Mary W, every time I see your name, I think it is me! (my last name also starts with a "W")
When I talk about Chaos being "dog reactive" my definition is he will see a dog, and immediatley go into a hard eye/straight leg stance and if he is not sidetracked by me, he will lunge/bark/jump at the dog. React to seeing him, if you will.
lol at the name. There are not too many Mary's that I have come accross.
Are you the one taking the course for reactive dogs?
I wonder if my dog could be classified as reactive. During training class she will often lunge out to great another dog upon entering and leaving the training class. She is doing this in a friendly sort of way and it drives me crazy. I think I'm going to have to talk to the insturctor.
Marylou said it right. It's basically a dog who overreacts to seeing another dog, person, or object. They usually act aggressively. Lunging, barking, snapping, hackles raised, etc. Some dogs are reactive all the time. Others are only reactive when restrained or confined (leash-reactive, etc.). And not all dogs are reactive for the same reason. Some are afraid. Some are frustrated that they can't interact with that other dog.
I call my pup dexter reactive (12 months). I use the word reactive with him, because when he is off leash with new dogs or dogs he knows, he loves it plays great (little bit of a bully but gentle bites ect...) , will peacefully pass by another dog with no problems.
When we are out on a leash and pass by another dog (high energy/ pup/ teenage male) Dexter locks on with his eyes and is like c-ya mom pulls to the end of the leash to try and meet the other dog, hits the end of the leash feels the tension, then barks loud excited and sometimes lunges or his shoulder hair will pop up. Ive been working with him to focus on me, U-turns, body blocks ect.. to prevent it, but this takes alot of repetition and time. I believe in his case it is a form of barrier frustration (Cant get up to what he wants, so he throws a temper tantrum, when he feels the tension on the leash)
To a person who knows nothing about dogs they think my dog is being "aggressive" I think there is a big line between true aggression and reactive frustration. But I also believe that reactivity if left untreated could most def turn into true dog aggression. So I would look at your dog a little closer, When dose your dog react, Is it every dog that gets in her space? or is s/he reacting to dogs across the room? Do you notice if you dog reacts when there is tension on the leash or dose your dog react when the leash is loose?? Hopefully your trainer will have great tips and be able to help you through this best of luck!!
Sometimes a reactive dog is a cuddly lump of a dog who gets over-excited/eager/tense about ONE thing.. and freaks out, due to frustration at being on-lead and not being able to get to or interact with, the object of his extreme interest.
Like Grimm-- does the hard-eyed stare at seeing another dog, hackles up, etc.. then if I do not interrupt him, he will lunge and bark. Truth is, if I cannot hold the lead and he breaks free-- he just gets to the other dog and franticly playbows, barking loudly. That alone could provoke a fight, especially if the other dog were fearful.
What do I do? Interrupt the Stare O' Intensity!
1.MEAN MOMMA VOICE.
2.Begin striding with extreme purpose and determination.. he'd better keep up!
3.Heel! Aaarriiight-- here's your TUGGY game! (tuggy toy hidden in my back pocket for walks)
4. If I need to, a throw chain tossed at his shoulder startles him out of The Stare.
This is a habit, too.... The Stare can be replaced by a better habit: "Ma! Ma!! A dog is there.. where's my tuggy game/ball/cookie?" Although with some dogs, using food here is a real danger, as they may defend their food source from the other dog. (fer real. does happen.)
I am too busy focusing on my dog and the instructor to really notice what other dogs are doing. I have the class tonight and am going to watch carefully to see how/when she reacts. She barked at a dog once but that dog was in a playfull stance of leaning on his front legs while his but is in the air. The owner also commmented that these dogs appear to like each other.
Right now there is no sign of aggression at all other than the desire to visit. I really wish I would meet other dogs on my walks so I could work on the passing.
dresden, my female barks in the yard at everydog or person who goes by. She's an angel on leash taking a walk, rarely barks at other dogs even if they charge her. She may snarl if another dog gets too close to her but that's just guarding her personal space.
I think it's less protective and more announcing herself 'Hey I live here, don't take a dump on my lawn!'