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Reactive Dog JRT mix (Please check out!)

551 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Lillith
I have a small JRT mix (About 12 pounds) who has some of the worst reactivity issues. He’s about 9 months old, but screams and barks like it’s nobody’s business whenever there’s a dog or person near by.

I’m a younger teenager, so I’m not able to get a job to hire a trainer. My parents have already refused to get one.

He’s both people and dog reactive, and very loud about it, which is probably the worst part about it. He hates being approached by other dogs, especially. I believe this is mostly because a few months ago we were attacked by a large black shepherd mix. (Might be fear based reactivity?)

I’ve tried for months to get this issue under control, but I’m at my wits end. No method has worked with him, but I don’t want to just give up.


Any advice will be VERY appreciated. I will respond to most things in this thread if possible so that we can all attempt to clean up this mess.
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First, I would check out this thread which provides many resources for reactive dogs. It's a great place to start and find some in-depth information and training guides. They're quite good at explaining the process.

There are many different types of reactivity, and the method for counter conditioning is the same for all. He could very well be fear reactive, or he could be frustration reactive, meaning he gets frustrated he can't immediately go see the people/dogs. The two look very much the same, usually. Either way, it needs some fixing!

Many dogs also don't like being approached by other dogs (especially off-leash dogs) when they are on-leash because it makes them feel restricted and unable to defend themselves. It also isn't a natural form of greeting for dogs. Don't let your dog greet other dogs when he is on leash.

I have a dog who was extremely reactive, especially at that age. That 6-10 month age range is often considered their "teenage phase", as they are often more likely to "rebel" and try things their own way, magically forget commands they once knew, and sometimes they're just obnoxious and pushy about everything. Know that some of that may be at play here as you proceed, and progress can be slow and often seem to backslide, but as your dog gets older you'll notice a marked improvement.

Another piece of advice I can give from experience is start small, and start far away. You don't want to go to the most crowded park in your area when you begin, and you don't want to immediately start by trying to pass people on the sidewalk. I would often cross the street if I saw people coming when we started to prevent a reaction. Start in a minimally populated area where you can easily create enough distance from people and dogs that your dog can see them, but isn't reacting.

It is a long process and can sometimes be so very frustrating, but stick with it!
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