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Dog Reactivity Guides

Discover expert advice on managing and addressing dog reactivity issues in various situations, with practical tips and insights shared on Sniffspot's informative blog.

Rottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It thumbnail

Rottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It

Many dogs have gotten a bad reputation over the years for being "dangerous breeds." Rottweilers are among them. Much like pit bulls and other large, blocky-headed types of dogs, these powerful and beautiful animals are often assumed to be aggressive.

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Dog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity thumbnail

Dog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity

Your dog is reactive. They’ll see another dog, person, or other stimulus in the environment (like a car or bike) while out on a walk and suddenly go crazy at the end of their leash. The barking, lunging, and growling feels embarrassing for you — and it’s clear that your pup isn’t having a great time either.

Read more

How to Socialize Your Reactive Dog thumbnail

How to Socialize Your Reactive Dog

Does your dog display reactivity to other pets or people? Maybe they’re a new rescue pup and are still settling into your home. Maybe they were sick growing up, so you missed their critical socialization period. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience after being raised as a normal puppy.

Read more

Definitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity? thumbnail

Definitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity?

Do you have a reactive dog or suspect you may have one? You’re not alone!

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The 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents thumbnail

The 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

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How To Groom a Reactive Dog thumbnail

How To Groom a Reactive Dog

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

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Most recent dog reactivity guides

How To Stop Your Dog From Biting thumbnailHow To Stop Your Dog From Biting
Definitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity? thumbnailDefinitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity?
When and How To Think About Medication For Anxious Dogs thumbnailWhen and How To Think About Medication For Anxious Dogs
How To Groom a Reactive Dog thumbnailHow To Groom a Reactive Dog
How To Enable a Reactive Dog To Live A Full Life thumbnailHow To Enable a Reactive Dog To Live A Full Life
What Does Your Dog Barking Mean? thumbnailWhat Does Your Dog Barking Mean?
When and How to do Muzzle Training with Your Dog thumbnailWhen and How to do Muzzle Training with Your Dog
Overview of Counterconditioning for Reactive Dogs thumbnailOverview of Counterconditioning for Reactive Dogs
Dog Anxiety Signs and How to Help Your Pup Feel Better thumbnailDog Anxiety Signs and How to Help Your Pup Feel Better
How to Understand and Fix Dog Leash Reactivity thumbnailHow to Understand and Fix Dog Leash Reactivity
9 Unusual Enrichment Ideas for Reactive Dogs thumbnail9 Unusual Enrichment Ideas for Reactive Dogs
Guide to Fear Aggression in Dogs thumbnailGuide to Fear Aggression in Dogs
The 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents thumbnailThe 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents
How to Socialize Your Reactive Dog thumbnailHow to Socialize Your Reactive Dog
Dog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity thumbnailDog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity
Why Dogs Growl and How to Address Your Pup’s Vocalizations thumbnailWhy Dogs Growl and How to Address Your Pup’s Vocalizations
Are German Shepherds an aggressive dog breed? thumbnailAre German Shepherds an aggressive dog breed?
Rottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It thumbnailRottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It
How to Treat Phobias in Dogs thumbnailHow to Treat Phobias in Dogs
Where Can You Bring Your Reactive Dog? thumbnailWhere Can You Bring Your Reactive Dog?
How to Treat Puppy Leash Aggression thumbnailHow to Treat Puppy Leash Aggression

Most recent dog reactivity guides

How To Stop Your Dog From Biting thumbnail

How To Stop Your Dog From Biting

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

Definitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity? thumbnail

Definitive Guide: What is Dog Reactivity?

Do you have a reactive dog or suspect you may have one? You’re not alone!

When and How To Think About Medication For Anxious Dogs thumbnail

When and How To Think About Medication For Anxious Dogs

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

How To Groom a Reactive Dog thumbnail

How To Groom a Reactive Dog

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

How To Enable a Reactive Dog To Live A Full Life thumbnail

How To Enable a Reactive Dog To Live A Full Life

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

What Does Your Dog Barking Mean? thumbnail

What Does Your Dog Barking Mean?

