Why classroom training is not suitable for reactive dogs that bark, lunge, growl or attempt to hide when they see strangers or other dogs.
If your dog is reactive to strangers or other dogs and barks, lunges, growls, spins on leash or tries to hide, bringing him to a class for training will not help. In fact, it will almost certainly make the behaviors worse.
Won’t the dog get socialized in the classroom?
Many people believe that attending a training class will socialize their reactive dog, thereby eliminating barking, growling, lunging or hiding behaviors. This is a myth that can have serious consequences for your dog. Reactive behaviors rarely stem from a lack of socialization; they are almost always the result of fear. Improper training or handling of a reactive dog is virtually guaranteed to make the behaviors worse.
Here’s a human analogy. Let’s pretend that you are afraid of snakes. How would you feel if I tied you to me and made you go into a room filled with snakes that were freely slithering around the room? Everywhere you look, there’s a snake doing snake-like things such as hissing and flicking its tongue and slithering its way toward you. Would this scenario make you feel safe and secure? If you can still breathe right now, consider this question: Would you feel better or worse about snakes after being trapped in a room with them?
Fearful or reactive dogs require special handling to overcome their fears and learn that “the scary thing” is safe. This training begins at home where the environment and the dog’s exposure to “the scary thing” can be managed. As your dog’s mental stability depends on proper handling, our policy is not to allow reactive dogs in a classroom setting. Please call us today for information on how we can help your pet in a way that makes him feel safe.
What happens if I enroll my reactive dog and come to a class anyway?
We hope that you now understand that putting a dog in this situation will most certainly increase the dog’s fear and resultant anxiety responses. We take every precaution to protect dogs by asking you to confirm that your dog does not bark, growl, lunge or hide when he encounters strangers or other dogs before you submit your reservation. If you choose to enroll your dog anyway and he is reactive in class, we will have to ask you to take your fur-baby home. Class registrations are non-refundable- we implore you not to put your dog, or us in this awkward position.
Posted in: Dog Training FAQs