Hi everyone,

Just wanted to start a topic for Reactive Doodle Owners. Doodles like any other dog can develop reactive problems. I have a male who is reactive to most dogs and some people. I think it is fear-based. We have been working with him for 2 of his past 3 year life to help him get over this. With positive training methods we are slowly making progress as well as working on his overall health which could be contributing to his behavior (possible reaction to rabies vaccine or the sedative when he got neutered).

Let me know if anyone has any questions or wants to discuss further. I'm happy to point you in the right direction for good resources on positive training for reactive dogs.


Tags: dog, reactive

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Hey Sarah!
Glad to hear you are making progress. It can be a frustrating problem to work out.

Tessa is a bit reserved with strangers, and sometimes when they approach she barks. It freaks some people out. I wish she was more civilized with intros! I tell them to let her come to them - don't look or talk to her. She needs to smell. This helps us. My fiance and I are fans of Cesar Millan "The Dog Whisperer." I know not all people are, but it's been fabulous techniques for us. Energy is huge with our dogs. If we're confident, they are.

This is a great discussion!
Lets continue :)
Hi Jenny,

I also tell people to ignore him (no touch, no talk, no eye contact!)... but people are terrible at following directions! He has a big bark that can be scary but he really only barks at people that make sudden moves, are wearing weird things like hats or stare him in the eyes and freeze.

I like Cesar Millan too for the way he teaches people to be more confident around dogs and be good leaders. The only thing that I don't agree with is the dominance theory but pretty much every trainer you talk to has a different take on it!

For me the most valuable thing that I've done lately is not react at all when he has an episode. I think it makes him think twice about it and it retrains me to be calm. Then once he brings attention back to me I get him to do something fun. Seems to be working well!

Jack is extremely reactive to strange dogs on-leash. Off-leash, he is 100% fine and has no interest no matter how many dogs (or anyone else) are around or what they do. On leash, he can go ballistic if another dog is being walked on the same block. Dogs barking at the fence in their yards are a problem, too.
I scan the horizon continously so that I see whatever is coming before he does. I switch sides of the street, whatever i have to do to keep him from getting too close to the other dog or vice versa. I know that once his breathing revs up, I'm too late; so I get his focus on me and keep it on me. First and most important thing is, I do not let him look at the other dog. I get him into a sit facing me, leash shortened so he is very close to me, and get his eyes on me, using my hand as a "blinder" at the side of his face if necessary. Most dogs will turn their face away from that side if you put your hand (fingers together and flat like a sheet of paper) at the side of their face like a blinder on a horse. As soon as he turns his eyes away from the other dog and is calm, we proceed. If he tries to look sideways at the other dog, or anywhere but straight ahead, the hand goes back to the side of his face. The whole time I am praising him.
We've been working on this for a long time, and most days he can now walk right past another dog without any reaction. Not always. If the other dog is turning it's head and staring him down, and the other owner is oblivious, I know I can expect more trouble than usual. Like everything else, it's a work in progress...but we are making great progress.

Finch is exactly the same!! Off leash he is the sweetest, most submissive dog in the world.  He recalls like a charm, plays with anyone and loves everyone.  He is respectful of older dogs and gentle with little dogs, there is a little Chihuahua that he plays with who regularly trips him and ends up on top of him.  No problems at all, ever.  On leash he turns into Kujo.  We've had some issues with the only local training facility local and have plans to go elsewhere, but haven't wanted to drive with the winter weather. 

It's really weird, because off leash I can have him sit and wait when another dog or people walk by, but on leash he's a totally different dog.  

I did have a puppy trainer tell me that what I needed to do is be more interesting than the other dog.  One thing that works is singing (people think I'm crazy, but it works) When we see another dog we cross the street as well, when possible, but if I'm singing a silly, little song to him he looks at me and listens rather than looking at (growling at or barking at) the other dog.  

Yes, getting and keeping your dog's attention on you is the key! I try to always see whatever is coming before he does. :)  

Hi all! Reactive doggies are upsetting, I know. Both our dogs used to make a fuss while on walks, when they saw other dogs or with Tessa, a squirrel! The best thing for us, (and they are a lot better now but we still practice it) is KEEP MOVING FORWARD! Be confident, pick up your pace and lead them onwards. I might also add that sometimes with Tessa and her squirrel obsession, we try and break her "prey drive" and make her sit when she starts lunging on the leash at one. We keep doing quick jerks on her halty to return her eyes to us, and stand tall, take a deep breath and move forward. If she is still pulling, we make her sit again.

As for guests entering the house, I have decided to put up a sign in our front hall on "dealing with our dogs" -- how to properly introduce yourself. Most people are receptive. I know too, when they were little, we kept them on a longish lead when people came to the door, made them sit or lay down and had the leash on to correct any unwanted behaviours. Being firm but calm is important. Shoulders back and stand tall.

Keep practising with your dogs. Don't give up on yourself or them :) We all know how smart they are, work with that and you will start to see changes.
If your doodle gets stressed after long periods of time w/ your son in the house I would give her(?) a safe place (room, crate etc) where your son doesn't go so she can get away and de-stress. If she won't go there voluntarily then put her in that place to force her to take a break.

You can also try rescue remedy to help her stay calm when you have visitors and possibly a body wrap. You can make one out of an ace bandage or get a product like Thundershirt. I think if you give her a place to relax as soon as you start reading her signs of getting to the point of 'butt nipping' then you can just avoid the situation together.


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