Managing Access to Triggers

09/02/2022

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MANAGING ACCESS TO TRIGGERS

When you are looking to reduce reactivity, managing your dog’s access to their triggers is critical. The more experiences they have that result in reactivity, the more stress they feel and the harder it can be to help them learn new behaviours.

If your dog is likely to run outside to react, try fitting a safety gate or creating a barrier to prevent their exit. Not only will this remove their chance to practice undesired behaviour, but it will help keep arousal levels as low as possible.

Management can also be set up inside the home to keep your dog safe. You can install safety gates or set up x-pens to keep your dog and visitors separated.

Another option, when your dog is ready, is to attach a lead to their collar or harness and practice getting them to settle beside you when guests visit. This will allow you to create a safe experience for all while you work towards building positive associations and new behaviours.

You can manage access to triggers on walks by choosing locations carefully as well as the time of day you go out. You can increase distance to support your dog by crossing the street, or using what’s in the environment to block their line of sight.

When conditioned properly, a muzzle can be a great tool as an additional safety net when you are in close proximity to triggers. Make sure that you choose the correct size for your dog and that they are comfortable wearing it. Another benefit of using a muzzle is that you may feel safer too.

Managing your dog’s access to triggers will not only help to reduce their reactivity, but may also increase their success in training.

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