Is your dog anxious and nervous that he/she feels the need to react. Understand your dogs behaviour and how you can help.
Today is Dogs in Yellow Day.
A day to promote what the yellow gear means for other pet parents.
We have all heard “MY DOG IS FRIENDLY” as the friendly young dog comes bolting over to you and your nervous dog.
You know that feeling of dread, maybe even panic as you know your beloved dog is really scared, and might have to react to keep that friendly dog away.
Your heart starts to race,you tighten your grip on your dog's lead as you look around for an escape route.
Meanwhile the other dog keeps coming, with their pet parent shouting………….
“IT’S OK HE IS FRIENDLY”
You feel shame because your dog reacts this way, he may be lunging and barking or trying to flee. Maybe he just freezes, too scared to move and shuts down.
You feel embarrassed and just wish you had a “Normal Dog”
You might even feel angry as your dog is being a real nightmare.
Then to make matters worse, the other pet parent cannot call their dog back.
They start blaming YOU for having an aggressive dog,
“you shouldn’t walk your dog where others walk,
you need to keep that dog under control.
He should be muzzled” etc etc.
You feel so downtrodden that you never want to walk your dog again or join the early morning, late night brigade of other pet parents who just like you have a nervous anxious dog that reacts out of fear.
At home your dog is the most amazing, lovable dog in the whole world. He loves his training, he loves his cuddles and loves being with you, but you are starting to wish you had never got a dog. This wasn’t what you signed up for.
Your dream of long country walks and family picnics are now far away in a distant memory.
Here are my 5 tips.
1.Understand what lights your dog's candles. Or what triggers your dog's behaviour.
What I mean by that is:- Imagine a pot of water and to heat the water we use candles.
If everything that affects your dog’s emotions is a candle. How many lit candles will make the water boil over?
One candle/trigger could be a noise outside..
Another could be seeing a dog at a distance
Or the neighbours dog barking in the garden.
It could be that your dog is in pain.
You have had visitors at home.
These can all be small candles that don’t make the pot boil over…… until one more is added.
Then there is the big candle…………a dog comes too close, instant boiling.
If you can recognise the triggers and reduce or snuff out some or all of the candles, the likelihood of the pot boiling over is reduced.
2. Try to walk in less busy places while you are training. Places where you know you would be unlikely to meet off lead dogs. This could be a secure field, a graveyard, even a supermarket car park.
3. Distance is your friend, Your dog will tell you what distance he feels comfortable at.
4. Learn all about your dog's body language. There will be lots of communication your dog will have shown, before he feels the need to react.
5. Wear YELLOW, get noticed.
One extra tip,
Give yourself permission not to walk your dog for a day, even two. Spend time in the garden. Use enrichment for dog's, get those brains working. Not only will having a day or two off reduce those candles for your dog, it will reduce your candles too.
If you are really struggling and need support please get in touch by booking a free call here. https://calendly.com/a2bdogtraining/15-minute-free-phone-call
Or see my short video course for reactivity here
come and join my support group for Overseas rescue dogs