Category Archives: Dog reactivity

Emotions Are Part of the Learning Process

Blog post also published in Speaking of Dogs May 2016 Newsletter.

As humans we have all experienced how emotions affect our ability to learn. For example, think back to when you were learning a new language at school: if you were feeling happy and your teacher was encouraging and supportive, you put time and effort into mastering the skill so you could put it to good use. And even now, when you speak that particular language it may bring back good memories and feelings.Photo: Aino Mutka

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Fast Moving Objects Are Back – HELP! My Dog Is Going Crazy!

This article was also published in Speaking of Dogs June 2014 Newsletter:

We had long winter months where most people preferred to stay indoors, the parks were empty, and you could have long walks with your dog in the city and barely see anyone. The warm weather arrived pretty suddenly and has now caught some of us dog owners by surprise. All of a sudden skateboarders are passing us left and right, mountain bikers dive out of the bush right in front of our dogs’ noses, joggers have multiplied by the hundreds, and just as you are about to put that poop bag in the garbage, a cyclist passes you and your dog at the speed of light and at a distance of an inch.


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I Want My Dog to Just “Get Along” with Everyone

This article was also published in Speaking of Dogs December 2014 Newsletter:

When we send out questionnaires to clients who sign up for behaviour modification training because their dog is reactive toward dogs or people, we always ask the question: “What are your expectations from the training sessions?” The title of this article is the most common answer that I have seen, and every time I see it confuses me: what does “getting along” mean?
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The biggest killer for a reactive dog is…unpredictability.

The foundation of training a reactive dog is management to keep the dog’s stress level down and to prevent them from practicing the unwanted behaviors. We talk about this constantly in our Cranky Canine classes. I have always understood that management is difficult in a city of over 5 million people and certainly have experienced it myself, too. Nevertheless, I always wondered, why on earth do people find it so difficult. Well, this summer I certainly discovered that for me it was impossible.

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Life happens when training a reactive dog

If you have ever worked with a reactive dog, you most likely have heard how important it is to work your dog under threshold and not when your dog is already barking and lunging. This is the goal, manage the environment the best you can, always set your dog up for success. Nevertheless, life happens and will happen. No matter how we try our best, we cannot completely exclude reactive outbursts, and frankly I don’t even think it is realistic. Continue reading

Why I prefer Cranky Canine to private reactive dog sessions

Aino Mutka has kindly provided Cranky Canine a lot of amazing photos of her Finnish Lapponian Herders, Pi and Rho.

A new year has started again and it is soon time for our fourth series in Cranky Canine program for reactive (I’m always tempted to use quotes around this word!) dogs to kick in. Why did we start doing this program, what do I know about aggressive behaviors in dogs? Continue reading

My Dog is Socially Retarded and Friendly! -Blog entry by Ayella Grossman

Ayella Grossman of Oracle Australian Shepherds and BauHound Haus in Milton, ON, is an accomplished breeder and trainer, who knows a lot about canine body language. I am pleased to share on my blog her thoughts about the hazardous ‘My Dog Is Friendly’-dogs and their owners.

Diva, a proud Oracle mother, is teaching her puppies language skills.

My dog is Socially Retarded and Friendly!

It seems that dog trainers and responsible dog owners have reached the end of their leash. Recent articles, blog posts and responses from trainers all over North America are saying the same thing: keep your dog on a leash if you don’t have them under strong voice control! The reason is simple: an out of control dog rushing to a dog who is under control is a recipe for a disaster (notice how I removed the leash from that equation and it’s still true). Continue reading