Leashed Dog lunging at another dogIs your dog displaying barking and lunging behavior towards other dogs or people? Take a deep breath – you’re not alone, and there’s no need for embarrassment. Your dog is going through a tough time, but we’re here to help without resorting to choke, prong, or shock collars.

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We understand how frustrating it can feel when you try to take a reactive dog on a walk and he lunges at the end of the leash.

Reactivity is a common concern, and we understand the multitude of questions that arise. While you can find additional information on our website, we want to address the issue comprehensively. It’s disheartening to witness so-called “quick-fix” solutions from other “experts” without considering the potential consequences of tools designed to correct behavior.

Behavior Change – Guiding Principles: To effectively address any behavior problem, two key steps are crucial. Firstly, identify when the behavior occurs – maintain a log or journal. Does it happen during visits, car rides, or outdoor walks? Is it directed at everyone or specific individuals or breeds? Once the timing is established, focus on preventing the behavior’s repetition while teaching your dog an alternative. This may involve temporarily avoiding certain situations or locations. Remember, change won’t happen if your dog keeps practicing the same behavior.

Beware of Unrealistic Promises: Be cautious of individuals, whether trainers or acquaintances, making guarantees about changing the behavior of a living being. Your dog is not a machine; it requires guidance and support, not fixing. Mastery of new skills takes time, just like learning to drive or breaking personal habits. Quick-fix solutions involving unpleasant tools may seem tempting, but consider if it’s the relationship you want with your furry friend. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior advises against the use of aversive methods in animal training or for the treatment of behavior disorders. 

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Mountainside Mutts offers the most up-to-date modern dog training. Als Allan has earned a SkillCheck for Click to Calm techniques. This SkillCheck was earned through Karen Pryor Academy (KPA).

A Real Solution for Reactivity: Understanding the reasons behind barking and lunging is crucial. For fear or strong dislikes, a two-step process of desensitization and counter-conditioning is necessary. Emotion-driven behavior requires training for an alternative response. Start at an achievable level, gradually increasing difficulty. Change won’t happen overnight, especially for long-standing behaviors. Consistent training, coupled with clear feedback, is essential for progress.

Proof of Progress: Change is possible with commitment. One inspiring example is a 3-year-old pit mix named Elsa. With consistent training and an incredible handler, Elsa transformed from an untrained, reactive dog to a calm, international traveling companion in just a few months. You can achieve similar results without resorting to tools that harm your dog – it requires effort, not force.

If you’re uncomfortable with prong, choke, or shock collars and want to address your dog’s undesired behaviors, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today, and let’s work together for a positive and trusting relationship with your canine companion.