How are you and your dog feeling today – Relaxed and Happy or Stressed and Fearful?
Often we will go through our day on “auto-pilot” giving little thought to what we are doing or how we are doing it! Ever got to the end of a car journey whilst you’re driving and wonder how on earth you got there? Well……we should take a leaf out of our dogs book – as they just live in the moment and wear their hearts on their sleeves!
Take Jake my reactive rescue dog – he is a joy to be around (most of the time) – his most enjoyable thing to do is run and as we have lots of fields and green space around us that is no problem You always know when he is happy as his tongue lolls out to one side, his eyes shine and his tail wags like crazy! However, he has not always experienced such a happy life and “found” us about 3 years ago when he had been given into a local rescue centre. He was two then and had not had a great start to life never having been socialised as a puppy and was therefore fear reactive with other dogs.
This manifested itself by him going very stiff whenever he saw another dog (at some distance away initially) and barking/lunging/growling as he had learnt that way the other dog was never going to come near! Poor thing really needed some help to manage his emotions and change his perception of other dogs being a threat to that of acceptance! This took some time………………so if you are experiencing stressful walks where your dog is tense and stressed most of the time and barking or lunging at any other dog he sees (and you are feeling stressed too!) here are my top tips to help you:
a) Distance is your friend – always keep a good distance away from other dogs so your dog can remain calm and focused
b) Never allow your dog to be “surprised” by other dogs coming round a corner and being too close – so walk on open field areas where you have good vision of other dogs
c) Never tell your dog off or reprimand him for being vocal even if he sounds really aggressive – this is likely to be a fear reaction that is out of his control – by reprimanding him he may associate the “angry human” with the other dog that he was afraid of and so it will exacerbate his reaction.
d) Remember this is a journey – it will take time to change his perception ….Rome was never built in a day!
If you need help, want to know any more tips about how to help your reactive dog and join one of my programmes then please get in touch with me Rhona Wilkins NOW via:
Website – www.paws4transformation.co.uk
Email – hello @paws4transformation.co.uk
Phone – 07976 620840
Look forward to hearing from you