Reactive Dogs - 5 things you should do when you discover you have one.
REACTIVE DOGS – 5 things to do when you discover you have a reactive dog
When you first discover that you have a reactive dog, you go through an initial period of disbelief, then blame and grief but when you get through the other side, we start to look for ways to help.
As an owner of several of these types of dogs, all with different reasons as to why they ended up like this, I have spent many hours a dog trainer sharing my ideas with my clients. Here are some of the ways I have found help and I am keen to share them with you:
1. Acceptance – hard to do but very necessary so that you can help your dog. Once you have accepted that you have to change things to move forward, a lot of stress disappears. I know you always wanted to see your pup running free off lead in the park and woods, but if they really don’t want that, then it is up to us to protect them by finding other things they do like to do.
2. Planning – so necessary before you go for the walk. Checking on the time to avoid the school run, if its people your dog really cannot cope with, for example. Avoiding the same dogs at the park everyday if they won’t stop the pestering – same applies to the owners who ignore your requests to keep their dogs away. And then there’s planning your route – how many of us must know all the escape routes when you arrive to walks your dog.
3. Training – get some help from a trainer who understands not just reactive dogs, but your breed. My Gsd’s will react in a different way to some other dogs – and although there may be many things you can do no matter what the type of dog you have, if you are working with someone who understands the pain and often embarrassment when your dog kicks off, it does help. Working from our base in Old Idsworth, we welcome dog owners of all the working breeds who come from a wide area including, Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire and have our own secure centre for people to start the process safely.
4. Consistency – Once you have some training ideas, then it is up to you to stick to them and practice regularly. Remember every time, your dog reacts, they are repeating what has worked before. Therefore, to help your dog stop doing this, we need to continue to show them better ways to cope and let these new ways become a habit.
5. Enjoy the dog you have – Sadly we only have our dogs for such a short time, so everyday is precious. It is so important to enjoy being with them and find fun things to do with them. If your thing is to see them run free off lead, then do what we did for nearly 3 years, rent a secure field for you both to enjoy. Barney and Skye spent many a happy hour visiting one of these fields every day – and Barney still does although he now has his own field to play in with Buddy. I found lots of things to do with Skye, and she was a great dog in helping other struggling dogs learn their way around. We were always careful with her, but she had a great life and bless her, when her time came, we knew we had done right by her. Don’t waste a second wishing they weren’t like they are – help them but enjoy the dog you have.
At our training centre, we always see our clients on a 121 basis to begin with so we can assess what is best for them. We also have a chance to meet you and find out what you have found out about your dog. Our reactive dogs are struggling, there are more and more things for them to cope with – if we can help, then get in touch soon.