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Tips on minimising your dogs reactivity

Tips on minimising your dogs reactivity


Reactive dogs can be a challenge to live with, but with the right management, training, and understanding, they can still lead happy, fulfilling lives. Reactive behavior in dogs can take many forms, such as barking, lunging, or growling, and can be triggered by a variety of stimuli, such as other dogs, people, or even sounds. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for managing and training reactive dogs.


Understand the Root Cause of Reactive Behaviour

Reactive behaviour in dogs can be caused by various factors, such as fear, anxiety, lack of socialization, or past traumatic experiences. It is essential to understand the root cause of your dog’s reactivity to address it effectively. You can consult a professional dog behaviourist to help you identify the cause and create a customized training plan.

Manage Your Dog’s Environment

Managing your dog’s environment is crucial to preventing reactive behavior. You can use tools like a leash, muzzle, or baby gate to keep your dog away from triggers or limit their exposure to them. Additionally, you can create a calm and safe space for your dog by providing a comfortable bed, toys, and treats.

Use Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training is a powerful tool for modifying your dog’s behavior. Reward your dog with treats, praise, or playtime when they display calm and non-reactive behavior. Over time, your dog will associate positive experiences with the presence of triggers, reducing their reactivity.

Practice Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Desensitization and counterconditioning are techniques used to change your dog’s emotional response to triggers. Start by exposing your dog to a low-intensity version of the trigger, such as a distant dog, and reward them for remaining calm. Gradually increase the intensity of the trigger and reward your dog for their calm behaviour. Over time, your dog will learn to associate triggers with positive experiences, reducing their reactivity.

Stay Calm and Patient

Dealing with a reactive dog can be stressful and frustrating, but it is essential to stay calm and patient. Dogs can sense your emotions and may become more reactive if they sense your anxiety or frustration. Take breaks when you need to, and don’t push your dog too hard too quickly.

Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling with managing or training your reactive dog, it’s essential to seek professional help. A certified dog behaviourist can work with you to create a personalized training plan and provide ongoing support and guidance.


In conclusion, managing and training a reactive dog can be challenging, but it is possible with patience, consistency, and the right approach. Understanding the root cause of your dog’s reactivity, managing their environment, using positive reinforcement training, practicing desensitization and counterconditioning, staying calm and patient, and seeking professional help are all essential steps in helping your reactive dog become more calm and confident. Remember that every dog is different, and progress may be slow, but with time and effort, your reactive dog can lead a happy, fulfilling life.

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