Living with a reactive or aggressive dog can be very difficult on a daily basis. It takes organization and a lot of forethought, and it can be difficult to manage at times. Here are some tips on how to manage your encounters.
HAVING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT WITH A REACTIVE DOG
Regardless of how reactive your dog is, you need to have the right equipment that is safe for both your dog and the dog in front of you.- Even if your dog does not bite, or nip, you may want to invest in a crate type muzzle (baskerville or a custom made muzzle) so that your dog cannot engage in unwanted behavior. Getting used to the muzzle can be a long process, but once your dog is used to it, it will be as commonplace as a leash or collar.- Having a strong harness and a 5 meter lanyard will also be helpful so that your dog doesn’t get hurt if he pulls on the lanyard. He will also be able to have freedom with a lead, rather than a short leash. A dog that pulls on a collar can damage his trachea and neck if he pulls too hard.- You can also have tasty treats that your dog loves so that positive associations can be made and the meeting with the other dog goes well. Treats are a reinforcer that almost all dogs love and they are also very easy to get in dog stores or pet stores.
MANAGE THE DOG-TO-DOG ENCOUNTER
Now that you have your equipment, you will have to find a dog adapted to your reactivity.Let’s take an example: if your dog is afraid of abrupt and too frontal dogs, choose a dog of small to medium size and which has a rather polite approach.It is up to you to make a point on the profile of dog on which your dog is reactive.- The meeting is organized:First of all, be yourself relaxed and breathe calmly. You must have confidence in yourself and in your dog to put all the chances on your side.Put the 2 dogs on a leash and move forward together without stretching the leashes. A taut leash can trigger a dog to feel trapped.Reward your dog regularly when he is calm and watch the other dog quietly.If your dog starts to react or tense up, you may be too close. Positioning yourself behind the dog can help your reactive dog by picking up scents left in the path by the first dog.
If you feel your dog is relaxed, you can let go of the lead and let them interact together. Above all, don’t yell and be relaxed.
Be aware that working with a reactive dog and a doggy encounter can be supervised by a dog behavior professional to ensure that no mistakes are made and that everything goes smoothly.
– If you come across an unknown dog on a walk :
While it’s annoying to see an unfamiliar dog coming up on yours, keep calm and keep your leash relaxed.You can possibly throw food on the ground to distract the other dog and move away.If your dog isn’t too heavy, you can also carry him to prevent the encounter from going badly.
Finally, if you are in the woods or in a fairly open area, move away quickly but calmly to put some distance between the two individuals.
You can also carry a pet corrector to keep away dogs that are a little too insistent. It is a compressed air bomb, which is absolutely not dangerous for dogs.
SEE THE PROGRESS OF YOUR DOG
When you live with a reactive or aggressive dog, it is sometimes difficult to be objective about your situation and to see when your dog is progressing, even a little bit.You can keep a kind of logbook where you will note your daily walks and evolutions.This will allow you to see when there is progress and when there are moments of relapse, and so to know why.This idea of logbook will allow you to note the encounters, the places, and the moments of the day to have a better analysis about your dog. This idea will allow you to note the meetings, the places, and the times of the day to have a better analysis of your dog. And your future walks and trainings will be adapted according to the history.
To conclude, living with a reactive dog can sometimes be difficult, but you must not give up and be present for your dog because it is he who suffers the most.