Working with Reactivity

A common issue facing many dog owners today is what is known as Reactivity. Reactivity often consists of lunging, barking, growling, snapping, or snarling in the presence of certain stimuli. The stimuli can be anything: another dog, a stranger, loud noises, bicycles, etc. While this behavior can seem baffling and frustrating to the owner, to a dog it makes complete sense: something is scaring or upsetting them, and they are trying to make that thing go away.

Reactivity typically stems from fearfulness and insecurity, in order to solve the behavior the underlying causes must be treated. The best way to remedy reactivity is not simply treat the symptoms (i.e. just stop the barking); you must give the dog alternate coping mechanisms and encourage the dog's independence and confidence through specific training. Having a trainer who is experienced in behavior and treatment protocols for reactivity is what can make the difference between simply enduring life with your reactive dog, and enjoying time spent with your pup.

How Can Day Training Help?

Having a reactive dog can be stressful, embarrassing, and frustrating. Your dog can read these emotions and usually winds up thinking something like this:

"Aha, my owner is also upset by other dogs approaching us, I knew they were dangerous! Now I have to work even harder to make these dogs go away! Bark Bark BARK!"

The owner's emotional state feeds into the dog's reactivity and causes a never-ending loop that intensifies the problem indefinitely.

With Day Training, since the trainer is doing all the work, we can completely remove that emotional feedback loop. Thus the trainer can work on increasing the dog's tolerance of their triggers, without adding additional stress. This means that the training can progress faster.

Caspian at the Koi pond
Then once the trainer has taught the dog alternate coping skills (i.e. Look at handler instead of barking at other dogs) we can transfer these skills to the owner. Often once the owner realizes that their dog is now calm, they begin to relax as well. When we train the dog to calm down, we remove the owner's source of stress. With both owner and dog calmer, activities that used to be stressful can now become a source of enjoyment.

At K to 9 Dog Training our trainer is committed to improving the lives of reactive dogs and their owners. We understand that living with a reactive dog can make everyday activities more demanding: taking a walk can become a nerve-wracking journey; having guests over for dinner can become an unending string of traumatic interactions. Our goal is to teach you and your dog the skills required to enjoy life together again.

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