Dog Reactivity…. Are dog parks the major cause of it?

Dog reactivity is a touchy subject and so easily splits dog lovers.

I may offend some dog lovers in this blog.  If I do then I hope you read to the end, to consider a different point of view.

If you have a dog that is reactive… the mental energy that goes into considering all the factors that you can control to help your dog have a calm outing is exhausting.

Reactive dog owners don’t go out of their way to make their dogs react and act out.  They try to do everything to avoid that. Muzzles, Halti’s, harnesses, high fences, screening, not going to off-lead areas, crossing the street, or timing their walks when it is not busy.

Their goal is to have an uneventful, calm walk for and with their dog.

Why is their dog reactive .?…   99.9% of the time through absolutely no abuse? Rarely is reactivity caused by one single terrible event.

It comes down to the dog not trusting their environment. The owner is not aware that their dog is not coping and continues to expose their dog to the same routine and so expose them to the same unpleasant scenarios again and again.

This is where we are failing as a community, we seem to be labeling reactive dog owners as bad owners. They did something wrong. when I truly believe in most cases, it takes a dog community to make a dog reactive !!!!!

Being able to read your dog’s body language is key.

In this video, everyone is standing around completely oblivious to what is going on.   People are happily chatting proudly discussing their dogs .. very few are watching their dogs and puppies. Often puppy owners are made to feel they have to go by the advice of the older dog owners since they have been going to this park for longer.

If you have not clicked the link, then please do,  this is so important to make you a better dog owner.

No one would want this, for their dog  It may appear that the border collies grey or brown are aggressive but in fact, they have been policing, where the humans had no idea. They have simply had enough.

Left to have to manage situations like this again and again because the owners have no idea,  each morning in the same park, you can see where reactivity comes from and some dogs end up hating others by sight!

Unfortunately, we do have a culture where owning a dog makes you a so-called expert. I would like this to stop.

Take the time to watch these videos and start sharing this blog ..  start getting some education for your dog community, and start making your dog park a safer place for all dogs.

Raise your hand and acknowledge the dog on the lead, across the street. Yell out “Thank you” to the dog owner who crossed the road, to get out of your path, to keep both dogs calm and safe.  Praise them for their efforts and respect for their and your dog.

When dogs first become reactive there is a stage of denial.   Everyone and every dog website is offering advice. Every dog owner is trying to give advice!

More exposure is often the advice but you can see that without education you are creating more issues with more dogs!!!!

As dog owners, we need to get our communities better educated.  Those owners who think they have social dogs in the park often are the ones who have the least dog body language knowledge.

I know that hurts to hear … but I feel it is time dog park communities take responsibility too.

Training is essential to every dog. the more trained your dog is the easier is it to call them away, and the easier it is to notice when they are unconfrontable or overly excited. the less trained they are you may think this hyper-activity is happiness and you may become the owners who say

” it’s ok he is friendly ”

I will leave it there for another time …

Please reach out to a professional trainer if you need help. If you would like more assistance from us contact