fearful dog

Fluffy Puppy turned into a snarking monster? 5 steps to enjoying walking your dog again

This article was first published on 4knines.com and is reprinted here with permission.

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That sweet pup who at a couple of months old was so adorable that you wanted to show her off to everyone, has gained half a year and grown horns!

She barks and lunges at every dog or person she sees – and you wouldn’t want anyone to see your dog now … So you only walk her at The Hour of the Difficult Dog. You’re embarrassed. Confused. What have you done wrong?

What she’s showing is a fear reaction which can appear in adolescence.

It may have resulted from not meeting enough dogs and people in her first few weeks with you; it may be that some time another dog or person gave your pup a fright; it could just be that she’s cautious and fearful by nature.

It’s not wrong or bad – it’s just the way she is. And you still love her to bits!

So how can you improve this and get your fluffpup back again?

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1. Understand

Your dog is not aggressive or nasty - she’s afraid. The reason she’s barking and lepping about on the lead when she sees another dog or person or bike is that she’s trying to keep them away! Quite often this apparently aggressive display will do the trick, and either the other walker heads off, or you drag your dog away in embarrassment and confusion. Once she’s upset and the hormones are flying around her body, she’ll be quicker to react to the next frightening thing she sees.

2. Make Distance

If your child had a fear of spiders you wouldn’t keep confronting him with the wiggly beasties. So, for the time being, avoid confrontations with other dogs. Walk where you won’t have dogs “in your face”. Turn and go the other direction when a dog is walking towards you along the street. Just knowing that she never has to meet another dog or person will take a lot of the pressure off your dog and allow her to keep calm.


3. Get rid of any gadgets or collars that hurt her

It stands to reason that if, every time you saw a red van someone choked you with a prong or chain collar or – worse still – gave you an electric shock, you would soon get very anxious about red vans. You would try to get away from them, and if you saw one coming you’d probably start to scream in fear of the anticipated pain. So ditch all those things that people tell you are the answer, and just have your dog on a comfortable, soft, flat collar and a good length lead so she can move freely.


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4. Change her Perception of Dogs and People

Before you set out on your walk, load your pockets with tasty treats that you know your dog will sell her soul for. Tiny cubes of cheese or hot dog will do the trick, or high-quality grain-free treats may work. Every time you see something coming, pause - and post treats into your dog’s mouth as she watches them. Treat, treat, treat … very fast. Be sure you keep beyond the distance at which she usually gets worried. Stop feeding once the hazard has gone away. If you are consistent with this, she’ll soon see a strange dog or person, turn to you and say, “Where’s my treat?” Result!


5. Still afraid your dog may bite?

You need to find a certified force-free trainer who understands how to help fearful dogs. Be aware that using any sort of force or punishment in this situation will make things worse. If your dog has already bitten or you’re really afraid she will, you can acclimatise your dog gently to a basket muzzle. Use the system at no.4 above so that she is delighted at the sight of her muzzle. The muzzle has the added benefit of keeping people and their dogs at a distance – just what you want for now!

Follow Steps 1 – 4 above and you’ll start to build your dog’s confidence and be able to enjoy your walks again.


For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.


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Hooray for change for your dog! Discard the old labels

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I just had the amazing experience of working with over a thousand people in my 5 Day online Workshop for Growly Dogs

And as ever, I learnt as much as my students did! Only perhaps in different ways. 

These were people who had got a dog in the hope of having a companion they could take anywhere - on country walks, visits to friends and cafes, perhaps as an agility star - and what they got was something very different.

They found themselves dealing with a dog who was naturally shy and fearful, or who had had bad learning experiences which coloured his reactions to anything new or different. These dogs continually perplexed their devoted owners, who were doing their best in trying circumstances.
So I was happy to be able to give them some practical advice, along with some thoughts on changing their mindset to help them.

What I learnt was that these people were selfless in their dedication to helping the dog that they got. Not perhaps the dog they had anticipated. But they set themselves to the task of helping this new person in their life with admirable tenacity, continually searching for better answers. And these better answers were what I aimed to give them!


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How will changing my mindset change my reactive dog?

For many, just changing how they thought of their dog made a huge difference in their dog’s behaviour! 

Crazy, eh? But true. 

If you continually refer to your dog as a rescue dog, a problem dog, a difficult dog, trouble, a nuisance, stubborn, you are giving yourself an excuse to fail.

