Dogs that bark and lunge at people and other dogs are often called reactive. Some reactive dogs are friendly and over-excited. Some reactive dogs are afraid and acting out to defend themselves. Other reactive dogs are biologically so over-stimulated that they cannot calm down. Regardless of reason, all types can be difficult to control at best, and at worst, dangerous. What type do you have, and should they go to a group class or private training?
The OVERLY EXCITED Type
Dogs that are happy and overly excited tend to have friendly body language even when they are barking and lunging. Their tails wag wide, and not higher than their normal tail-set. Their mouths are more relaxed and friendly looking. They are bouncy but playful in their stance. When they see a trigger, they can calm down quickly.
Yes! These dogs typically do well in group classes. After their first week, they begin to understand that they are there for training. They continue to improve weekly.
The AFRAID and WORRIED Type
Dogs that are afraid and acting out of defense may raise their hair up at the base of their necks to the tip of their hindquarters. Their tails may wag but not wide. Their mouths will be tighter, and lips may be pulled forward or back. They may also stand taller than normal. They may pant excessively.
It depends…If they are exhibiting a mix of friendly and worried body language, they may do well in a small group class… But, if their tails are wagging narrow and higher than their normal tail set, and if they are pulling their lips forward, and their barking sounds threatening, they require extra caution. Extra caution reactive dogs should start with private training. Also, if the dog does not calm readily, once the trigger is no longer visible, it should start with a private lesson. Our animal behavior specialists would be happy to meet you and your dog for a private lesson. It’s easy. You can either email us firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment or call us at 708.636.1998.
The OVER-STIMULATED type
Dogs that are over-stimulated and cannot calm down have an anxious bark. Their body language is bouncy, physical. They pant excessively. They may be reacting to multiple triggers and just need a break so that they can calm down. Beware of the over stimulated dog that snaps at the nearest thing to it (typically their handler or an innocent bystander walking by).
Not just yet! These dogs are best in privates for quite a few months as they require a calm environment for learning to take place. We would love the opportunity to help you and your dog form a better bond and to help ease your dog’s anxiety. Please contact us to schedule reactive dog private training by emailing email@example.com or by calling us at 708.636.1998
Still Not Sure
If you still aren’t sure if you should bring your dog to our group classes, contact us, or schedule a private lesson. We look forward to meeting you and your dog.