Stop praising your dog. When you try and comfort your dog when it is in an unbalanced state of mind, the dog thinks you are praising them. Do not pet, touch, or tell your dog “it’s okay”. It is not okay they are growling, acting nervous or shaking. We do praise when the dog is calm and acting appropriately.
Teach your dog basic obedience; sit, down, come, let’s go and place. Your dog should learn to do these commands with distractions.
Your reactive dog needs rules; stay off the furniture, no more sleeping in bed, no leash pulling, wait and door, quiet on command.
Don’t give your dog a command you do not intend to follow through on. Sit means sit, down means down and if your dog is told to come he/she better come. If not go to the dog and make them do what you told them. We do no ask we tell. Dogs need leaders not someone weak.
Teach your dog quiet command and place. Place is a safe place and no one should mess with the dog while they are on their place.
If you dog is nervous around strangers stop trying to fix them. If you have company tell your dog to go to their place. The dog does not have to interact with company. If your dog likes treats, company can toss the dog treats. This does not mean they get to pet the dog. We just want your dog to think of strangers as treat dispensers.
Do not let strangers pet your dog. If they want to pet a dog they should to go get their own dog. This is your dog and your dog wants love from you not from someone on the street. How would you like it the next time you are shopping some strange man comes up to you gives you a big hug and a kiss? Your dog doesn’t like it either so stop trying to make him interact with strangers.
Be firm with your dog. Quiet, down, place. We don’t reason with dogs, oh please buddy get on your place. You need to practice, but once the dog knows they must do it and there are no options the better off you and your dog will be. YOU need to take charge and be a leader. Your dog doesn’t want that responsibility.