Reactive Dog

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Reactive Dog

Post by Mi_fhèin on Fri Jan 20 2017, 13:04

Hi, when we first brought our 2-3 year old staffy Ruby home from a rescue centre in October 2015 she pretty much wouldn't tolerate any dog being within 100 yards of her. Typically she would lunge, bark & growl at any dog within her view. 1¼ years on through giving her tasty treats whenever a dog came into view Ruby's behaviour has improved markedly, but recently I've noticed that her reactive behaviour seems to be stuck and she doesn't seem to be getting any more tolerant of other dogs. For about the last 6 months now whenever we pass a dog on the otherside of the street Ruby becomes visibly stressed. She licks her face, pants heavily and strains on the lead. Occasionally she might even growl. Although she has improved 200%+ from her original behaviour on seeing a dog I had hoped that she would continually improve until the day when the sight of another dog wouldn't bother her too much at all. Do you think her dog reactivity is too deeply entrenched in her pschye or I am doing something wrong? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Reactive Dog

Post by LizP on Fri Jan 20 2017, 17:07

Some dogs find it incredibly hard, especially when you're in a head to head situation. It sounds like that's what's going on here, even though it may not be direct head to head. Chaos finds it hard too, as with Ruby he's better but it's still stressful. We've sort of decided that we don't need to push it any further as we don't meet too many other dogs and if we do have a situation where he needs to get to know another we know how to do it (slowly!).

What's helped us more than anything is the BAT method. Have a look at this:

https://staffy-bull-terrier.niceboard.com/t64420-bat-training-for-dog-on-dog-aggression-and-other-things

It's taught him he can relax and it's given him more options. We combine that with the taught request of 'this way!!!' to come and play, that we can use if we do get caught unawares by an unexpected dog. By moving him away in a way that is fun for him, it reduces the stress and let's me then step in with his relaxation method.

And, if we are on a path and meet a dog coming straight towards us and I feel we don't have enough room, we simply turn round and go back to a point where he will be able to cope with it passing. It takes a bit of getting your head round, that you don't HAVE to keep going, you don't HAVE to confront this. Chaos is a worrier, about so much, and accepting that is the biggest thing I can do to help him. It's all about building confidence and relaxation, not knocking it.

Does that help?


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Re: Reactive Dog

Post by Mi_fhèin on Fri Jan 20 2017, 17:27

Okay Liz I'll have a look at the link. Whenever I see a dog coming towards us on the same side of the road I'll cross so I never actually put Ruby in a situation where she has to pass a dog close by. Saying that she's still obviously stressed out by a dog passing a road length away. Hopefully I can gain some insight through the BAT method. I'll let you know how I get on.
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Re: Reactive Dog

Post by LizP on Fri Jan 20 2017, 18:03

I meant to say, I don't use BAT in the way she really intends, which is a structured training programme using other dogs. I don't really know anyone with dogs I trust, who wouldn't get upset if Chaos does react (he's not dreadful, he just does a little lunge and a sort of yap), and who would have the patience to give him the time he needs. So I've adapted it to applying the theory while out. It's still very helpful. We can now walk past houses with dogs in the garden flying at the gate which would have been out of the question before, we just can't do that full head on without setting him up first.


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