Why Is My Dog Reactive To Some Dogs

Reactivity: Aggression and reactivity are sometimes mistaken. Reactive dogs overreact to specific stimuli or circumstances. Reactivity can be brought on by genetics, a lack of socialization, a lack of self-control training, an upsetting experience, or a combination of these factors, with fear frequently acting as the catalyst.

Reactive dogs have specific triggers, such as circumstances where the dog feels restrained on a leash, individuals wearing hats or beards, or young children. The best thing you can do is give a reactive dog room if he approaches you. Do not try to greet him by approaching. Working with a trainer to try behavior modification methods that will address the source will help prevent the escalation of aggressiveness if you have a reactive dog.

Fight or Flight: The most frequent catalyst for aggressiveness is fear. Normally, a dog would prefer to flee from whatever is troubling him when he is terrified or feels threatened. When a dog is cornered or confined and unable to escape, he may engage in combat to defend himself. Only their body language may serve as a warning when a dog is fearful. Bites are often fast snaps that can happen when the victim is walking away and turning his back.

If people knew that a dog might interpret their conduct, even when we believe it to be friendly, as dangerous, there would be fewer bites. For instance, a dog can feel frightened if we lean over and reach out to pet the top of his head. Lack of socializing is another major factor in canine phobias. A dog is less likely to be scared if it has favorable early experiences with many types of people, sounds, and environments. It will also be helpful to teach a dog to unwind when being handled.

Resource Protection

Dogs have a tendency to guard items they feel are valuable. Toys, food, bones, sleeping quarters, and even humans can be among these goods. This propensity arises from the fact that dogs are descended from wild predecessors that had to guard their resources in order to survive.

It is possible to stop this habit by teaching your dog commands like “leave it,” “out,” and “put or “off.” Another effective strategy for dealing with resource guarding is to trade with your dog, offering him the item he is guarding in exchange for a reward, or to step away from the dog’s bowl while it is being fed and drop a treat inside.

Reactive Leash

Leash-reactive dogs often growl, bark, or lunge in the direction of things that frighten or frighten them. These triggers can be particular, such as children, men, people wearing hats, or male/female dogs, and they can be other dogs or people. Dogs who exhibit these actions are attempting to avoid a fight by removing the threat or putting more space between themselves and it.

Why does my dog react differently to different dogs?

  • Bodily Expression
  • Your dog can pick up on something negative in another dog’s body language. When this occurs at a distance, your dog may already have decided what to do before the dogs ever meet. Overly enthusiastic dogs or dogs that adopt domineering postures repel a lot of dogs. Since Haley has always been a little hyperactive, she often sets off reactive dogs and performs best when she meets calm dogs.
  • Scent
  • A dog can discern a great deal of details about another dog, even one that is quite a distance away, thanks to their extraordinary sense of smell. Your dog might not like the other dog’s fragrance for some reason or it might make him think of another dog he didn’t get along with in the past.
  • Previous encounters
  • Your dog can avoid or react negatively to other dogs that appear or smell similar if they caused them distress in the past. Due to a negative encounter with an aggressive Goldendoodle in our area, Haley occasionally becomes anxious when she sees other Goldendoodles. It’s also intriguing how she behaves more amicably around canines that resemble buddies she used to play with.
  • Gender
  • Some dogs will rather interact with canines of the other sex than canines of their own sex.
  • Protectiveness
  • When other dogs approach too closely, canines that are possessive, possessive, or jealous may not like them. If they were playing alone, they might get along just well, but while defending something they value, they feel threatened and respond defensively.
  • Your Mentality
  • Dogs are experts at interpreting our emotions and body language. They are susceptible to our tension when we become tense. When a dog starts to react to other dogs, we may get anxious or afraid each time they encounter a new dog, which can create a vicious cycle (excuse the pun).

There is no reason to be concerned or feel that you haven’t socialized your dog sufficiently if he occasionally ignores another dog, just like we humans don’t like everyone we meet. It’s acceptable if some canines prefer to spend their time hanging out with people over other dogs. However, working with a positive-reinforcement trainer or behaviorist in your region may help desensitize your dog and lessen your stress if you have a dog that is highly reactive, defensive, or violent towards other dogs.

Does your dog prefer certain dogs over others? Post a comment below to let us know what you think!

Why does my dog get defensive with some dogs?

While you may not be able to change your dog’s behavior to make it more like other dogs, there are things you can do to support them in controlling their improper, antisocial behavior. Dog aggression is a significant issue.

Why does my dog hate other dogs?

