Our trainer, Devin Martin, shared his knowledge of the difference between aggressive and reactive dogs with journalist Shaun Goodwin. Martin shared that aggressive dogs are actively pursuing something, whereas reactive dogs respond to a situation. Additionally, Martin says that reactivity is more common than aggression. Additionally, Martin states that reactivity can be a result of frustration, prey drive, resource guarding, defense, and pain. For example, a pup could be frustrated that they are on a leash or behind a fence so they become reactive to the situation. Additionally, dogs are natural-born hunters so seeing a squirrel or a small dog run by can trigger those instincts. Also, a dog may be reactive to other dogs picking on him or from any physical pain they are experiencing.
Martin mentions that there is not a set solution that works for every dog. However, a common method is to avoid rewarding negative reactions. Martin says he sees this more in toy breeds because they are picked up and cuddled when they are barking and lunging at people. This attention is a reward and will enforce reactive behavior in the future. Additionally, if you encounter a reactive dog, stay loose and avoid eye contact with the dog. Try not to hold your breath or be stiff because these are aggressive signs to dogs. So, stay calm and act like their behavior is not affecting you. This way, their behavior is not being reinforced if they do not get a response.
If you need help training a reactive dog, look no further than Positive Pets trainers! Our trainers can work with you and your pal one-on-one to make progress in your training efforts. Additionally, our trainers can help you with a variety of training needs as well. Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog with bad habits, Positive Pets is perfect for all dogs.
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