What is a reactive dog?

  • Does your dog lunge and/or bark at other dogs and/or people?
  • Do you walk your dog early in the morning or late at night to avoid other dogs and people?

If so our Reactive Dog Class is designed for you and your dog. In this class we teach you and your dog how to cope with scary/startling situations.

How many dogs are in class?

We limit the number of dogs in the class to a maximum of 3 dogs. This allows you to learn how to manage situations with other dogs and people as well as teach your dog skills to cope and gain confidence so they aren’t as reactive.

The room is set up with visual barriers to give each dog and handler plenty of space and privacy to help ensure success.

This class will help prepare your dog to enter regular Levels Training classes and how to cope with daily life.

What do I need to bring to class?

  • Collar – you are welcome to use any collar or harness you are comfortable using and gives you confidence and control. We may suggest a different collar or harness once we have observed you and your dog. We have several options available for trial and purchase.
  • Leash – standard leash that is easy for you to hold and no longer than 6 ft. We do not allow retractable leashes in any of our classes. We also have long leashes and wall tethers available if you are concerned about your dog getting away from you. We also have belts available for you to wear and attach your dog to the belt so you can have both hands available for commands and exercises.
  • Treats – must be SOFT and either no larger than a pea or you are able to break into smaller pieces. We almost always have string cheese and hot dogs available to supplement your treats. In about 90% of the cases with Reactive Dogs regular dog treats are NOT high enough value. We usually recommend starting with cheese, hot dogs or jerky. Then you can start mixing regular treats into the cheese/hot dogs after a few classes or a few weeks. Then eventually you might be able to go very few cheese/hot dogs and more regular. High value treats or toys if the dog is not treat motivated, are the ONLY thing that is going to overpower a reaction to a dog or person for a reactive dog.

 

Testimonial from a Reactive Dog Graduate

“Reactive Dog class was intense for me and Stella but we survived. The first thing Pam taught me was to breath…and she was right.
Next came my confidence that I was in charge and what was appropriate to expect from Stella. We (Stella and I) started seeing progress.
After 10 classes Pam felt Stella was ready to try a new level. I was not so sure. She was patient and let me stay in that class until I was ready. Tonight I celebrate Stella’s 2nd level 3 class with 3 other dogs when Pam took Stella to the other side of the room and stated “when I drop her leash, I want you to call her to you”. My heart skipped a few beats and I remembered to breath and called her. Even with the other dogs in the room she came to me when called 3 TIMES.”

-Janette and Stella Mae Monster

Read more about Janette and Stella Mae’s journey and success.

Tools and Commands we use in class:

  • The “Look” Command is the first technique we teach in RD class. Here is a video about the command and how to teach it. You can start practicing this at home. Read more about the Look Command and watch the video
  • The “Place” Command the second technique we teach in RD class is the Place command to give the dog a break and a safe place to relax. This is also a command you should start teaching at home. Read more about the Place command and watch the video.
  • Baskerville muzzles when needed. We have dogs that are so fearful they might snap at or bite another dog or person. In those cases we encourage a muzzle for everyone’s protection including the fearful dog. We highly/exclusively recommend the Baskerville muzzle because it is much safer for everyone than a mesh dog muzzle. Baskervilles allow the dog to pant, drink and take treats. Mesh muzzles the dog cannot pant or drink and they can still pinch/bite.We have a supply of Baskerville muzzles if you would like assistance in fitting and introducing it to your dog. Read more information about the muzzles, fitting and proper introduction
  • For other training resources and posts about Reactive Dogs, please check out our training blog