After rehoming Wilson from a relative his new owners were experiencing reactive behaviour towards other dogs while out and about on walks.
We went for a walk with Wilson to see where his head was at and get a firsthand view of what a typical walk for them looked like. As is typical with most dogs and owners who’re dealing with reactive responses, there was a clear breakdown in communication between dog and handler, leading to Wilson simply acting, over thinking.
The process of reactivity rehabilitation varies from dog to dog, but some of the core principles are consistent across the board. Most reactive dogs will be disconnected from the handler, environmentally stressed, under/over socialised, have little to no structure and leadership, and have little drive to eat/play. To truly address reactivity we must tackle it from each angle to make lasting and meaningful change.
Throughout the session we covered the truth about all of these areas and how we approach reactivity work in a way that’s centred around taking relationships to the next level. Dog ownership is centred around companionship, and handling a reactive dog naturally has a huge negative impact on this key principle.
Within no time Wilson was happily engaging with his owners around high distraction of other dogs, making much better choices and being highly rewarded for doing them. Showing him exactly what we wanted moving forwards helps to relieve Wilson of the pressure of making decisions and getting himself all frustrated in the process.
Reactivity can be drastically improved in a short window of time with the correct guidance and skills, but it requires making a start sooner rather than later and committing yourself to the work that’s needed. Wilson’s new owners are all over it and will reap the rewards for their efforts.
Great job guys, keep up the awesome work!