these dogs down and cause a bite to happen.

But the dog will give no warning, because all warnings have led to a correction.

Pain is another cause for Reactivity that is often overlooked.

A chronically strained muscle, arthritis, full anal sacs, an ear infection, a sore neck, the list goes on and on and often times a regular visit to your veterinarian is not going to diagnose the problem, instead your dog needs to have an appointment with a Sports Medicine Veterinarian that is specifically trained to diagnose soft tissue ailments and treat them.

Treatment is the first step, but you will still have residual behaviors to work through with your dog, because your dog has come to believe that people and/or other dogs approaching him or her is going to cause them pain.

Once the underlying issue has been addressed and treated, then there is a very good chance of your dog rebounding to a non reactive state with proper training.

Adrenaline Sensitivity is also a cause for reactivity.

Dogs that are super sensitive to cortisol are very sensitive to environmental triggers, including handler energy.

These dogs can be Rock Stars of Behavior one moment and then a barking, lunging wild animal the next.

Exposure Training and Punishment will only escalate the reactivity.

Adrenaline Junkies are dogs that are always looking for the next high, they have an inability to settle and often bark and lunge as a means to a cortisol high.

These reactive dogs are high energy and will appear to never tire out.

Trying to tire our an Adrenaline Junky with high adrenaline activity will only increase reactivity and Punishment will most likely result in biting.

Over Exuberant dogs may love everyone and everything, but they tend to be insatiable and when they don’t get their way they will become reactive, barking and lunging at the person, place or thing they want.

These reactive dogs often wear their handlers down and they are often rewarded for their insatiability because it shuts them up for a little while.

These dogs are often the cause of dog fights because they lack proper dog socialization skills and they pester and bully other dogs and humans.

Punishment will often turn the insatiability into aggression, because these dogs have a one track mind, Getting what they want.

Given that Reactivity can have very different origins, it does require specialized training, and our Reactivity, A Different Approach is a proven method for changing your relationship with your dog in order to help alleviate the reasons for reactivity and we will show you how to deal with it effectively.