Once you accept that this dog’s history is just that - history, and that he is now your dog, you have to take responsibility for the situation and make some change happen!

The renowned Veterinary Behaviourist Karen Overall says: 

“What we call something matters
because it shapes how we think of it.”

That is SO true! And it’s what many of the Workshoppers found! Changing how they described their dog changed their own perception - and produced some surprising results. 

I’d add to this my own saw:

What you expect is what you get

If you call your dog difficult, annoying, troublesome, a rescue .. You are expecting her to behave in that way. And guess what? She will. Once these students changed their way of seeing their dog, the dog miraculously improved!

Of course this goes for children, spouses and work colleagues too. We are very quick to attribute thoughts and motives to other people. Slow down and question that! And get rid of those labels!

How many of us grew up thinking we were “no good at maths” - or art, or music - because of the careless remark of a teacher in infant school? Perhaps we’ve spent our whole life believing an opinion made in a moment when we were 5 years old! Once we get a label we find it hard to see past it, whether it's on ourselves or someone or thing that we’ve labelled. 

And this applies to your dog just as much as to you. If you think you’re no good at maths because someone once said this, then saying “We can’t walk past another dog without an outburst” is going to result in … yes! an outburst, every time!

It’s not about the dog

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So many of the students in the Workshop had positive results, and were proudly posting of their successes, that I realised that this is a big hole in the approach that many people take to dog training. 

They think it’s about making the dog change.

Whereas, in fact, it’s you that has to change!

The added bonus here is that as you remove the labels from your dog, you begin to see her in a new light. You start with a clean slate - just you and your dog. Now you can build that bond so that you know just where you are together - no doubts, no misgivings, no apologies, no blame.

Try it. 

Spend today blitzing your mind for those labels and removing them. Speak and think of your dog as … your dog. Think of the good things that she does, the moments of joy she gives you, and describe her as those instead. 

Expect only the best from her, and you’ll start to get it.





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for making change with your shy, fearful, anxious, reactive, aggressive - Growly - dog

He may be reactive but he’s still a dog

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Got a reactive dog? One who barks and lunges at innocent passers-by; grows fangs and a forked tail at the sight of another dog in the same parish; or maybe just melts with fear at the sound of a bicycle? 

I feel for you!

I’ve been working with reactive dogs for years, and I have my own two Growlies too. So I know just what you’re up against. 

Fortunately more people are becoming aware of the issues, and that means slightly more people are beginning to understand that it’s not your fault! You’re not a terrible owner, and you haven’t got a horrible dog. He’s just not fitting in with the popular perception of what a pet should be.

But, as you’ll know, your difficult dog is the perfect pet at home. You know how friendly, biddable, loving, and fun your dog is - once the fears that dance around her when out are removed. You know how to soothe her, how to play with her, how to stimulate her great brain so that she loves to do things for you.

Your dog’s still a dog

And it can be hard to remember, when you’re out and about and dealing with her demons, that at heart that’s what she is. She’s a dog. Maybe not the dog you expected when you took her on. Not the dog you’d be able to go on group walks with, not the dog to compete in agility with, not the PAT therapy dog you’d planned - visiting the old and the sick and charming them all.  

[Actually there’s a good chance you could do the group walks … in time … and you can seek out agility teachers who understand and make the necessary arrangements for your dog to feel safe. PAT dog? Just maybe … in time.]

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We can get so taken up with all the slightly different things we have to do with our troublesome pooch - like dodging into driveways, muzzle-training, learning sharp emergency turns, never being out without a supply of tasty treats - that we can overlook the basics. Building the bond with your dog is what it’s all about.

Building an unbreakable bond

I’ve noticed recently that a number of students in my plain vanilla dog training course (not geared for reactive dogs, in other words) are reporting - with surprise - that their dog is much less reactive when out, faster to settle, less likely to kick off at the dogs on tv.

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | A reactive dog is still a dog! Don’t forget to train him just the same way as any other. The relationship will blossom and life will improve | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Working through the course lessons has turned them and their dog into a TEAM. The old acronym Together Everyone Achieves More, is never more clear than when you’re working with your dog - especially a challenging one!

And it’s wonderful to see how things improve - not with lots of work outdoors in the thick of it - but by just playing some simple but cunningly devised games with your dog on a daily basis. You can see the change within the first few minutes of them being introduced to the game. “Suddenly,” thinks your dog, “this person understands me!” And you are left open-mouthed, wondering at the speed with which your dog has learned the new games, and how eager he is to play them anywhere, any place, any time.

