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5 Fun things you can do with a reactive dog

04/04/2022 - Puppy & Dog Training Advice

Every dog owner wants to see their best friend enjoying life. So, it can be incredibly tough for those of us with reactive dogs. For reactive dogs, the world can often be a scary and stressful place, and this can limit our options when it comes to giving our dogs fun, varied experiences. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways we can still give our dogs fun experiences even if the traditional walks in popular areas are not our dog’s idea of a good time! Here are our top recommendations for fun things to do with your reactive dog

Hire a Secure Field
Secure fields are becoming more and more popular and therefore more and more commonplace! These are large, private, fenced fields which can be hired for a set amount of time. They are a great place to get our dogs out and about without worrying about running into triggers. Many of them also have fun enrichment stations installed! We highly recommend these for giving your anxious friend some space to run free and enjoy the great outdoors peacefully.

Scent Work
Scent work comes in many forms. This could be as simple as scattering food around the house or garden for your dog to find, or as complex as detection dog training! Getting our dogs using their noses is a great way to tire out any dog, but it is particularly good for our anxious dogs as it promotes calmness and is a real feel-good activity. Check out our blog on the benefits of scent work to find out more. Even if a class environment is too much for your pup, we offer our popular Scent Detectives course online – so there is no need for your dog to miss out! You can find the course via our Dogversity online training portal. Scent work is a wonderful activity that you can do anywhere, so this is a great way to enjoy quality time with your reactive dog in a safe space.

Online Training Classes
All training is wonderful enrichment for our dogs. One reason that we, as trainers, are so passionate about training is because we love to see the way your dogs light up when they get the opportunity to use their brains, learn new things, problem solve and – above all – work directly with you, their favourite human! It is a wonderful way to develop your bond with your dog, building communication and trust as well as empowering our dogs. These are all valuable things for any dog, but particularly for our anxious dogs. Training can also be a wonderfully social experience for us humans, too – and there’s no need to miss out on the community aspect of training. Joining online classes is a great way to be able to train alongside like-minded people and enjoy a group activity with your dog. You can find our online classes here.

Graduating from Dogversity!
What better way to keep yourself and your pup motivated to learn new things and do more, than to work your way through out Dogversity graduate programme? From Beginners School, through Secondary School and all the way to earning your Dogploma, Dogree and Dogtorate – these courses are a wonderful way to keep your training sessions varied and exciting and to track your accomplishments together!

Free Work
Free work is a wonderful way to help dogs to build their confidence, as well as giving us a chance to learn a little more about our dogs, their preferences and what they are more or less confident around. Free work was created by Sarah Fisher of Animal Centered Excellence and consists of laying out a variety of different objects of various textures such as towels, cardboard, bits of old carpet, snuffle mats, ball pits etc. You can even use sturdy boxes and anything else you have lying around that is safe for your dog to interact with. You will also need to provide your dog with a couple of different water receptacles as well as scattering a variety of different treats around of different textures, such as chews and lickimats. The idea of free work is to give your dog the choice of what to interact with and plenty of opportunity to be reinforced for choosing to investigate – it should never be about pressure or trying to make our dogs do anything in particular. The more free work that you do, the more you will see your dog’s confidence grow and they will look forward to these sessions! When you live with a nervous dog, creating an environment where you can watch them thrive and feel calm and confident is a beautiful thing, both for them and for us! You can find more information regarding how to implement free work at home via our Dogversity platform.

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