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

When and How to do Muzzle Training with Your Dog thumbnail

When and How to do Muzzle Training with Your Dog

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

Overview of Counterconditioning for Reactive Dogs thumbnail

Overview of Counterconditioning for Reactive Dogs

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

Dog Anxiety Signs and How to Help Your Pup Feel Better thumbnail

Dog Anxiety Signs and How to Help Your Pup Feel Better

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

How to Understand and Fix Dog Leash Reactivity thumbnail

How to Understand and Fix Dog Leash Reactivity

You're out on a walk with your furry best friend after a long day of work. It's one of your favorite times of the evening — we've all had visions of classic neighborhood strolls alongside our canine companions!

9 Unusual Enrichment Ideas for Reactive Dogs thumbnail

9 Unusual Enrichment Ideas for Reactive Dogs

Many folks in the Sniffspot community are looking for more enrichment options for reactive pups. We did some research to find the most interesting enrichment options for reactive dogs by 1) asking reactive dog owners in the area, and 2) asking some local trainers for input to make sure these are the highest quality options for you (see the end of the article for more information on the trainers that reviewed this article). 

Guide to Fear Aggression in Dogs thumbnail

Guide to Fear Aggression in Dogs

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

The 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents thumbnail

The 9 Best Online Communities for Reactive Dog Parents

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

How to Socialize Your Reactive Dog thumbnail

How to Socialize Your Reactive Dog

Does your dog display reactivity to other pets or people? Maybe they’re a new rescue pup and are still settling into your home. Maybe they were sick growing up, so you missed their critical socialization period. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience after being raised as a normal puppy.

Dog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity thumbnail

Dog Reactivity Chart: Understand and Fix Dog Reactivity

Your dog is reactive. They’ll see another dog, person, or other stimulus in the environment (like a car or bike) while out on a walk and suddenly go crazy at the end of their leash. The barking, lunging, and growling feels embarrassing for you — and it’s clear that your pup isn’t having a great time either.

Why Dogs Growl and How to Address Your Pup’s Vocalizations thumbnail

Why Dogs Growl and How to Address Your Pup’s Vocalizations

Hearing your dog growl can be scary. We love our four-legged best friends as part of the family! But no matter how hard we try to understand them, canine communication is often confusing to primates like us.

Are German Shepherds an aggressive dog breed? thumbnail

Are German Shepherds an aggressive dog breed?

Many dog breeds have gotten a bad reputation over the years for being dangerous. German Shepherds are among them (though not quite as discriminated against as pit bulls, the most notorious of the "aggressive dog breed" stereotype — but that's another story).

Rottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It thumbnail

Rottweiler Aggression: Signs, Causes, and How to Handle It

Many dogs have gotten a bad reputation over the years for being "dangerous breeds." Rottweilers are among them. Much like pit bulls and other large, blocky-headed types of dogs, these powerful and beautiful animals are often assumed to be aggressive.

How to Treat Phobias in Dogs thumbnail

How to Treat Phobias in Dogs

Can dogs experience phobias like humans do? The answer is yes — and these intense, persistent excessive fears can make life difficult for both pets and their people.

Where Can You Bring Your Reactive Dog? thumbnail

Where Can You Bring Your Reactive Dog?

If you live with a reactive dog, you know it can be tough to plan adventures. You and your pup absolutely still deserve to get out of the house and explore the world around you! But how do you know what the environment will be like? What if you encounter out-of-control off-leash dogs? Or startling noises? Or something else you can't prepare for that results in reactive behavior from your canine companion?

How to Treat Puppy Leash Aggression thumbnail

How to Treat Puppy Leash Aggression

Can Young Dogs Be Reactive?

Top dog guides per area

Dog training guides

How to Deal With Food Aggression in Dogs (Facts + Infographic) thumbnail

How to Deal With Food Aggression in Dogs (Facts + Infographic)

Does your dog ever growl when you walk by their food dish? Maybe they get possessive of treats, carrying them far away and giving you side-eye when you start to approach — or snarling at your other pets or children if they get too close.

Comprehensive Guide to Scent Training for Dogs (Facts + Infographic) thumbnail

Comprehensive Guide to Scent Training for Dogs (Facts + Infographic)

As almost every dog owner is aware, the nose of a dog is an amazing thing. Just as they can pick up sounds we can’t hear, their sense of smell and ability to pick up scents is well beyond ours. In fact, dogs have 40 times the number of olfactory receptors as humans.

