How Long Does it Take for My Dog to Transform from Reactive to Calm?

How Long Does it Take for My Dog to Transform from Reactive to Calm?

The time it takes to calm a reactive dog depends on many factors so there is not a definitive answer.  Fearful and over reactive behavior will not go away on its own. The dog will not grow out of it. Left untreated, both the frequency and the intensity of the problems will increase. Reactivity is one of the hardest behaviors to deal with, but have you ever wondered why that is? You may never have even thought about reactivity before you got your dog, but now when your dog starts reacting, you find yourself reacting too!

You may get stressed at the very thought of going for a walk. Of course, it is not your dog’s fault. They are acting in response to an emotion – that might be fear, anxiety or frustration – and, when they react, that can make them feel better in the moment so they keep doing it. But we can teach them a better way to respond that also feels good.  Over time they can start to ignore what once caused a meltdown or maybe even enjoy meeting other dogs or new people. In order to make this shift, we need to create a calmer space for our dogs. They can’t learn when they are stressed. This is what our Reactive Training Program is designed to accomplish.

What are your dog’s triggers?

This program will give you all the support you need.. You will develop the right skills to teach calm and accommodate your dog’s reactivity! You’ll learn easy, fun and practical ways to keep your dog’s focus when there are distractions, how to manage situations where things are less than ideal, and how to bounce back when everything has gone belly up!

There are eight core areas that are addressed to ensure you tackle reactivity and develop the relationship of your dreams. In each session you will build core skills and progress through milestones until you have mastered each area. By the time you complete our program you will have clear step-by-step instructions to help you navigate problem behaviors with ease!

The core elements include:

  • Understanding – Learn what is behind your dog’s over-reactivity and why the impact is so great for you. Understanding creates compassion for you both.
  • Observing – Tune your observations skills and learn to interpret your dog’s communication.
  • Reset – Press the reset button for you and your dog so that you can begin to build a new future.
  • Building Confidence – Fear and insecurity in dogs can manifest to over reactive behaviors. Confidence building is a great way to instill courage in fearful canines.
  • Essential Skills – Learn the core skills that will help you and your dog make progress by starting training at a distance from triggers.
  • Growing Your Relationship – Having a happy and healthy relationship with your dog will have a huge impact on your training success.
  • Advancing Your Skills – Build on the skills you have developed with controlled exposure to real triggers..
  • Ready for the Real World – Take your training on the road to real environments.

Our eight week, one-on-one program is supported by videos and handouts that address these core elements.  It is designed by global leaders in the field of reactivity and is being taught world-wide with repeatable and successful results.  I have studied under world-class mentors and applied this training to Davy, my dog.  We have an awesome partnership today. I am passionate about helping others in my area with reactive dogs like Davy.   

Our Reactive Dog Training Program is a wonderful gift for you and your dog.  It builds confidence, calms anxiety, and provides support for your both.  It will help you establish an unbreakable bond with your furry companion.  Contact us for a fear-free, positive training experience that concentrates on your objectives and delivers the results you want.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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The Benefits of Teaching Your Dog a Nose to Hand Target.

The Benefits of Teaching Your Dog a Nose to Hand Target.

This is a simple, fun behavior where your dog bops their nose to the palm of your hand and is useful keeping your dog engaged with you around distractions. You can guide them to a specific location or teach them a new behavior. For example, if I want to move Davy, my German Shepherd, away from the front door – I go to the desired location and ask him to touch my hand. This activity can be used to move your pet off the sofa to another place or on the sofa for a cuddle. It takes a little training with treats to instill a solid hand touch.

To start, present your hand toward your dog and wait for them to investigate. If they are disinterested, smear some food on your hand than mark (say “Yes”) as soon as their nose makes contact with your hand and give them a treat. Repeat this a few times before making it more difficult by holding your hand further away. When your dog is doing really well and stepping in to make contact, you can roll their reward away from you so that they can come running back to you for the next repetition. Dogs love this fun game of dash and it helps to add more momentum to their nose touch. It’s also a confidence building exercise.

Anytime you teach your dog a new skill, it supports your bonding process. It’s simple, easy, fun, and can be a stepping stone to future skills and tricks like spin, down, and recall. Every good activity your dog learns can be used to replace or prevent undesirable behaviors.

If you have a fearful or reactive dog, hand targeting is a great way to distract them in the presence of a trigger before they get too excited. With practice, it is an easy way to regain your dog’s attention.

It can be a great management tool to move your dog closer to you to a better position for grooming and nail trimming. This will give you the chance to add duration to a hand target which may also be beneficial during veterinary exams. Most importantly, it can help to teach a reliable recall. It’s easier for your dog to perform a speedy, reliable recall when he already knows the skill of hand targeting.

