Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Central Virginia
I had a rescue foster for a while who I thought was a bit sharp--but not reactive. If she was pushed or felt cornered or likely to be injured, she would bite. But if I walked around a corner and saw a dog, she didn't go into aggression barking. But if some dog had tried to intimidate her and put her on her back (she was little), she would respond with teeth. Biting was in her repertoire of responses. To me, a sharp dog is one who tends to react quickly and with actual aggression (not just vocalization) as a likely response.
A reactive dog, IMO, is one who is responding without thinking, to an outside stimulus. This isn't always an aggressive response and it is likely to be vocal, perhaps aggressive barking--but it isn't always barking. Say I'm at Petsmart and walk around a corner and there's a beagle, a reactive dog might respond with scary sounding barking without really processing that the beagle isn't representing any real threat that would make such a reaction reasonable. But usually, these dogs are all sound without any real intention to use their teeth.
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