Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reactive dog intro

I've been meaning to write more regularly. And you can see how that's been going, but it's a new year, and I had a great day talking to talented and committed folks at AllBreed Obedience in Woodbury about rescue dogs, which is exactly what I needed to energize me to "get on" this. Our focus today was really "reactive" dogs, which I'll get to more extensively in the upcoming weeks.

Suffice it to say that there is no pattern to reactive dogs. They can be overly assertive or rude, shy and overwhelmed, responding to long-standing issues resulting from experiences they had as a puppy.

Your first challenge, when deaing with reactive dogs, is trying to get to the bottom of it. So, watch your dog a bit. What triggers her to react negatively? Does she begin to pant when you pull out the vacuum cleaner? Does he become agitated when he encounters another dog on ther street?

Once you've identified the triggers, pay some attention to your dog's behavior. Do his haunches go up? Does he pant or salivate? Is she trying to make herself seem larger than she really is? Or does she get in fights? These are all clues that will help you understand how to deal with a reactive dog because, like football teams, not all reactions are created equally.

Once you can understand the triggers and recognize the behaviors, you can develop a plan for changing the pattern, which I'll talk about more soon. But now I'm off to deal with Bob, my boyfriend who is gloating because the Packers won.

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