What a fantastic book with practical applications for working with a reactive dog.
If you have never read a dog behavior book before and you are trying to work with your own, or help someone with their reactive dog, then this book will be immensely helpful. The beginning of the book covers basic dog behavior, how dogs learn, and what can cause reactivity. Brown also covers basic learning theory and ways to manage a reactive dog safely before you even start training.
When clients call me with reactive dog issues they are scared, frustrated and want it to end… NOW please. And boy, can I relate. Dogs can become reactive for all sorts of reasons, you can have a very well socialized dog that as he gets older decides he doesn’t like to be bowled over and jumped on by ill-mannered puppies. Or maybe a single traumatic event happens and now he thinks all dogs are scary. For whatever reason you now have a reactive dog and you are struggling to manage your dog’s triggers. This situation is stressful, it is frustrating, but believe me, you are not the only one with a reactive dog and there are effective ways to manage the situation and help your dog learn to cope.
Rehabilitating a reactive dog can take weeks or months. Rehabilitation never really ends. You will always have to maintain a certain level of practice for your dog to continue to feel safe and non reactive. Learning how to rehabilitate your dog is more of a lifestyle change than a training program. This can seem daunting, but when your dog is a member of your family and a good friend, it is much more daunting to think about giving them up and passing on your responsibility to someone you don’t know and may just make things worse (yes I know I have trust issues).
So if you are struggling with a reactive dog, stop being embarrassed, realize that many people have gone through this before and have successfully rehabilitated dogs. Get this book and get a good behaviour professional to help you out!