Reactivity & fear in Dogs - How I Work
Reactivity is the word of the moment in the dog training world. It's a term mainly used to describe dogs who are suffering from a fear or frustration. The reactivity can sometimes look like aggression but is commonly when a dog is expressing its discomfort in a more visible way because fears haven't been acknowledged in the past. I consider myself the owner of a reactive dog and I know it can be isolating, other people think you don't know how to control your dog, it's tiring and frustrating for the both of you. It can also make it more difficult to find help when you need someone to look after your canine companion on occasions you can't be at home.
I cater for dogs on a 1-2-1 basis and come up with a walking schedule or pop-in routine that is tailored to you and your dog. This avoids flooding your dog with large groups or putting them in situations which they find uncomfortable. It also means I can build a better bond and spend time earning your dogs trust - this can take time and commitment, especially with the most fearful dogs.
All walks and services will be force free, no aversives, no dominance theory related ideas. There are great protocols for helping dogs, with my own I use a mixture of the CARE protocol & BAT. They involve giving your dog choice and working at a pace they're comfortable with to make positive associations with the stuff they find scary. You can read more about these training methods below. And whilst I will NOT be training your dog it is important you know the way in which I work with dogs on walks if they happen to encounter something that would normally trigger their reactivity - if they are comfortable and not showing signs of discomfort then rewarding them helps to build a more positive association. If they're reacting negatively and are over threshold then we remove ourselves from the situation until they're more relaxed and happy to continue.
I am happy to walk your dog with a harness and muzzle if that is something that you already do and as long as your dog has been properly introduced to wearing them. I will not walk dogs using aversive equipment such as E-Collars, choke chains, citronella collars, Halti's or tightening harnesses. These only help to create more negative associations with things your dog is already fearful of.