How to Handle Life With a Reactive Dog

You know your dog is a total sweetheart — but does everyone else? For some dogs, being highly reactive is a part of their nature. Others, especially those rescued from bad circumstances, reactivity is something they learn over time.

Fortunately, no matter where your dog picked up their reactive behavior, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate their actions.

Do you need help getting control of your furry friend’s behavior but aren’t sure where to start? We’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about how to live with a reactive dog.

What Is a Reactive Dog?

If you find yourself wondering, “what is a reactive dog?” Then odds are, you have one. A reactive dog is exactly what it sounds like, a dog that has extreme or even dangerous reactions to seemingly everyday situations.

For example, if your dog begins aggressively barking at or growling at a strange yelling at you on the street — that’s not reactive. But, if your generally friendly pooch begins barking at or even lunging at another person minding their own business on the other side of the street — that is reactive.

Generally, reactive dogs behave the way they do as a fear response, not because they’re mean. And, there are plenty of things you can do to teach your dog to manage that fear, which in turn will decrease their reactivity.

Start With Training

Training a reactive dog is key to tamping down their behavior. While there are plenty of resources out there to help you train your canine companion on your own time, sometimes the best way to train a reactive dog is through exposure.

Ask your vet or do some research in your area for dog training facilities. A professional trainer will have the knowledge and tools you need to help teach your dog while exposing them to strangers and even other dogs.

Build a Routine

Like humans, dogs, especially reactive dogs, like having a little bit of a routine. When you build a basic schedule for your dog, they’ll know what to expect every day and won’t get as nervous about things like food or bonding time with you.

That said, once you create your schedule and your dog gets accustomed to that routine, make sure you do everything you can to not break your habits.

Invest in a Good Leash

No matter what you do, you cannot anticipate what you and your dog will run into when you’re out in public. So, make sure you invest in a good leash and harness that will help you keep your dog controlled if they lash out while on a walk.

Need help finding the perfect harness for your furry friend? Click here!

Pay Attention to Your Puppy

Finally, sometimes your reactive dog will get scared and lash out, and no amount of training will help prevent that. One of the best things you can do for your reactive dog is to learn to identify their body language. Try to pay attention to what your dog does before lashing out so you can take control of the situation before they get aggressive.

How to Train Your Reactive Dog

Now that you know what you can do to take control of your reactive dog, it’s time to get to work making the necessary changes to help them calm down.

Are you looking for more tips on how to help your four-legged friend live their best life? We’ve got you covered! Check out the rest of our blog for more helpful articles and advice today!