What is reactivity and why I would dogs react to triggers?
The main reason for the activity in dogs is fear.
The second reason of reactivity is caused by excitement or frustration.
Sometimes it can be a mixture of the three.
As much as it is important to understand why our dog is showing a certain behavior the technique of training and helping a reactive dog it is similar when it comes to lead training or in general adjusting behavior training.
We have always to keep in mind that a dog that is reacting doesn’t do it because it’s not naughty or because he wants to behave badly.
A reactive dog behave like that because it doesn’t know what else to do, because that behavior in that moment helps them to cope with situation and it also helps them to move the problem (the trigger) away from them.
If your dog is reactive to people or dogs or cars and every time one is passing by your house or your car, the dogs lounge at the window and bark the trigger away they think they’re successful as usually the trigger moves!!! That way your dog is reinforced in using those behaviours.
If we want to help our dogs to be less reactive and to learn to be calmer around triggers we have to make sure that we remove a chance to react as much as possible during the day lowering the stress level in our dogs lives and prevent the behaviour to be rehearsed.
If they can constantly reacts during the day in the garden, at the window in the car on inappropriate walks then will keep the stress level to high and it will be very difficult if not impossible to help them adjusting their behavior.