Is She Reactive?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by bekah1001, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I think my brother's dog is reactive. She seems to bark at everything and every little noise but she is the worst when she sees another dog or person. She goes into a crazy baring frenzy. Jenny is a very friendly dog, she does meet other off leash dogs running at the park and they become the best of friends. When we are in the car, she seems to be crazy. Is it reactivity?
    MaryK likes this.

  2. MaryK Honored Member

    There will be other much more experience people who can advise you but from my own personal experience I think Jenny is a little reactive. But not in a nasty manner. As she's friendly with other off leash dogs at the park and becomes best friends, I think she's wanting to be friends with dogs she sees from the car.

    I had this problem with Ra Kismet (before the big over reaction tantrum caused by the dog attack) he was fine with dogs he could 'meet and greet' on or off the leash but would start pulling and acting up on the lead if he couldn't meet and greet. In the car he'd bark like crazy if he saw another dog.

    I found the click/treat worked. "Look at me" click/treat and now, even after the big overreaction tantrum, he's almost as calm as his big bro Zeus.

    With the barking at every little noise. Is Jenny inside or out, or does it happen in both places, when she barks?

    What I always do with dogs is to check to see what they are barking at (not scream out BE QUIET like my partner) and when I find it's just something which to us is quite normal and ordinary (like a cherry picker with chaps in in checking the telegraph poles) I say "friend" cue for anything which is o.k. Doing this I have found that with all my dogs, past and present, they do not keep barking and actually learn that somethings are nothing to worry about.
    jackienmutts, Dogster and bekah1001 like this.
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Jenny is reactive. Doesn't mean she's aggressive (be it fear or anything else), just that she's reacting to her surrounding. Reactive. Yes. It sounds like she gets a bit too excited when she sees things she likes, can't wait to get to them, needs to be there NOW type thing. And you work with her just like you'd work with 'other' reactive dogs. How old is Jenny? And how long has this been going on? Just curious.

    I'm working with a 4 yr old Golden right now, who sounds just like Jenny. We're working on a lot of excercises to learn to self-calm (as she barks at anything that moves: birds, cars, bikes, skateboards, people, dogs, cats, ....) but is so friendly. She just goes into a state of hyper-arousal at the sight of any of the above. It's been a long haul, she's getting better, but still a long way to go. We work on a lot of LAT (look at that), lots of speed feeding thru arousing things when out on walks, I do lots of treat tossing as she gets very snarky (when highly aroused - good measure of her arousal), etc. Every day and every situation is different, we do lots of adjusting along the way (each day), she's made lots of progress over the last several months - with lots left to go.
    MaryK, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  4. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    This may also be a situation where toys rather than treats might work. It gives the dog something to do, and when you're in a situation where the dog is snatching treats but still focused on the stimulus, re-direction to a tug toy might just be the thing. This can lead to a dog who re-directs all by herself in time, which is also a good barometer of stress.
    MaryK and Dogster like this.
  5. MaryK Honored Member

    Yes Jenny will start to re-direct herself Ra Kismet is now doing that in all but 'extreme' i.e. dogs on footpath we have to pass, barking very close to fence (same side of the road) which he can see.

    It's an excellent barometer of their stress levels.
  6. MaryK Honored Member

    [quote="jackienmutts, post: 50166, member: 6409"I do lots of treat tossing as she gets very snarky (when highly aroused - good measure of her arousal), etc. [/quote]
    Thanks for reminding me Jackie of 'treat tossing', must remember that even though Ra Kismet seems to now be over the snarky stage.
  7. curls139 Well-Known Member

    Hi there just wanted to check, as didn't get from the original post how is she when on lead and not in the car, just on a normal walk?
    MaryK likes this.
  8. bekah1001 Honored Member

    Jenny is 5 years old (husky lab mix), and she been doing it ever since my brother moved in with us a year ago.
    She doesn't go for walks as much but for car rides to the park for an off leash run. She barks inside at every thing it seems, example, car door slamming, knocks and random bangs. When people come over, I just cant get her to stop barking her head off even if it is someone she really knows. People coming into the house, or someone knocking/ringing the doorbell seems to be the worst. That's when her barking is at its worst, (also the car). She charges at the door and bark and bark and bark. Sometimes she hear a noise and run to the door and bark even if there is no one there.
    A couple days ago we were in the car and my moms friend pulled up beside her and started talking to her and Jenny was so loud and would not stop barking.

