Both Ends of the Leash

09/02/2022

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BOTH ENDS OF THE LEASH

When you think about reactivity, do you focus on just your dog? Do you focus on how to stop the behaviour you don’t like? If so take a step back. Remember that your dog is not a problem dog, they are a dog with a problem. And how you behave can make a big difference to how they behave.

So the human end of the leash is just as important as your dog’s end and both need your attention! Does that mean that your dog’s reactivity is your fault? Absolutely not! But it does mean that your responses, your mindset, your expectations and your confidence will make a big difference to your success in helping your dog.

Let’s look at a simple example. If you think that your reactive dog is misbehaving, then you will be embarrassed by their behaviour and you will focus on stopping them “acting up”. But if you recognise that they are frightened, you will see their behaviour as information and you will use that to help them be more comfortable. Very different responses to the same situation – and the second one is going to be much more effective in the long term.

So you need to be willing to think differently about your dog and your life together so that you can change how you behave as well as working on your dog’s behaviour. And when you do that your whole relationship with your dog changes for the better!

When you understand that you need to change alongside your dog, you set yourself up for success and living with your dog becomes fun and joyful again. Reactivity is a long game – there are no quick fixes – so it is really important that you can live happily with your dog’s reactivity while you work on resolving it.

Taking a “both ends of the leash” approach lets you do just that!

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