What is a reactive dog?
They are not bad dogs. They are not broken dogs that need to be fixed. Their personality is not reactive.
Reactive dogs are often what we refer to as barky lungey dogs. They respond to things in the environment such as humans, dogs, cars, or bikes. Sometimes they are responding out of fear, sometimes they are responding out of excitement, or sometimes both.
But that reactive behaviour is not all a dog is. Most of the time a reactive dog likely hangs out at home with his humans and is cuddly or playful or funny or any other number of things. We often miss the good in dogs and focus on the bad.
My dog, Luna, can be reactive to humans and dogs. It can be very embarrassing and isolating to deal with. I have put a lot of time and work into helping her find better ways to act. We avoided walking in neighborhoods for a long time because it would stress me out as much as her.
Luna isn’t just reactive. Most of our day we don’t even have to worry about it. We hang out on the couch watching TV. We play tug in the park. We train tricks in the living room. We eat ice cream on the deck. We go swimming at the creek.
Luna is a great dog and often others miss it since all the see is her being reactive.
Don’t be too hard on dogs you see barking and lungeing. It can be hard to own a reactive dog. So don’t judge them and tell them their dog isn’t good. Their dog is awesome and you are just missing it.