Three Things Your Reactive Dog Wants To Know Before He Stops Reacting


By Sean O’Shea from the The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation

The three things you’re reactive dog wants to know before he/she stops reacting…

1) Can you believably control yourself? (In times of stress and pressure are you calm, relaxed, confident, in control? Or are you unsure, nervous, tentative, angry, and stressed?)

2) Can you believably control him or her? (Are you able to keep your dog relaxed, calm, and tuned-in to you even in situations that would cause stress, anxiety, or explosions?)

3) Can you believably control the environment? (Are you able to create a safe zone around you and your dog that no other dog or person can violate?)

When you’re able to effectively master all three of these challenges, your dog will finally be able to relax knowing you’re qualified to keep them safe. Once they truly believe that you’ve “got it” they will finally be able to give up the job of attempting to do it themselves.

Without these three in place, the stress and anxiety that comes from not trusting you, themselves, or the world, will continue the cycle of reactivity.

How are you doing with the Big Three??


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  1. Peggy Chisholm said:

    The big three, undoubtedly, with “believably” being the key as you can’t fake it with your dog….to be genuinely believable you need the tools and skills to be confident so you really do feel that you ” got this”. Thanks Sean for generously providing these baseline elements. Peggy

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Peggy! Sorry about the slow response…I somehow missed these two comments. You’re absolutely right, believability is the key, and the biggest challenge. 🙂 It takes time and repeated success to create believability in both you and your dog. And like you said, having the right tools and strategies that help leverage your abilities is really essential. Thanks for this great comment! 🙂

  2. I totally related to this blog with my recent rescued male pit that is terrified of our Rotti and they have gotten into some very intense fights. After trying to make them co-exist and debating on re homing the pit, I decided to PROOF my living area so he can no longer see our Rotti rather than try to make them get along which we can see is not going to happen and all it was doing was making everyone, animal and people very stressed. Since PROOFING our home, life is so much more peaceful. He knows the Rotti is there but knows that he is safe from him and is the dog we rescued again! As long as he does not see him, all is good. It actually was such a minor adjustment but has made a world of difference. Love your blogs and your video’s! Thank you for all you do for the many canines that so need it!!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Andrea, sorry, somehow these comments got by me! While I sorry you’re struggling with a challenging situation, I’m happy that you seem to have found a workable solution, and that by you taking control of the environment, removing stressors, you’re seeing more peaceful and relaxed dogs. Great work! 🙂

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