HELP! Why Is My Dog Reactive On Walks?

If your dog is dragging you around on every walk, barking at every dog in sight, kicking off at people, or chasing traffic – then this post is for you!

For those who may not already know us, we’re Valorant K9 Academy and we’re the leading dog behaviour specialists based in the North East. We work almost exclusively with reactivity and aggression, across all breeds, sizes and temperaments, and have helped clients nationwide. It’s what initially got us into training dogs, and it’s what we’ll be doing for as long as there are dogs and owners that need help.

If you own or have owned a reactive dog, you’ll understand that feeling of stress, worry and embarrassment when it comes to walks. Often resulting in late evening or early morning walks, hiding behind cars and trees, and quickly taking evasive action from approaching dogs.

So what’s going on? Why do some dogs behave like this while others seem to have no issues at all?

The truth is that reactivity and aggression are complex emotional problems – no surprises there! And getting to the bottom of them isn’t always as simple as rewarding or punishing behaviours. We need to observe, understand, and support our dogs through what they’re having a hard time with.

From our experience we’ve found that owners are looking to find ‘the reason’ that their dogs are behaving the way they are, when in reality it’s down to a multiude of them all acting in tandem together. From a lack of appropriate socialisation or genetic predispositons, to no obedience or boundaries, to conditioned experiences and learned behaviours.

So, what exactly do you need to do about it?

Sadly you can’t fix issues like reactivity and aggression online, and it is one of the areas of dog training that does require hands on training with an experienced and knowledgeable professional dog trainer. Once you understand what’s going on, which areas you can be working on, and have a plan of action moving forwards, you and your dog will be off to the races.

Helping a dog overcome their reactivity is a journey, not a single event. It can be a difficult journey with ups and downs, but anything worth having is on the other side of something difficult.

Support your dog towards being the absolute best they can be.

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