What’s Behind Reactivity in Dogs?

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IMG_3827I recently watched the beginning of Suzanne Clothier’s recorded seminar on Arousal, Anxiety, and Fear and am looking forward to attending her seminar in Grapevine, TX this weekend. I am already hooked after watching 30 minutes of the 2 hour lecture. Not only is she entertaining to watch, but she puts things into perspective so that any human can understand what their dog is going through. She brought up several interesting points in the first 30 minutes I have watched and I want to share some thoughts on one idea in particular with you.

I’ve been struggling with reactivity in my dog since I adopted him 1.5 years ago. I know that my dog is highly anxious (especially these days – stay tuned to learn why!) and it’s been difficult to work with him. Living in an apartment makes even potty breaks challenging. I always have to look out the peep hole to make sure no strange people or dogs are in sight, it’s almost like being in constant paranoia. It’s not fun for me or my dog. I do my best to bring treats with me every time I take him outside for a potty break but sometimes I’m in a hurry or forget or he refuses them. Recently, especially, he has been refusing his normal treats even just outside our front door. This is why I am really looking forward to Suzanne’s seminar this weekend. Loker has actually been chosen as a demo dog for her which I am really excited about. It will be wonderful to see a professional, such as herself, working with him through his challenges.

A Dog’s Approach to Novelty

Suzanne mentioned that the way an animal grows up is especially important. If an animal grows up in a great environment where they get to learn about new things everyday then the animal will grow up being especially curious about new things. However, if the animal is raised in a limited and stressful environment, they are more likely to fear new objects. Knowing that Loker grew up in a shelter, however home like it claimed to be, it really shows through to his personality today. He responds to anything new or any new location as if something is about to attack.

Just today I took him to the park, but instead of walking around like a normal owner and dog, we just stood there right outside the car. I rewarded for looking at me, but he barely accepted the cheese I had brought. He just stood there on edge, stiff, hackles slightly raised, and examining his environment. It is sad to see a dog that I love be so intimidated by an empty park. Even with all the training we have done over the last year he has not improved as much as I would like. Granted, there are some new stressors in our home which have really affected him.

I am going to finish watching Suzanne’s recorded seminar and am really looking forward to her seminar this weekend. Maybe it will shed some light on how to continue his “rehabilitation”. I highly recommend getting Suzanne’s recorded seminar on Arousal, Anxiety, and Fear so get it while it’s 50% off! Stay tuned for a special announcement about a new addition to our home!