Are you the owner of a reactive fearful dog?

May 24, 2021
Impulse control border collie dog training

Today I had a shocking episode on the big field where everyone walks their dogs.

I was walking on the edge of the field with my three avoiding the big groups of dog walkers as one of my dog is on lead rest after check at the Physio and I wanted to give the other two a run.

Moss is fear reactive on lead and I worked very hard to build his confidence so he will now choose to avoid dogs instead of reacting.

I made him a promise to keep him safe on the lead so we avoid very busy and narrow places but the field is fine. As long as we keep the distance and that we approach only dogs he can cope with when he is on the lead he is now happy or at least he has coping mechanisms to deal with it.

Someone appeared with a terrier off lead, with a typical very straight forward attitude of a terrier that my Moss is very worried about.
I was trying to get out of the way but the owner instead of helping me letting me go away shouted at me: ” he is fine!!!” rushing towards me to make the meeting happen.
I answered back quick : ” one of mine is not please don’t come close”… and she answered: ” but they are dogs they will manage”

I then reply that my dog was on lead rest for a physical condition and being lead reactive I cannot risk a meeting as it won’t be good for him.

She insisted to the point that I had to drag Moss away letting the other two interact with that dog that restrained by the owner growled at my other two while she was insulting me that I shouldn’t be taking my dog on the field on the lead.

Note: my dog never reacted and I was working very hard to avoid it while trying to ask for some understanding to another dog owner that wasn’t listening.

Etiquette, if one is on the lead you shouldn’t approach with yours off lead. On the field, on the beach, on the hills IT DOESN’T matter.

Everyone is free to walk the dogs where they want and trying to keep out of the way, and if you see someone trying to move away you DON’T try to stop them imposing your dog on them, it is rude and un respectful. Your freedom ends where my starts.

It’s a lot of work having a reactive dog. You work hard to keep them calm, to teach them to disengage and to not react and it takes one person that doesn’t respect that to send them over the threshold. It will take days to calm them down again sometimes.

Be respectful of others. Be aware that not every dog, just because it’s a dog, likes other dogs. Like I don’t like every person I meet.

Be polite, it will come back to you.

Martina Miradoli Border Coolie Expert Dog trainer

Hello, my name is Martina Miradoli and I specialise in training Border Collies.

I’ve owned Border Collies for many years and have trained them, along with other herding breeds in every sport and activity available.

This has allowed me to gain invaluable experience and an understanding of these unique dogs and the behavioural challenges that we may have to face as owners. 

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