    I think Im going to take for more walks so I can avoid people and dogs more than in the car but eventually she will be in the car and I don't know how to handle her in the car. The car is very exciting for her since it means we are going for a walk/adventure so I dont know if she'll take treats. I think I might work on a settle in the car so she might be more calm.
    Inside I've just been putting her upstairs everytime she barks.

    Sorry for not replying sooner
    MaryK likes this.
  9. MaryK Honored Member

    To me it sounds like Jenny needs more exercise. Walks, tricks, Agility too much energy so she's letting off steam. Car rides are grand, so too is the dog park but she may be needing a little one 'one on one' time with you. Dogs LOVE to go for walks with you, it's bonding time and although everything else is grand, that walks means so much to them.

    Both my boys LOVE the car, especially Zeus (he was literally born in a car) but if they just go for a car ride and do not get their walks, they're a bit restless, especially Ra Kismet as he's a lot younger.

    With the car, is it possible to have someone else sit in the back, for a while anyway, to help train her? It is well nigh impossible and dangerous to try to click/treat and drive at the same time. If she doesn't take treats, try distractions with a toy. Try to get help, someone in the back seat with her who can click/treat/distraction with toy.

    Also maybe try with the car stationary, in the drive way to begin with and then parked somewhere safe. That way, you would be able to click/treat/distract her yourself without any danger to anyone.
    bekah1001 likes this.
  10. curls139 Well-Known Member

    It sounds perhaps like MaryK suggested that because she has so much energy and intelligence, she has found a good way to 'let it out' and stimulate/entertain herself by barking. From what I understand barking for dogs can be rewarding in itself as a stimulating rewarding activity, almost 'something to do' to hear the sound of their own voice...even better if it gets a response from a human ('Be quiet' 'Shhh, I said No barking' etc, you don't sound as if you are doing this). My Mum's miniature schnauzer would bark at anything has now quietened down so much with more on lead walks and being given kongs and chew toys which tire her mentally.

    More on lead walks sounds like a perfect idea :D - maybe ask for eye contact at different times or simple behaviours or speed up/slow down the pace so her brain as well as legs are worked on the walk. There are also loads of free games and simple ideas inside the house that I use with Russell online that are really fun-from hiding food in cardboard boxes to quite complex games for v intelligent dogs which jenny might be (type in 'games to exercise your dogs mind' or similar) - then the simulation and reward comes from the things that are keeping her mind occupied and tiring her out mentally rather than Jenny barking to occupy herself.

    As for the car - if at the moment it is the thing that happens everytime just before she is getting out - maybe she is getting sooo exited as she knows she is going for a run that she can't contain herself and will bark with exitement. I guess it would be similar when dogs go beserk when they see a lead. The majority of advice I have read with this is to MAKE IT BORING. ie. do it over and over again without going anywhere exiting..maybe going to the car getting in then getting out, then mix it up sometimes go for a 3min drive round the block and back, get in then get out - so that car doesn't always equal walk which equals exitement. Then re-introduce sometimes going out for a run with the car.

    With the added mental stimulation inside the house and the extra walks she is getting with you and the car no longer being the only guaranteed promise of a walk....hopefully that could help?
    Dogster, MaryK and bekah1001 like this.
  11. bekah1001 Honored Member

    Thank you all so much!!!!!!!!!
    MaryK likes this.
  12. MaryK Honored Member


    You are always learning on this forum. That's a brilliant idea Curls, not read of that before. Thank you for sharing! Makes total sense!(y):):cool:
    bekah1001 likes this.

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