What is a “reactive” dog? Generally, when we talk about “reactive” dogs we are talking about dogs who exhibit any of the following behaviors when encountering “triggers” (these can be dogs, people, squirrels, bikes, skateboards…) on leashed walks: lunging, barking, pulling, whining, and the inability to focus or relax. Many dogs exhibiting these behaviors on-leash are fine with others when off-leash (or at least have a doggie friend or two). Dogs may be showing these behaviors out of fear (“don’t let that dog/person get any closer to me!”) or frustration (“I really, really, really want to go say HIIIIII!). If your dog cannot calm down, focus and connect with you, they will not be able to learn.
Reactive dog training focuses on teaching your dog to relax and get into an operant or “learning frame of mind” in the presence of other dogs (or whatever stimulus they are reacting to). We also teach your dog to look to you for cues on how they should react when other dogs are present.
For an idea of what we cover in this type of training READ THIS.
REACTIVE REHAB: 6-week class aimed at reactive dogs that bark, lunge, snap etc. towards other dogs and/or people on leash.
- Before: The owner will be sent a behavioral questionnaire to be returned before the start of class. Week one of the 6 week class is a human-only orientation, currently held virtually. This week we will discuss: appropriate equipment, counterconditioning conditioning/desensitization, foundation skills needed for the start of class (Look, Touch and an “emergency” scatter feed cue, Find It) as well as how to use a clicker or verbal marker. This week is mandatory to continue in the 6 week course.
- During: We will introduce and implement several different types of training in this class. We start each week of class with approximately 30 minutes of human-only lecture and discussion. Your dog should be left in your car for this period if possible. If your dog is not safe or comfortable in the car please let us know at your pre-class meeting and we will find a space inside for your dog to stay during lecture away from other dogs.
- After: After completion, a (formerly) reactive dog should then be able to enter The Basics. If your dog needs more practice time/set-ups all Reactive Rehab graduates are also eligible to sign up for the “Reactive Rebab Drop-Ins”. These sessions are for DD graduates only for continuing work with other dogs/people in a space with controlled distractions.
This class is limited to 5 dogs. Class instructor is Danette Johnston, CPDT-KA.
REACTIVE REHAB WEBINAR: 2 hours, human only. – NOW OFFERED VIRTUALLY!
Does your dog bark, lunge, pull towards other dogs, people, bikes etc. when on leash? What causes reactivity and is it the same as aggression? Whether your dog is reactive because he is anxious, fearful or because of frustration (“I REALLY want to say hit to that dog!!”) and a lack of impulse control, in this 2 hour, human-only session we will cover techniques to use with your reactive dog. We will discuss appropriate equipment, leash techniques, focus cues, counter conditioning and desensitization, emergency exit “tricks” as well as how to facilitate meeting other dogs and appropriate play.
“I don’t know if my dog needs Reactive Rehab or The Basics?” A good way to evaluate which class your dog needs is to take him out on a walk carrying high value treats (chicken, hot dog, cheese) and see if you can get his attention when you pass your dog’s triggers (another dog, people etc.) with the help of the treats. If you can easily redirect him to you with the treats in hand when you come across his triggers, you likely can go straight into The Basics. If it is difficult to get his focus back on you even with the help of the yummy goods, then Reactive Rehab would be the appropriate class.
How do I sign up? Click the link on the right side of this page for the class you are interested in. If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at 206-706-4875 or email Danette directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the class is FULL or if you would like more 1-on-1 help and (or the class schedule does not work for you) you may want to schedule a private lesson.