You’re trying to walk your dog, but it’s stressful because every time another dog appears, your dog goes nuts. Barking like mad. Lunging. Growling. You’re holding on for dear life, trying to pull your dog away while shouting apologies at the other dog’s human. Your worst nightmare is meeting up with an off-leash dog when you’re on a walk. In fact, you’ve given consideration to not walking at all because it’s just so difficult to control your dog.
You’re not alone.
What you have is a reactive dog. What we have are expert trainers and dedicated training assistants. Our job is to take your dog from barking and lunging at the sight of another pooch to calmly looking back at you. These are intensive classes that require you do your homework during the week, but they deliver results!
Latte’s mom couldn’t take him for a walk without him making a scene every time he spotted another dog. Here he is on the last day of Reactive Dog Class.
What Is Reactive Dog Class?
These classes give you and your dog the tools to go out and about without the stress you’re experiencing now. You may not have a dog that likes other dogs, but by the end of the class, you should have a dog that looks to you for guidance rather than taking the situation into his own paws.
We have three options:
8 week Reactive Dog Class (Wednesday nights)
Instructor: Michelle Mange (Right Start Maryland)
In our eight-week Reactive Dog Class, students are able to take more time to achieve their goals. However, to succeed, students have to do homework outside of class. Dogs don’t come in for the first three weeks, while students work with their coaches in class and their dogs at home. When the dogs start coming to class, each student/dog team comes in one at a time along with their personal coach. The dogs have two leashes, one held by the coach, and are behind screens. They come out to practice with a neutral dog before working with each other.
We focus on these aspects of on-leash dog-on-dog aggression.
- Changing your dog’s emotional response to other dogs
- Management techniques
- to prevent your dog from practicing the behavior
- to remove your dog quickly and easily from something unexpected
- Distraction and fun on walks to help your dog focus less on the outside world
- Owner confidence -You learn and practice what to do and are less anxious with your dog in public
- Reducing your dog’s overall arousal level
- Equipment that can help keep your dog from pulling (without using choke, prong, or electronic collars)
5 week Growly Dog Intensive Class (Friday afternoons)
Instructor: Alfhild (Al) Winder (Come When Called)
Fridays, 1:15 – 2:45pm
Only 4 students in each five-week session
The goal of the Growly Dog class is to develop the skills to walk your dog on leash in public, in proximity to various dogs, without barking and lunging and to reach that goal within four weeks. The class is limited to four dogs and serious owners who are willing to invest sufficient time and energy to effect rapid change in their dogs’ behavior. You will receive copious guided practice in class with a knowledgeable personal coach and a variety of stimulus dogs. You will also receive handouts detailing fail-safe exercises to do at home and in your neighborhood. Students are expected to make time for daily practice.
Students enrolled in this class will receive instructions two weeks before class to condition their dogs to wear halters and muzzles. Students will need to purchase a Snoot Loop halter, a front attach ring harness (unless they have one already), a muzzle, and a six-foot leash with clips at each end. Your Dog’s Friend carries some of this equipment, but you will still need to place some orders online. Training will begin with the first session following a brief orientation. Read more about the Growly Dog Class and register here.
6 week Online Reactive Dog Class (Weeknights)
Fee: $145 for all six sessions
75 minutes per class online
Includes Facebook group for students and instructors to discuss specific issues
This class is available to both local students and those who live outside the DC area.
In this class, you will learn how to handle the difficult situations that arise when you live with or walk a reactive dog. It is designed to help your reactive dog become more focused and confident. Our online class is good not only for dogs that react to other dogs, but is also the only option for dogs that are reactive to people, including those coming into your home, dogs that have caused serious injury to others, or dogs spooked by trucks, balloons, bikes, or other indoor or outdoor triggers. Read more about the online class and register here.
More Help for Your Reactive Dog
We have handouts on reactive dogs under behavior issues. We also have a list of positive trainers, divided by location, and veterinary behaviorists.
Reactive Dog Class: Wed, Mar 20 – May 15 (no class on Apr 17), 8:10 – 9:40pm
Growly Dog: Friday, Jul 5 – Aug 2, 1:15 – 2:45pm
Online Reactive Dog Class: Thurs, May 30 – Jul 18 (no class on Jun 6 or Jul 4), 7:30 – 8:45pm
You can register for any of our reactive dog classes here. We use the same wait list for all three types of reactive dog class. You can join the wait list here.