How to Calm Down a Dog that is Reactive
Reactivity happens when a dog overreacts to various stimuli in their environment. The reactions could include barking, lunging or even growling. At the end of the day, though, this behaviour does not mean that your dog is aggressive. It may be that they are over-excitable. Either way, reactivity is certainly not uncommon if you have a dog. It may be that your dog is genetically more inclined to be reactive or that they do not have enough social experience. Having a reactive dog can make your life hard work and you may even find that you do not have guests over in fear that your dog will not behave around them. Either way, there are things that you can do to stop your dog from being as reactive. If you want to find out more, then simply look below.
Have a Routine
It’s not uncommon at all for dog owners to think of this, but dogs crave routine. Dogs will know your routine as well. They know when you are going to wake up in the morning and they know that when you put your shoes on, they are probably going to be getting a walk soon. Routines help to make the world a bit more predictable for them and this is something that they strive for. If you can give your dog a good routine, then this will stop them from overreacting, and it will also help them in stressful situations as well.
Get some Essential Equipment
If you want to diminish any reactive tendencies that your dog may have then it is possible for you to invest in some equipment. A harness should really be your first purchase. Sometimes you can get a lead that clips onto the front of the harness as well as the back, and this will stop them from pulling. It works by pulling them sideways and it focuses their attention on you as well. If your dog pulls or if they are reactive then this can stop them from hurting themselves in the process. Believe it or not a crate is a very good tool when you are trying to curb reactivity. It’s a safe space for them and it comes in handy when they are being transported. If you want to make the crate comfortable then check out sites that are aimed at the pets and accessories market such as woofblankets.com; you can get a personalised rug that is comfortable for them, but also appealing for you.
Lastly, you have counter-conditioning. This is the process in which you will change the behaviour that your dog exhibits when a stimuli surfaces. It will involve you working with the dog to try and change their behaviour. You need to make sure that you reinforce the behaviour right away and you also need to make sure that you deter unwanted behaviour. If your dog pulls on the lead, then you need to pivot and go the other way. If your dog walks nicely, praise, treat and carry on. This will help you to steer them in the right direction.
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