Usually, dogs will act aggressively against other dogs out of either fear or a perception that the other dog poses a threat. Your dog might feel threatened or in danger, or they might even be defending you from an apparent danger. Dog aggression is typically caused by poor socialization or a traumatic event that has happened in the past.

Signs your dog dislikes other dogs

  • barking, snarling, or grunting
  • exposing their canines
  • focusing solely on another dog
  • raised eyebrows
  • forward-facing ears
  • rigid tail
  • pulling the lead or lunging at it
  • biting

Management and treatment

It is essential that you get assistance from a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if your dog’s behavior is unsafe.

If your dog’s behavior is moderate, you might attempt desensitizing and positive association to help your dog get used to being around other dogs. This is introducing your dog to other dogs gradually and associating the experience with positive reinforcement, such as a treat.

My dog growls at some dogs but not others. Why?

You might be wondering why your dog behaves in this manner in some circumstances but not in others. Two other factors that frequently affect dogs’ reactions and behaviors are listed below. They have two senses: one is scent, the other is eyesight.

Dogs have incredibly keen senses of smell. In comparison to humans, dogs often have a 10,000–100,000 times higher sense of smell. So your dog might growl for something in a person’s scent that you would never even notice. Dogs also associate objects based on their smells. Just because they are familiar with the smell, they may growl if it reminds them of a traumatic event or a terrifying circumstance.

Dogs rely on their vision to react and respond, even though it is not quite as sensitive as their sense of smell. They are able to distinguish between good and bad people. They are able to discern characteristics. Many dogs have adverse reactions to being near males. This could be a result of past trauma or abuse, or it could just be a personality trait unique to the dog. No of the reason, a dog may growl if they notice a man approaching them.

Can you treat a hyperactive dog?

Any breed of dog can become reactive, although guard dogs or high-strung herding types tend to exhibit it more frequently.

Australian Shepherds, Heelers, German Shepherds, and crosses of those breeds are the canine breeds where reactivity is most prevalent.

Any age dog can begin training to reduce reactivity. It is important to keep in mind that retraining a dog will take longer the longer a behavior has been engrained.

It is impossible to foresee whether the dog will be “cured” in the sense of being entirely fine around his triggers. But with the correct training method, all dogs can significantly improve.

She began by only teaching her own Border Collies, then gradually added local workshops and seminars. Today, she travels to Europe to instruct students from all over the world on how to train their dogs in a fun, positive, game-based manner.

She is renowned for her straightforward, step-by-step instruction that enables both novice and experienced dog trainers to see tangible results very fast.

Will a dog’s responsiveness fade over time?

Everyone is aware that puppies ultimately outgrow some undesirable traits.

They will, for instance, refrain from putting everything in their mouths or attempting to chew our shoes. Between the ages of 1 and 2 years, puppies also typically become lot calmer and more mature. Unfortunately, sensitivity is not one of the puppy habits that gradually goes away.

Do not assume that a young dog who is reactive will eventually outgrow it if you have one. Reactivity actually tends to get worse over time, which is frequently true. This is due to the fact that a dog’s future stress reactions to triggers will be stronger if he consistently experiences unfavorable events. Training your dog to be reactive is essential.

Dog-Reactive Puppy

Reactive young dogs typically exhibit this behavior between the ages of 6 and 12 months. Your level of concern should increase as soon as your dog demonstrates reactive behaviors. You must immediately seek out expert assistance if your puppy is under 8 months old and displaying reactive behavior.

Because they lack the ability to protect themselves, young pups are naturally friendly toward all people and other dogs. This made the most sense in evolution because it ensures that they would be safe and not take part in any escalation.

While a puppy doesn’t exhibit the typical puppy enthusiasm when encountering other canines, there may already be underlying reactivity present that needs to be addressed. Don’t just try to introduce your reactive dog to another canine.

Certain breeds are more likely to result in canine-reactive offspring. These are specifically breeds of guard and herding dogs. For instance, if you have a Belgian Malinois puppy, you should be very aware of any potentially aggressive traits.

How Can You Tell If A Dog Is Reactive?

Many young canines lack self-control and seek immediate fulfillment in all aspects of life. They can rear up on their leashes, bark, and lunge when they encounter another dog they want to play with but cannot immediately begin the game. This will appear to be reactivity, and it might even be a symptom of reactivity on a leash.

The distinction is in the motivational force driving the behavior. Reactive behaviors are driven by negative emotions including fear, tension, anxiety, and “anger.” However, overly ecstatic dogs are typically unhappy and agitated because they want to play.

