What is Reactivity?
Responsive to stimuli
Something that urges action or exertion or quickens action, feeling, thought, etc.
What is a Reactive Dog?
A dog that is quick to respond to stimuli typically in an assertive fashion.
Each dog has its own way of showing signs of being reactive. Freezing, dilated pupils, wrinkled forehead, stiff tail, the death stare, barking, lunging, biting, spinning and if it reaches the thing it is being stimulated by it could be a deadly situation. Dogs reach this level of reaction for many reasons. However, you can bet the base of it is fear and anxiety. Reactivity can be caused by all types of stimulus. Hats, people, kids, men, flags, the wind, a hose, other animals, etc. Some may label these dogs as aggressive and dangerous. I don’t disagree, however I also label them as MISUNDERSTOOD! The majority of Reactive Dogs wear their feelings right on their sleeve. The Reactive Dog may or may not have a handler who can read those feelings primarily represented through body language and respond appropriately. Just maybe, before the dog fight broke out your dog showed some calming signals like turning its head, licking its lips or sniffing the ground. All the while saying, “Mom, Dad, I’m getting really uncomfortable and I am going to try to sooth myself.” Typically we don’t catch these signs until they are audible such as growling and barking which is one of the last choices of communication a dog uses before the “reactivity”.