Got a Reactive Dog? It all Comes Down to Management.

I was at a West Michigan pet store the other day and overheard the cashier asking a customer why they never bring their dog to the store.  The couple said, “He isn’t good with other dogs, in fact, he probably wouldn’t be good with any other animal so we don’t have other pets. We are good with that, he fills our hearts.”  I thought, there is a family that gets it. There are dogs, due to whatever reason, that just do not do well with other dogs. People bring dogs to us with this exact issue and their goal is for the dog to be able to interact and play with other dogs. That is an improbable request.

At Adams K-9 Dog Training, our goal with these dogs is to ignore other dogs when on a leash, and to be able to go for a walk and stay calm out in the public when another dog walks by. We teach management and to ignore the distractions. The dog park is not going to happen, nor is having dog company over to hang out. We can provide you with training so your dog has manners, great obedience, and will ignore other dogs.   However, another disobedient dog jumping on him or getting in his face is going to be a problem. Your dog will react and try to kill it. Unless your friend has a calm dog that will come to your home, lay down and ignore your dog, there will be a problem. If your friend’s dog trained with us, that would be a probability. We teach calm, well-mannered behavior.

So – you own a dog that is dog aggressive but he can mind his own business, go for walks, and no one would ever know he was dog reactive. Then some moron’s dog at the park that’s loose comes running towards you to come and say “Hi.” Now, that makes me really angry. If you ever let your dog off leash to run around, you had better have a solid recall. A solid recall means the dog will come to you when you call him, every time, no matter what the distraction. Most do not have that so keep your dog leashed if you are going to the park.

Another pet peeve of mine is the dog owner that is getting dragged toward you by their dog as they yell “he just wants to say Hi.” If you are one of those people, someday your dog’s face is going to be mangled by another dog that does not want to say “Hi.” People with leashed dogs, the leashes are there to control the dog. Your dog doesn’t need to go and say Hi to every dog he comes across. I do not let strange dogs say Hi to my dogs and the reason is, your dog may have fleas, parvo, or some other disease I don’t want my dogs exposed to. So, please keep your dog away from mine. My dogs are trained to ignore other dogs, and they do.

As I am writing this, I have one dog laying at my feet taking a nap and the other is crying because he wants me to go outdoors for a game of fetch. My dogs love me and want to interact with me. That is why I have dogs – for companionship and to interact with. Not so I can sit on my butt at the dog park while they run around with a bunch of strangers so they get tired out because I am too lazy to do it myself.

Can you tell I don’t go to dog parks?

Dogs are not perfect, they all have their own personalities and wants. They want a forever home, stability, rules, and to have some fun. Raise them correctly and they will want to do these things with you and not look outward towards strangers for love and companionship. I am going to end here because Titus wants some play-time with Dad. The point of this article is – be happy with the dog you have. Train him, manage his behavior, and control your dog when you are out or a walk. This way your dog won’t get into any trouble and will be relaxed because you are in charge, and you won’t let anything bad happen.

If you are struggling with leash control, behavior or want off leash reliability give us a call at Adams K-9. We would be happy to help you, and it all starts with a free evaluation.

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