People, animal, or object directed reactivity or aggression can be a scary thing to the pet guardian who has to take their pet out on a walk. Things like barking, lunging, pulling on leash, or baring teeth can be embarrassing or frightening if you are afraid you may lose control of your animal. Oftentimes the root of these reactive behaviors in your dog is fear. And punishing out the barking and growling only leaves you with an animal that, when it feels threatened, will no longer warn you before biting.

Behavior modification is not “training. ” Training teaches the learner a certain skill or behavior while in behavior modification we work to change the dog’s emotional state so they can make better choices. Dog Training liability insurance is also imperative for the professional you are considering and as the pet guardian you need to be able to learn some specific skills yourself to keep your dog and the people and animals around him safe.

Compulsion (punishment / aversive) based training is NOT the answer for behavior modification as it backs the animal into a corner and forces them to comply with the added demands of the professionaL. It adds more stress to the animal’s already overflowing cup of fear or shuts them down in a way that may look like the animal is “cured” but only until they get a grip on some of their fear and decide they can once again fight if they can’t flee from the scary situation.

I don’t use force to “train out” fear because it doesn’t work. An understanding of canine body language and thresholds (is the cup about to overflow?) and a process of desensitization and counter-conditioning teach your pet a positive emotional response to what otherwise was a trigger for his fear. I teach engage – disengage skills before the dog reaches their threshold to counter-condition them to have a more positive emotional reaction to their trigger.

Reducing reactivity involves desensitizing your dog to the triggers that make him scared to go out in public. We work to build his confidence, make the scary things less scary, and help the pet guardian to understand the management needed to help their dog live more comfortably in their daily environment.

These private classes are a collaborative effort between the pet dog guardian, the dog, and the trainer held in the clients home. The family will learn management tools to help their dog become calmer and more confident.