As Sophie said: “We are doing the training every day, a few times a day. It’s doing wonders for us at home and we are using it on walks too!”

Just for Reactive, Aggressive, Fearful - Growly Dogs

This is why, when I’m working individually with a reactive dog, I teach them these relationship-building games right at the start. Regardless of what happens outside, I want the dog and owner to get these under their belt straight away. And it’s a delight to see an owner change from trying to command their dog all the time, to allowing the dog to express his own opinion and make his own (good) decisions.

See my last two posts for more on this:

Little things DO matter - for your dog everything matters
Once you remove the friction everyone is happier

Of course, the reactive dog owner does need strategies and techniques to improve their outside life, possibly opening up more possibilities in terms of where they can walk, and whether they can enjoy a cafe stop with their dog, like everybody else seems to be able to do. These learnings are vital to the success of the training. And I’ll be going into these in huge detail in my upcoming Growly Dog Course. It’s been tested out by the first group of students, and their suggestions and requests have changed the shape of the course so that it’s now everything they wanted.

That vital bond!

But none of this will work if the relationship is not there in the first place! It may be that you’ve been focussing so much on the trickier areas of your dog’s life that you’ve let slip this vital bond. I do understand how this can happen. You can try so hard to work on what’s going on outside - when a step back into harmony inside can have far-reaching results.

As one Growly Course student put it: “Your generosity in sharing techniques and ideas about dog training in general, which is also part of our growly dog puzzle, is helpful, and much appreciated.”

She got that it’s about all the other stuff in your dog’s life with you - not just the apparently difficult parts.

You can go and check out the training I’m talking about here:


And if you want to know more about how specifically to help your growly, reactive, fearful, or aggressive dog, check out the new, updated Growly Course.








Three words to your dog that reveal the wrong attitude

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“She’s stubborn. She doesn’t obey my commands.”

When I hear someone talking about their dog like this, I know just what to expect when I visit them.

There will be a lot of shouting, in an increasingly stern and abrupt voice. There will be finger-wagging, the owner will bend over the dog and stare at him. And the dog will either fly around getting more and more excited (read “stressed”) or shut down completely and opt out. The owner will think his dog is complying, but this is what’s known as Learned Helplessness - “I can’t do anything about this so I’ll give up”. There will be much frustration all round.

This has come about not because the owner is nasty or domineering, but because of how they think they need to act with their dog. 

Old sins have long shadows!

They seem to have got the idea that you have to be firm, authoritarian, dominant - whatever you like to call it - with a dog. While they accept that this is not going to work with people, they blindly accept that this is what you do with dogs. It’s true that dogs - all animals - had a hard time in the past, and still do in many cultures. They were regarded as second-class beings - some people even believe they don’t feel pain as we do. 

These people should open their eyes and look around them! Have they not seen Guide Dogs leading their blind owners safely past street hazards? Assistance Dogs opening washing machines and putting the clothes into a basket? Have they not seen a dog telling his deaf owner that there’s someone at the door? (Yes, mine tell me that there’s someone at the door, but because they’re anxious about the invasion, not because they’ve been trained to quietly indicate to me!)

Then what about the astonishing displays of Dancing with Dogs, where the dog learns an extended routine of actions to perform in harmony with its owner? Here’s a superb example.

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If you see the enthusiasm and joy expressed in that video (do watch it, it's not long and you'll be enchanted), and in the dogs who excel at Agility and Flyball, you’ll realise that this can’t come from being nagged or punished. It’s pure enjoyment, harnessed.

Even the police - who used to claim they had to be hard on their dogs to be confident that they’d protect them - are now finding that working with the dog rather than against him is infinitely more successful and rewarding for both dog and officer.

We don’t treat children, spouses, or employees like this any more, so why do it to our dogs?

Lazy habits and popular tv

There has been so much change in the way we live over the last century. But it seems that animal care and education lag behind the general trend - by a good number of years.

Doing things a certain way, unquestioningly, because that’s how our parents did it, is not going to move us forward. That thinking would have kept us in caves! We have to take the learning available to us and implement it in our lives. So we must question what we are told to do. This is one of the valuable aspects of the teenage years - question, reject, question, reject. Of course you have to replace what you’ve rejected with something better!

