News / December 14, 2023

Different Types Of Dog Reactivity

Dog reactivity is when a dog is overstimulated by a trigger or multiple triggers.

In these instances, dogs lose all control of their emotions and can be extremely difficult to handle. Although reactivity is usually recognised in its aggressive form, it can be both positive and negative. 

Dog Reactivity

Positive dog reactivity is when the trigger makes the dog too happy to the point where they lose control of their emotions. An example of this is when guests come into your home and the dog becomes overstimulated by this, so they are jumping up and demanding attention. The dog may be happy but is still exhibiting antisocial behaviour. 

Negative dog reactivity is when the dog has a fearful or unhappy association with a trigger. An example of negative reactivity would be the dog barking at another dog as it is frightened of it and wants it to go away. Negative reactivity in dogs is about aggression and it is a common misconception that a dog can be described as reactive but not aggressive. Lunging, barking, growling, trying to bite, etc…, are all examples of aggression. 

Positive and negative are the main two forms of dog reactivity but this can manifest itself in lots of different ways at different levels. Given the nature of animals, this cannot be as binary as just simply ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. For example, resource guarding is another form of reactivity. 

We often train dogs who resource guard here at Platinum K9. This is when a dog becomes defensive or aggressive to keep a person or a dog away from something they value. Typically this resource is food but it can be various other things such as a sofa or a bed, TV remote or toy, and some dogs may even resource guard a person in a possessive way rather than a protective way. 

Make sure to check out our Reactivity Series on YouTube for more information and advice about reactive dogs. Watch our Reactivity Series on Platinum K9 YouTube channel

For more information on our residential dog training services please contact us at or call us on 0115 646 0905.