January is Walk Your Pet Month, a great time to get outside and exercise with your pup. But what if your dog needs space from other dogs or people? Don’t resort to walking your dog at midnight. With patience, ongoing training, and expert advice, you can successfully manage your dog’s leash reactivity.
“It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the information circulating out there about what to do with your reactive dog and how best to help them improve,” said Scott Raymond, MS, CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer with Synergy Behavior Solutions in Portland, Oregon.
Misleading information can also result in the development of even more significant behavioral issues, he said.
“Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to punish a dog to make them act better,” Raymond said. “Having a consistent management plan and a solid rewards-based approach to training can help a lot.”
According to animal behaviorist, ethologist, and adjunct professor in zoology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB, it is important to gain confidence walking your reactive dog to build resilience—the process of adapting well in the face of significant stress.