And this would mean being picky about what you watch on television. Just because it’s printed in the paper or broadcast on the screen does not mean it’s right! There are plenty of people making good money from programmes indicating that a sharp, quick, fix is what’s needed to solve all dog behaviour problems. If you still think that beating a child for a minor transgression is ok, then you probably believe this twaddle. 

But most of the people I work with are good, kind, people, who wouldn’t dream of abusing their children. Yet somehow they have allowed this dissonant belief - that animals are different and need to be abused to be acceptable - to take root in their heads. 

I recently saw video of one of those tv personality, non-qualified, self-styled “dog trainers” giving a course on teamwork in the workplace. He used his unpleasant practices on their dogs - leaning over them and shouting, sneering, jabbing them, yanking their lead - to demonstrate. I was appalled that the owners were accepting all this! Suppose they were to go back to their office and shout at their staff, belittle them, jab them in the ribs, pull and push them around?! I feel sure this is not something they would countenance - and if they did they’d soon be advertising for more staff! - yet they swallowed all this because this guy had given himself a funny title and been on television.

"My dog is stubborn" No he's not! Find out what really motivates him

"My dog is stubborn" No he's not! Find out what really motivates him

People seem to lose their critical faculties when dealing with their dogs!

Dogs are not “stubborn” 

Dogs are simple souls who try to please. They have fears and anxieties just as we do. They do what works. 

Your puppy who sits down on the pavement and refuses to move is not being stubborn. 

She’s just afraid.

If you’re not sure whether you’re heading into a swamp or a quicksand, sitting still and pondering is a good survival tactic. And if you’ve only been on the planet a few weeks, sitting still and waiting for Mum to guide you is also a good move.

So if you find yourself describing your little puppy as “stubborn”, “obstinate”, “wilful”, and the rest, try substituting the words “fearful”, “anxious”, “eight weeks old” into what you just said and see if that fits better. You’ll surely treat the situation differently once you look at it differently.

Working with someone is so much more pleasant - and effective - than imposing your will on them. Giving the dog a choice (heavily loading the odds in your favour!) will get the result you want without all the expenditure of effort involved in shouting, repeating yourself, and trying to sound masterful.

Dogs do not arrive with us with a perfect grasp of English, or any understanding of our wavy arm gestures. Before you can expect her to respond to what you’re saying, you need to teach your dog what it is you want. Then you can concentrate on the good things your dog does, and ignore the rest. 

What you focus on is what you get.

If you tell a child he’s a cheat and a liar, that’s what he’ll be. 

Turn your focus to what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. 

Catch your dog doing something you do like - and be very excited about it! Once I’d understood this, life with my dogs became a breeze. Most things I don’t appreciate are ignored - no point in stressing about something that is over.

So if shouting “commands” at your dog is not working, try treating your dog as you would a shy two-year-old, and quietly ask her for what you want. You may be astonished at the response you get!


P.S. You’ll have worked it out by now: those three words are “stubborn”, “obey”, and “command”. Banish them from your vocabulary!


Check out my new online Dog Training Course teaching new dog  owners to achieve lasting results through six weeks of dog-friendly coaching with daily video lessons


Social Butterflies versus Wallflowers - over-friendly dogs vs. shy dogs

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“Go on. Go and say hello to Aunt Ermintrude. Give her a kiss. Go ON!” 

This last would have been accompanied by a sharp prod between the shoulderblades to propel you forward.

Can you remember this happening to you when you were a small child? You wriggled and squirmed and really didn’t want to have anything to do with this towering, bearded, overpowering aunt.

But if you’d been left to your own devices, curiosity would eventually have got the better of you and you would have started to engage with this strange, mountainous, figure.

So is it with many dogs. 

Some are bouncy, in-your-face, love-everybody, kind of dogs - not in the least bothered by the Aunt Ermintrudes of this world. But many more are quiet, retiring, worried about anything new. The key to this is to strike a balance


The Social Butterflies need to learn a little restraint and thoughtfulness, lest they leap up on the wrong dog and get bitten or terrorised. Or of course they may leap on a shy and worried dog who will think in terror that her last hour has come.
The Wallflowers must be allowed to be Wallflowers! If you give them time to assess from a safe distance, they will gradually start to explore nearer, on their own terms. 


