Reactivity ...5 ways you are made to feel GUILTY

Those dreams of long walks, family outings, beer gardens, and meeting up with friends seems like a dream you once had.

5 ways you are made to feel guilty.

  1. You shouldn’t walk that dog here, it’s so selfish of you.

  2. Your dog is out of control

  3. That dog needs training.

  4. You need reporting.

  5. You spoil it for other dogs who love meeting dogs.

Then you start to blame yourself.

  • I must be doing something wrong.

  • It must be my fault he is like this

  • Maybe I spoiled him?

  • I should be firmer with him, so many people have said he is dominant.

Then you feel the guilt about how you feel about this dog you love so much.

Thoughts like… when you wish you had never brought him home.

Then you look down and he is laying on your feet.

Just let me start by saying “IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT” you are not guilty of anything.

Your emotions are real, and honestly being the guardian of a reactive dog is one of the most difficult challenges you will ever face.

Reactivity is usually fear based. It can also be frustration, or lead reactivity, (stopping them making choices) It might even be territorial or resource reactivity. You will probably have a bit of an inkling which one your dog exhibits. It might even be a combination of some of the above. BUT IT IS NORMALLY FEAR BASED.

It's ok to feel like crying, it's ok to feel as you do.

Understanding why your dog is reactive can help take away some of those guilty feelings.

  • Pups born from a nervous mother can actually be born fearful.

  • Your dog may be from a rescue background.

  • There may have been trauma (attacked as a pup as an example)

  • Maybe the initial socialising period had been missed due to things being out of your control, could have been illness, injury or even lockdown.

  • He may be really sensitive to noise

  • He may have chronic pain that hasn’t been diagnosed.

  • He could have allergies including diet.

So many things can contribute to our dog's reactivity. It is good to start to eliminate some of these to start with.

Pain check or even a pain trial from the vet

Change of diet

Desensitising him to certain noises that can affect his emotions.

In the dog profession it is actually what we call triggers. Those things that can fill your dog’s stress bucket to the point of overflowing.

If we can take some of those triggers away, there is less likely that stress bucket will overflow - REACTION

Not only do we have to work on your dog's stress bucket, but yours too.

That is the hard part. It is very difficult for YOU not to react when YOU see a dog/ person coming.

You don’t want to hear those unkind words from the other dog’s owner.

What you do need is help and support. YOU need help and support so you can help your dog.

Reactivity is an emotional rollercoaster.

When you get that support you can start to build a new trust with your dog. He will know you have his back. And when it all goes pear shaped, you will have the knowledge and skill to get out of trouble.

There will be days when everything just goes wrong. These are the days when you just want to give up, cry, scream and doubt yourself.

Remind yourself of all those guilty feelings and wonder if it is all worth it.

Then you remember just how far you have come.

Us humans really do tend to remember the bad stuff.

Writing a daily journal is a great way to just track just how far you and your dog have come.

Those little wins soon add up.

It is a lot of hard work, but stick at it. Your dog just wants to feel safe, and YOU, yes YOU amazing person are helping him do just that.

Don’t let others bring you down. You are amazing, your dog is amazing and you will get there together.

There is help and support out there.

Please look for a trainer that uses kind and effective methods that has you dog's wellbeing as a priority as well as supporting you.

Please visit my website

Or check out my facebook page @

#Romanianrescue #Anxiousdog #reactivedog

Categories: : Anxious/nervous dogs, Reactivity, Romanian Rescue