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Do You Have A Reactive Dog?

Learn how to treat a reactive dog effectively

There are behaviors of dogs that surprise their owners. They do not know how to treat them and what to do. To help you with that task, a trainer can give you the guidelines you need.

You go for a walk with your dog. You turn a corner and see another dog coming down the sidewalk. You hold your dog on the leash, and in a second your dog begins to bark uncontrollably. You feel embarrassed because everyone is looking at you.

You quickly scold and tug on your dog’s leash. He is silent for a moment, but as the other dog progresses, he begins with hysteria. You admonish your dog again and jerk him out of there. That situation leaves you with a very negative feeling. This type of dog is called a reactive dog.

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Reactivity

Being reactive is not the same as being aggressive. There are reactive dogs, which have never bitten or attacked anyone. They were hardly pinched if they ever did (nothing considering that even a small dog can cause serious injury).

Many owners think that their dog never bit anyone because they prevented it. Most of the time, it is not. If a dog wants to harm, it almost always does. They did not attack because their real intention was not to damage the other dog. On the other hand, some dogs are not reactive and instead, have aggressive behaviors. Finally, there are dogs that in addition to being receptive, bite.

There is a chance that a reactive dog will end up biting. To stop this behavior you can try these tips. If the problem does not improve, you should check with a professional.

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Is it over the top to be reactive?

Being reactive is an overreaction to an event or stimulus that causes an excessive response. It is a management of emotion, which surpasses us for its intensity. Faced with something beyond us, our body sets in motion adaptation mechanisms to the new situation.

Those mechanisms are perfect for survival, but sometimes our perception of the environment is wrong, and the activated response is excessive for the event. That excess energy is channeled through reactivity.

If we want to understand it better, we can imagine what people react evilly. It is not easy to generalize, just like dogs, each of us reacts to different things. Depending on the environment, the moment, or our emotional state, we respond differently. We could summarize in a high percentage, that our reaction appears, before something new, unexpected, that creates insecurity or fear.

It also appears frequently in the face of frustration, or in moments of emotion or stress. Regarding our reaction, we will be able to reflect on what happens to dogs at that time. We did not do it on purpose; When we screamed, we couldn’t help it.

A second thought is that it is reasonable to overreact. A third reflection would make us think about the direct relationship between our emotional state and the intensity of our reactions. When we’ve had a stressful day at work, we’ve screamed and argued more. Sometimes we are more threatening to others because everything they do is wrong.

On the other hand, when we are calm, the same things that irritate us do not matter. Finally, we clearly understand that we did not necessarily want to harm anyone in our short temper.
After this empathy exercise, we find it a little easier to find more effective “treatments” for reactivity.

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Watch out for the little ones.

The most reactive dogs are usually small dogs. They tend to have more stress and fear due to our interaction with them. They tend to be more protected and less independent, dogs with inadequate or incorrect socialization. More worries about the unknown, and almost everything worries them.

Traumatized dogs, who have suffered bad experiences, have conditioned their stimuli. Quickly, a dog that has been attacked by another reacts when it sees other dogs. Finally, dogs trained with punitive methods or working dogs accumulate more stress due to high demands. A dog on leads may associate that the presence of other dogs is dangerous and reacts to drive them away.

The best way to prevent a reactive dog from ending up being aggressive is to punish reactivity. Deep down, the problem is fear. We cannot eliminate doubt by adding more fear. Being reactive is the answer we have to



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