The funny thing is that we always seem to want the opposite of what we have! Those with the demented jumper-upper wish they had a calmer dog - continually snapping “Get down!” to their poor dog, who thinks that perhaps he needs to jump higher in order to please his owner. While those with a mouse-impersonator wish they had something more outgoing, and feel as if the world thinks they beat their dog. 


We always want to fit in with society’s view of being able to produce the perfect dog, without necessarily heeding what our dog has to say about it all.


Aren’t all dogs friendly?

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This commonly accepted thought completely ignores the fact that dogs are all different! They are individuals, just as we are. Their breeding will influence their behaviour, but there’s huge variation within breeds and types. And we’ve all learnt - through the notorious breed-specific legislation - that you cannot tar all dogs of one breed with the same brush.

Because people notice the exuberant dog more than the shy one, they think that’s the norm. You can’t help but notice the bouncy Labrador with his tail thumping your legs (but there are many quiet, shy Labradors too). Or the half-crazed Poodle who thinks everyone must love him (Coco Poodle? Are you listening?). But In fact the quieter response is the more common one - and probably much better for survival in the wild situation that dogs were evolved in. 

Just because some dogs are in-your-face dogs doesn’t mean that this is how all dogs should be.

And what about responsibility for other people’s dogs?

Let’s say you have one of the bouncy dogs who thinks the world is his oyster and wants to greet everyone. Now imagine that instead you have one of the shy, retiring dogs. Maybe your dog desires only to be left alone, to have peace and quiet to enjoy her walk without interference. Your shy dog could be enjoying a tremendous game with you and your frisbee or ball, and the last thing she wants is someone muscling in on her prize. 

How would it be if you were enjoying a makeshift game of badminton with your family in your local park, and a load of louts came barging in, snatching the shuttlecock, knocking your children over and treading on them, wrecking your game - with their parents laughing at their antics all the while. Nice? I don’t think so.

So if your dog is the super-friendly one, don’t let him rampage all over the place, upsetting calmer, quieter, perhaps older, dogs. 

It can take a shy dog several days to recover from an experience like this - really! They may have to stay indoors for days to allow their hormones to settle back down - just as you might if you were in a mild car shunt. It could be a few days before you were happy to get behind the wheel again. This dog’s owner may be upset and begging you to put your unruly dog on a lead. This request, sadly, is often greeted with derision and insults. 

Many owners of boisterous dogs assume that their dog’s behaviour is not only natural, but acceptable.

I’m here to tell you it’s not!

These owners seem to think they have more right to be out walking their dog than others with more challenging dogs. They form this opinion, I believe, because sometimes their unruly dog is greeted by a show of teeth and snarling from the other dog. They assume that this dog must be nasty - aggressive - and therefore to blame for whatever happens. They forget that that dog was quietly minding her own business until their dog landed on top of her! 

Sadly, this usually gives rise to more insults and abuse.

It doesn’t take much imagination to transfer this scene to a school playground. Some children will be playing happily together while others cruise the playground looking for entertainment - often found by annoying the quieter children. Of course, playgrounds are carefully “policed” by school staff, and unacceptable behaviour should be halted immediately, so that the boisterous children can learn some social skills, learn how to treat other people respectfully, and the quieter children can enjoy their quieter life. 

The school playground is like the park

Is this chase enjoyable for both dogs?

Is this chase enjoyable for both dogs?

We don’t have school staff in the park. We’re meant to be grown up enough to manage this ourselves. I know it comes as a surprise to many of the “My dog is friendly” persuasion to learn that many other dogs are not. They are instead nervous, anxious, possibly recovering from an unsolicited attack which - unsurprisingly - has made them suspicious of all dogs. Or they may simply by diffident and self-contained, and not disposed to talk to strangers.

And some of these bouncy-dog owners will be genuinely astonished to learn this! But once you have learnt it, let it inform your dealings with other dog-owners and their dogs. It’s not a dog’s fault if he was attacked. It probably wasn’t his owner’s fault either, but it can have a lasting effect on the victim. It’s equally not a dog’s fault if he was not properly socialised as a puppy, and if he was adopted after puppyhood it’s not his owner’s fault either. 

Most people are decent and honest (in my experience), and they really wouldn’t want to see a child hurt or humiliated by another child’s actions. All they need to do is realise that dogs are as different in temperament as children are, and that some sensitive ones can be seriously upset by another dog-owner’s thoughtlessness.