Once you and your dog get the hang of this, you’ll find plenty of moments where it comes in handy! Happy Training.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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Looking forward: Our new signature offer

Looking forward: Our new signature offer

Davy, my reactive dog

An ah-ha moment with my reactive dog, Davy, that led to my new signature offerReactive Dog Training. People with reactive dogs have few resources to turn to for help – until now. I saw the need and decided to fill the gap for this small community of pet owners.

Reactive dogs can’t handle being in a class, are turned away from doggie day care, and are difficult to walk around the neighborhood. In fact, pet owners of reactive dogs find themselves doing little of the activities they planned to do with their pup. They avoid walking them, stop inviting visitors over, and grieve for the dog they wanted. I know these feeling as I have gone through this with my own dog – Davy.

I made it my quest to help Davy after he was asked not to return to Canine Good Citizenship Class (Who am I kidding? I knew he wouldn’t handle a bunch of strange dogs in the ring at the same time). My lifetime of working with dogs didn’t prepare me for a reactive one. But my quest to find the solution did. It was a game changer. I knew that there was a small community of dog owners who would benefit from learning the answers I found. It has been several months since I have been trialing this new program, and my clients are happy with the results.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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Are you struggling with a reactive dog?

Are you struggling with a reactive dog?

Turn reactivity to calm confidence with our new program. 

Crockett’s Critter Care is now offering reactive dog training.  As I have been working with several pets and their owners, I’ve created an eight week program to take reactive dogs to calm confident companions.

During this pilot program, your feedback will be invaluable to refining this new specialized training. As part of the first session you’ll have input on determining handout effectiveness, communication between sessions, and confirmation of the success of your practice sessions.  In appreciation for your contribution this eight-week individualized course is being offered at introductory rate of $600.

The pre-launch session has just a few more spots available for this summer. If you have a reactive dog that you’d like to train to be calm and confident, contact me to learn more and reserve your spot.

It is uncomfortable when you have a reactive dog. I know what it’s like: you peek out the window to see if it is a good time to venture out.  Then holding the leash very tightly in your hand, in case your dog pulls, lunges, or barks, you head out the door. You dread it when a bicycle rider approaches, children ask if they can pet your dog, or the mail truck passes you on the street. And worst of all is the cat or squirrel that magically appears and sends you pet into full alert.

Having a reactive dog can be worrisome, isolating, and physically wearing.  Walks are a challenge, going to the vets is a nightmare, and you stopped inviting visitors over a long time ago.  You love your dog, but sometimes you don’t like him.

I’ve been there.  In fact, that is why I am so excited about helping you and your dog cope with reactivity, calm your anxieties, and develop a better partnership. 

The program I offer is science-based, positive, fun, and a game changer.  My formerly reactive German shepherd Davy and I can now walk in the neighborhood, meet other dogs for a walk in the park, and remain calm when faced with challenges that used to be seen as threats.  Take advantage of the pre-launch introductory rate package of $600 for the full eight week program and transform your relationship with your dog.

TRUE TALES: Willow: A Budding Blossom

TRUE TALES: Willow: A Budding Blossom

Willow is a shy golden mix learns to warm up to the world.

I was delighted to hear from a returning client that she had adopted a rescue and wanted to schedule regular dog walks. I met Willow, an adult Golden Retriever mix, in December. Little is known about her past. She was raised as a farm dog, owners lost the farm, and she ended up in a rescue. She is an adult dog with good house manners. She likes food, brushing, cats, and her new owner. She dislikes car rides, noise, and nail trims. She is anxious around strangers. The only one she will go for a walk with is her owner. She has a lot of boundaries and won’t cross them unless she wants to.

At first, she remained in the closet on my visits. I lured her out with food – mostly string cheese. She would eat kibble in her bowl and retreat to the closet immediately after. A walk was not happening. This was our routine for about one month. Then I started distributing her kibble and a few treats around the house instead of in her bowl. At least she would have to sniff and move to eat. I started getting creative and placing food at different levels, surfaces, and hiding places. She’s a good hunter and sought out every morsel. Still no walk, but she would let me attach her leash. If I tried to get her to walk with me, she sat and put on the brakes.

She was getting used to me and would sit next to me for petting and brushing after her hunting expedition instead of retreating to her quiet spot. I always held back something yummy so she would associate me with things she liked. She didn’t mind dragging the leash around, but still sat when I picked up my end. Not going to walk outside for me yet. By now I am visiting Willow four times a week for four months. Our progress is measured in baby steps and wanes from time to time. I decided it was time for her to meet one of my employees. David is kind and gentle with animals and was able to entice Willow into the backyard first. Little breakthroughs finally led to a big win.

I’m glad that Willow has a wonderful home with a doting owner. Willow has come a long way from our first meeting. We still dream of taking her for a walk, but we will let her decide when that will happen. For now, we take pleasure that has accepted us enough to venture out of the closet to spend time with us and will go outside for a midday potty break. Our patience and kindness paid off.