“Reactive” is a term gaining popularity in dog training circles – but what is it, exactly? In her book Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Applied Animal Behaviorist Karen Overall, M.A., V.M.D., Ph.D., uses the term to describe animals who respond to normal stimuli with an abnormal (higher-than-normal) level of intensity. Take a deep breath and relax. We have positive training solutions for dogs who "go off" or "lose it" in certain circumstances.
If you've ever been present when a dogfight broke out, you know how dangerous it can be for everyone concerned. I've lost track of how many times we've said this, but as always, prevention beats cure. It is imperative that you manage and train your own canine family to minimize the risk of serious dogfights. Identify situations that are likely to light the dogfight fuse, such as fence-fighting or resource guarding, and figure out how to avoid them and/or modify the behavior that causes them.
By your own standards, your dog’s life may not seem all that stressful – after all, he doesn’t have bills to pay, does he? But when you apply the more scientific definition of the word – anything that alarms or excites him, triggering his sympathetic nervous system into action and flooding him with the “fight or flight” chemicals adrenaline and noradrenaline – you may be able to see how many seemingly unrelated things in his environment actually contribute to his “misbehavior.”
Going for a walk with your dog may be one of your favorite ways to exercise and relax, but your pleasant outing can quickly turn into a stressful one if you happen to encounter another dog running loose. If the other dog is threatening or your own dog reacts aggressively, the situation can become downright dangerous. Like most owners of dog-aggressive dogs, Thea McCue of Austin, Texas, is well aware of how quickly an outdoor activity with her dog can stop being fun. Wurley, her 14-month-old Lab mix, is a happy, energetic dog who loves to swim and go running on the hike-bike trails around their home. But when he's on leash and spots another dog, he sometimes barks, growls, and lunges. Since he is 22 inches tall and weighs 60 pounds, he can be hard to handle, says McCue. When he pounced on one little 10-pound puppy
Garbage-raiding, counter-surfing, barking at passers-by ... How do you train your dog to stop his bad behavior? Often, the answer isn’t a matter of training at all!
If your dogs are fighting, and are causing severe damage to each other – or one dog is causing severe damage to another – I’m sorry to say that you are dealing with the most difficult of all canine behavior problems, the one with the worst possible prognosis. Your options are extremely limited, because the treatment really should have happened when the dog was 4 1/2 months old, which is when dogs normally learn bite inhibition.
I have a serious problem with my six-year-old neutered male Vizsla. He was a high strung, but good tempered dog for the first three years of his life. Something seemed to snap after that. He is loving and affectionate most of the time, but he gets aggressive when family members leave the kitchen (he and our other dog are limited to the kitchen and family room). He barks, snaps at them, and snags clothes with his teeth. He has never chomped down and bitten anyone, but he has scratched people with a tooth.
Not all dogs have the benefit of a nice start in life. Sergeant had about the worst start possible. His first owners left Sergeant locked in their apartment when they abandoned it in October 1997. By the time the landlord found him, the three-year-old male Rottweiler-mix was emaciated. The landlord brought him to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (SPCA) of Upstate NY, a no-kill shelter. It was several days before Sergeant could eat solid food without vomiting.
dog owners are taught to recognize behavioral signs of impending aggression
at least until the NILIF program has had a chance to take effect. If he jumps into the car and immediately takes up his position at the steering wheel
As a holistic behavior consultant, I believe that most problems people experience with their dogs are not really dog problems but rather communication problems. Dogs don't have problems being dogs; they have problems being dogs who live with humans. Most humans don't even know how to communicate with each other! Every interaction you have with a dog teaches the dog something about living with a human.
Hannah was a normal, healthy Labrador Retriever puppy: happy, boisterous, playful, and always willing to eat. Hannah’s owner, Connecticut resident Anne Hassett, bought Hannah when the pup was seven weeks old. Hassett trained, socialized, and loved the golden pup. A field-line Labrador, Hannah hunted on the weekends and enjoyed the comfy life of a companion Lab weekdays. Hannah was well known in hunting circles for her steady, easy-going temperament, the coveted hallmark of the Labrador breed. Hassett considered breeding her, and had the dog examined and tested for genetic diseases.