The quiet, shy dog doesn’t care whether the boisterous dog has good intentions or not. It doesn’t matter if “He just wants to play,” or whether he is intent on tearing the other dog’s throat out. The effect of the confrontation can be the same - causing the anxious dog to get more withdrawn, or - as can often happen - become proactive at keeping other dogs away by putting on a tremendous display of aggression.

How can I help my dog?

So watch your puppy or new dog carefully. Whether extrovert or introvert, be sure to protect them from bad experiences. Allow your boisterous pup to express himself in a way which suits him, while gently teaching him what we would prefer.

And let your quiet observer quietly observe. From behind your legs if that’s where she feels comfortable. When she’s ready, she’ll be able to take much more in her stride. 

And whether you’re the owner of the over-friendly dog or the shy and anxious dog, you’ll find great help in this free email course: 


Is your dog the school bully?

How close is too close for your dog?

Let’s think of ourselves first.

  • How close is too close to your child?
  • How close is too close to your friend?
  • How close is too close to your postman?
  • How close is too close to a stranger asking directions?
  • How close is too close to a drunk, shouting in the street?

Clearly, you’ll have a different answer for each question. Our personal space requirements vary from situation to situation. They also vary across the planet.

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The Japanese, for instance, prefer a larger personal space than many Westerners are used to, and it may not be breached by touching! That is the height of insolence.

So the personal space we have which is an essential survival mechanism can also be affected by culture and learning.

Our dogs are just the same!

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

Dogs too have a personal space. 

But because dogs are so fast, their personal space is much larger than ours. And the cultural differences come in too, in the form of breed characteristics. 

Companion dogs who have been bred to stay close to their owners will tend to manage with a smaller space. If you have a guarding or guardian breed - then they alert to anything that shouldn’t be on or near their “patch”. Their space is huge. 

These are factors you need to keep in mind when out and about with your dog.

What is an acceptable space for you to pass someone on the street, may not be acceptable to your dog. You will have to teach her that the passing person has been assessed by you as non-threatening, and does not need to be jumped up on, barked at, or grabbed while passing.

Fitting into our way of life is not straightforward for our dog. We kind of assume they’ll just come ready-programmed to respond the same way we do. But we have been learning for twenty years (or many more!) how to relate to our fellows, and have a headstart by virtue of the fact that we are the same species. 

Teaching your dog the social skills necessary to fit in with our world is essential. But it shouldn’t go against your particular dog’s natural instincts. You chose that breed because of her characteristics. So you need to work with them to achieve a dog who is comfortable in the places we take her.

And how about other dogs?

When it comes to your dog’s personal space with regard to another dog, then that space is bigger again! 

So passing someone on the street within your personal space may work for your dog. If that person has a dog with them, it may change things entirely! 

If your dog tends to shoot first and ask questions later, then changing your response to passing people with dogs will make your walks infinitely more comfortable and stress-free. You need to develop a kind of radar scanner on the top of your head, which will pick people and dogs out at a great distance, giving you time to plan your getaway. While your dog is seeing the oncoming dog, you can post some quick treats into her mouth, then with a cheery “Let’s go!” turn and head along your escape route, giving more treats all the while. 

You can simply cross the road, wander down a side-road or driveway, or even turn and go the other way till there is sufficient space to pass. Playing a quick focus game with your dog will help.

As any tension we feel in a situation rapidly passes down the lead to our dog, then minimising our stress levels will help to lower hers. So, instead of seeing a dog approaching, hoisting the lead up to your chest and winding it six times round your hand as you gasp - sure to get your dog saying “Who? Where? What have I got to bark at?” - try doing the exact opposite:


When you see a dog coming, your first response will be to relax your shoulders, relax your hands, and breathe out,


Just this new habit alone will make a tremendous difference to your walks. It’ll help to keep your dog calm, and when your dog is calm - you can be calm. And when you are calm - your dog can be calm! It’s a virtuous circle you want to get into, and it starts with you changing your response to an oncoming dog.

That response is totally understandable, if in the past an oncoming dog has resulted in your dog reacting - barking, lunging, as if her life depended on it. But, while understandable, it’s not helpful!

Maybe your walk will take a little longer with these detours. As long as you’re both enjoying it - who cares?


For some solid advice on how to manage your reactive dog so that walks are less stressful all round, get your free email course here.

And there’s lots of help for you in Essential Skills for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog




This is too close for comfort for this dog