…continued from Why is my dog reactive aggressive? Part 1
A reactive dog is not a wicked dog. Dogs do not understand our perception of ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ They do what is instinctive for them to do. What they have learned works for them. Growing up as humans, we are taught social skills. We learn how to behave socially. We understand an appropriate way to behave, in response to the difficulties life throws at us. We understand that we must restrain our emotions at times. The ability to do this, makes us mentally stronger individuals, and better able to deal with future challenges.
Reactive dogs need specialist training to overcome their genetic and learned behaviour. But that training needs to be blended with an understanding of appropriate behaviour or social skills. There are many well trained dogs, that have no understanding of how to ‘behave’ socially. A dog recalling in a quiet field is training. But that training loses value if he reacts or tries to attack every dog/person on the way to the field.
It is the owners/trainer relationship with the dog that dictates how the dog behaves or responds to real environments. A dog with good social skills, that understands that there is an expectation in terms of behaviour, in all environments, has more benefits than a dog who has a fast recall in an empty field. Of course, the ideal, is to have both elements with your dog. Good social skills and good practical obedience. Social skills must always come first because that allows your dog to perform its training in all environments.
Our residential dog training at Platinum K9, is successful because we recognise and place huge emphasis on a blend of practical obedience and social skills. Whilst also, creating good leadership behaviours from the owners, which underpins a healthy and enjoyable human/dog relationship.