Active vs Reactive – The answer to your questions and relaxed walks:

By Matt Wiggins
active dog

I’ve said for a long time that the best recall you can have is one where your dog doesn’t leave you in the first place. If your dog doesn’t go away then you don’t need to be able to call it back.

This is the difference between an active Dog and a reactive one. A reactive dog responds to your commands when you give them (this is hard enough for most people to achieve). An active dog is already doing the thing you want it to before you ask.

There is a huge difference in the quality of life you and your dog will have if you can teach him or her to be active rather than reactive. Also, it’s actually much easier to create active behaviour than reactive behaviour.

To train a dog to be active you simply close down its focus on the environment and channel all of that energy at you instead. With reactive behaviour, you are basically allowing your dog to be engaged with its environment and then asking it to sometimes give you full attention. This creates a conflict in your dog’s mind. How is your dog supposed to know when it’s ok to chase the squirrel and when it’s not? 

So, on to the questions I imagine you are already asking…

How do I get started?

The first step of creating an active dog is to create situations where your dog engages with you and reinforce it for doing so. Get some tasty treats that your dog loves and simply, whenever your dog glances at you say good boy/good girl and fire that treat into your dog’s mouth as quickly as possible. If every time you glanced at me I gave you £10 it wouldn’t be long until your eyes were glued on me. The same is true of your dog – fortunately, your dog doesn’t understand currency and will happily accept a piece of chicken.

How long will it take?

Lots of owners are worried that they don’t want to be reliant upon treats forever and I’m happy to tell you that using our approach to training you categorically won’t be.
That said, before we can fade the treats off we need to create a deep reward history. In order for your dog to think there may be a chance of being rewarded down the line, we need to create a trust in your dog that treats will arrive and to do that you need to reward your dog lots over a week or so. The more you do it, the better the results.

What about distractions?

The modern World is full of distractions. That is why you are having issues in the first place.

So, how does the above training help? Well, basically, the more your dog is engaged with you the less it will be paying attention to what is going on around it. You will see results quickly but you are still likely to have issues when the environment becomes too stimulating. In order to resolve this, we need to pass responsibility to your dog.
Passing responsibility to your dog means that we begin to expect the attention rather than rewarding it. As we go through this step you will find reliability in all situations.

How do I pass responsibility?

Good question. This all depends on your dog, its motivation and your handling style. Typically what we want to do is create a negative consequence (doesn’t mean horrible) when your dog isn’t engaged and then reward him/her when they do engage. Any living organism will do more to avoid something they don’t like than gain something they do like and so, by putting a consequence in place for a lack of attention you will see a dramatic increase in attention. The part I can’t really answer, without knowing more about you and your dog is which is the best way to apply a consequence.

If you would like our help with this then it is really easy to get going and quickly transform your dogs’ behaviour to make your life together better than you ever imagined.

Before we talk about you making any investment though, even though our training is all money back guaranteed I want to help you to understand how to communicate with your dog easily and quickly by giving you knowledge of the underpinning concepts behind our clients’ success. Simply click on the link below and sign up, for free and no payment details are required. I promise you, the knowledge I am giving away here will completely change your outlook.

What are you waiting for?

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