For those of you with reactive dogs or who are struggling with the walk, impulse control or aggression here’s the key.

Arousal.

Arousal is your enemy. Arousal is the point before the outburst (whatever kind of outburst that may be) when your dog’s mental state changes and the body generates adrenaline, the muscles tense up and the dog kicks into fight or flight mode.

This moment, immediately prior to the outburst, when the dog becomes aroused, THIS is the point where you need to intervene to de-escalate. You might think your dog is ‘just excited’ but I can assure you that what you see as ‘excitement’ is absolutely without doubt fuelling those explosions of reactivity, aggression or bad behaviours that you least desire.

If you go after these small moments, keep your dog calm and balanced and refuse to accept the arousal or the loading behaviours then you will see a great deal less of those fight or flight responses.

Remember, all the small things make a big difference!