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in Pet Parenthood, Training and socialization

My Dog Is Reactive

  • May 27, 2018
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
My Dog Is Reactive

My dog Maggie is reactive.  She’s just turned three and what were occasional warning signs has now developed into a fully fledged personality trait.  She demonstrates this most in her greetings.  She eagerly make a bee line for the other dog and goes nose to nose with a hard stare.

As you can imagine this type of greeting isn’t polite.  So when the other dog starts to signal that Maggie needs to back off … Maggie will snap.  She lacks the social skills in how to communicate calming signals effectively and she resorts to the fastest way she knows how to signal she’s uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.

Her nervousness and frustration is rubbing off on Orbit.  So now as a pack, when leashed, they will start to bark and lunge at dogs that enter their “space”.  At this time I’m asserting this perimeter to be within 20 feet.

This behavior reared its ugly head at Blog Paws.  Imagine my surprise when upon arriving at the convention they proceeded to turn into little barking monsters are every dog in the lobby.  Luckily my friend who I traveled with Oh My ShihTzu had trained her Boston out of this behavior.

Behavior Adjustment Training

My friend suggested I learn the concepts taught in Behavior Adjustment Training.

The core goal is to “Empower your dog to gain confidence and social skills”

From the Amazon description:

With BAT 2.0, trainer/author Grisha Stewart has completely overhauled Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) to create a new efficient and practical tool for dog reactivity. BAT 2.0 builds resilience and self-reliance by giving dogs safe opportunities to learn about people, dogs, or other “triggers.” Clear enough for all readers to follow, this book also includes technical tips and bonus chapters just for dog behavior professionals.

Learn how to:
Rehabilitate aggression, frustration, and fear.
Use survival skills to prevent reactivity on walks and at home.
Use a long line to safely maximize your dog’s freedom of movement.
Apply Grisha’s BAT philosophy to all dogs and puppies…and get your life back!

I’m a few weeks into the training concepts and I’ll admit I’ve learned how letting go of control, better leash skills, and learning how to create controlled environments for Maggie to learn has been a move in the positive direction.  I also know that this process takes time so in addition to the training concepts we applying we also do pack walks.

Pack Walks

Every two weeks we join Real Dog Box and walk as a pack.  The main goal is for us to teach our dogs to co-exist in harmony.  The events are open to everyone and you can RSVP via our Meet Up Page.

Between the training we’re doing, and the pack walks… I’m learning more about why my dog is reactive.  And I’m learning that exerting too much control disempowers the learner.  I’m learning how to manage the environment from behind the scenes rather than stepping in to micro mange each behavior.  The goal is to teach Maggie and Orbit how not to be reactive, and how to make good choices independent of humane intervention.


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By MaggieLovesOrbit, May 27, 2018
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