Put your dog’s ideas into words to determine if he is reactive or not. A dog that is upset thinks:

“I desire for this other dog to vanish. He has no place in my life. He stresses me out. He need to just go.

However, a dog that is too excited would believe:

“I desperately want to head over there and play! I don’t wish to be restrained. I want to have fun and be free!

You can tell if your dog is extremely excited or reactive by watching how they act.

Can Reactive Dogs Be Rehabilitated?

If your dog exhibits signs of reactivity after careful observation, don’t be concerned—reactive canines can learn to control their behavior.

The first crucial step is to stop letting the dog continue to internalize his reactivity. For the majority of owners, this entails adopting lifestyle adjustments.

You should choose an alternative time to walk your dog if, for instance, your neighbor walks his dog at the exact same time that you walk yours every morning at 8 a.m., setting off yours in the process.

In fact, some owners of aggressive dogs must temporarily cease taking their pets for walks. This is due to the fact that your dog’s reaction will become even more ingrained each time he is pushed above his limits.

It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective that extremely traumatic and bad experiences be retained in memory for a long period. It stops dogs, along with all other animals, from constantly putting themselves in risky circumstances.

Unfortunately, it also means that teaching a reactive dog requires careful planning. Your dog will develop an even worse attachment to his trigger if you put him in a training environment where he will fail and “flip out.”

However, you can definitely assist your reactive dog in improving using the proper methods.

How Do I Train My Dog To Be Less Reactive?

Treats are going to be your best buddy; they’ll help you establish a fresh, fulfilling relationship. You don’t have to be concerned about spoiling your dog or turning him into a treat addict: Your dog will advance faster if you utilize goodies more liberally throughout training.

Your training scenarios should be prepared in advance. Going outside is almost always a poor decision “observe the results with a hyperactive dog. Ask a friend to help you train their dog and their dog instead.

Begin in a roomy, open area. Drop some treats on the ground as soon as your puppy notices the other dog. You wish to instruct him “A new dog is a sign of excellent things to come.

Your puppy is too close to the other dog if it is barking and lunging at it. Retry at a greater distance after moving away. Remember once more:

Move closer if your puppy can calmly consume the treats while being far away from the other dog. Before you can close the gap between your dog and the assistance dog, you could require multiple sessions. That is totally OK! Always remember: It’s better to move slowly and steadily than to push your dog above his barrier and offend him.

Do Reactive Dogs Get Better With Age?

They unfortunately don’t. Reactivity is an engrained reaction that only improves with regular and successful training. Never discipline a hyperactive dog; doing so will leave a lasting unfavorable impression and may make it difficult to deal with his hyperactivity in the future.

Around their first birthday, the majority of dogs start to exhibit reactivity. Do not delay if your dog suddenly displays reactive behaviors; the sooner you address them in training, the more likely it is that you will be able to assist your dog in making speedy progress.

Our Tackling Reactivity Course provides a comprehensive training program for reactive dogs, including advice from our experienced trainer, from beginning to end!

A dog is likely to remain hyperactive for the rest of his life if this behavior is not addressed in training.

Are Reactive Dogs Dangerous?

In fact, aggressive dogs can be harmful. You are in charge of maintaining constant control over your dog as the owner. When there are other dogs and people nearby, you should never allow a reactive dog off the leash. Make sure your yard is enclosed and that your dog cannot escape the premises.

You must constantly watch over and control your dog, especially around smaller dogs and children. Daily biting incidences are common because of dog reactivity.

It is impossible to foresee exactly how a reactive dog will behave when his trigger is around or when he is off-leash. Always err on the side of caution, and use several different layers of security.

When taking a reactive dog on an outing, muzzles can be a fantastic method to increase safety. Your dog can become accustomed to wearing a muzzle with some positive training. Start out by merely letting your dog wear it for shorter amounts of time indoors at first, and pair it with some delectable treats. Many dogs are prepared to wear the muzzle on brief walks within two weeks if done patiently.

The Bottom Line

They regrettably don’t. Reactivity can only be overcome via persistent, constructive training. Never chastise a dog for being hyper; doing so will make the problem worse. You should seek professional assistance, especially if you have a young dog who suddenly displays reactive behavior. Our Tackling Reactivity Course is a cost-effective remedy!

It is highly likely that your dog’s sensitivity will get a lot better over time if you continue to routinely work on it. Consider dedicating one to two months to your training. However, if done correctly, you ought to start noticing some improvements as soon as next week.