Reactive dogs leave a legacy of what they teach us

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If you have a reactive dog you probably didn’t sign up for this. You probably didn’t take them on knowing how your life would change and how hard many aspects would be. You’ve probably changed your expectations about your life as a dog parent, going to the busy park on a sunny day and sitting in a busy pub garden may be off the menu for now. Although this is incredibly hard to adjust to and it’s stressful at times, life with reactive dogs teaches us lessons that will impact on every other dog we ever share our lives with. As well as working with so many reactive dogs I’ve had 3 of my own so I know all too well what life with them is like and it’s hard, really hard at times but it’s not all negative.
You learn to celebrate the small victories, you don’t take for granted your dog walking past another dog and staying happy and relaxed- it’s a win that makes your day!
You find the quiet walks that no one else knows about and where you won’t meet anyone and your super ninja senses mean you see things that other people may miss.
You don’t just enjoy a walk on a gorgeous sunny day and you find the beauty in a grey, rainy day walk as you know you won’t meet anyone!
Your understanding of canine behaviour will increase immensely- we’ve had clients who have become as good as the best trainers and whose understanding of the science behind their dog’s behaviour equals that of most behaviourists. They read, they learn, they listen and they take it all onboard and these skills will help every other dog they ever care for.
You will have such understanding and empathy for other owners of reactive dogs and you may help them in their own journey. Reactive dogs owners are the best at acts of kindness to other owners; long after your reactive dog is gone you will go out of your way to give an onlead dog space and offer a nod or a smile to someone else who is trying their hardest to manage their dog on a walk.
You will know your dog better than you could have ever imagined; your ability to read their every mood, their subtle changes in posture or that extra wrinkle on their brow would be totally missed my most people but not by a reactive dog owner as they are so in tune with their dogs. I miss my previous reactive dogs each and every day, life wasn’t always easy with them (although they improved so much) and I’m always thankful for the lessons they taught me.

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