How Much Does it Cost to Train a Service Dog? thumbnail

How Much Does it Cost to Train a Service Dog?

More than 80 million Americans rely on their service dogs to help them navigate the world. Task-trained assistance animals perform a huge range of life-changing—in many cases, life-saving—services: These dogs act as eyes for visually impaired handlers, provide mobility support, alert to seizures and blood sugar crashes, interrupt anxiety attacks, remind their people to take medications, and so much more.

What is and How to Handle Potty Training Regression thumbnail

What is and How to Handle Potty Training Regression

You thought your dog was house trained. Your home was clean from puddles of pee, those dreaded middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks were behind you, and you loved every minute of dog ownership… until your four-legged best friend started using the bathroom inside again. What’s going on?

Coprophagia: Why Does Your Dog Eat Poop? thumbnail

Coprophagia: Why Does Your Dog Eat Poop?

Ah, poop. We humans think it’s disgusting… but many of our dogs seem to love the stuff. If you’re wondering why your canine companion tries to eat feces (either their own or that of other animals) you’re not alone!

Dog enrichment guides

The Best Dog Water Parks in the United States thumbnail

The Best Dog Water Parks in the United States

Do you have a water-loving dog looking to burn some energy? There are countless dog parks to visit throughout our country — but some of them become far too hot in the midday sun to be safe for your pets to play. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the best dog water parks throughout the United States! At these locations, your pup can frolic, splash, and swim to their heart’s content.

Best Toys for Herding Dogs thumbnail

Best Toys for Herding Dogs

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

The Best Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers (Facts + Infographic) thumbnail

The Best Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers (Facts + Infographic)

Does your dog destroy every toy you give them? Is your house littered with remnants of fabric and stuffing of all different sizes? Are you tired of investing in “indestructible” toys only for your pup to still dismantle—or worse, get bored of—them in just a few days?

Dog Exercise Calculator: How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need? thumbnail

Dog Exercise Calculator: How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

You’ve been told your dog needs regular exercise. There’s a reason “walking the dog” is a classic daily activity: Frequent excursions give your pup a chance to experience the world, maintain a healthy weight, and — most importantly — spend time with you! Consistent physical activity can also improve their strength, muscle tone, coordination, and mental ability over time.

Complete Guide To Herding With Dogs thumbnail

Complete Guide To Herding With Dogs

* All Sniffspot articles are reviewed by certified trainers for quality, please see bottom of article for details *

Sniffspot community guides

The State of Public Dog Parks Across the United States thumbnail

The State of Public Dog Parks Across the United States

From 2009 to 2020, there was a 40 percent increase in the development of public dog parks. Designated spots for canine exercise have become commonplace in every major city in North America — many pet owners won’t even consider renting an apartment that doesn’t have its own fenced-in pet area for their canine companions.

How This Family is Affording Their Dream Property Through Renting it Hourly to Dogs thumbnail

How This Family is Affording Their Dream Property Through Renting it Hourly to Dogs

Thousand Oaks, California has been a safe haven for Sniffspot host, Jen, since childhood. Having grown up in busy Santa Barbara, Jen, an introvert from an early age, would seek out solitude and serenity away from tourists attractions and droves of people visiting from elsewhere. “My grandparents own 60 acres about a 30 minute drive from here, and I grew up spending every summer and every holiday visiting them on the ranch,” Jen explained. “In Santa Barbara, we wouldn't go to the beach on the weekend because that's where everybody was, so you'd find places off the beaten path where the tourists weren't. For me, the ranch was just my happy place.” 

Host Tips: Ellen K. What Makes Sniffspot Successful for Me thumbnail

Host Tips: Ellen K. What Makes Sniffspot Successful for Me

Ellen is the host of Country Pasture Getaway, one of Sniffspot's most popular sniff spots. She has taken the time to write up the lessons she has learned about how to be a great sniff spot host.

How this Oregon Farmer is Making a Business From Renting Her Land to Dogs thumbnail

How this Oregon Farmer is Making a Business From Renting Her Land to Dogs

Just 20 minutes outside of the busy city of Portland, Oregon, and settled right on the banks of the Columbia River, you’ll find what countless visitors have flocked to the area in search of – mountain views, crisp, clean air, and running water for miles. What you might not expect to find, however, is a hidden oasis designed just for dogs and their people, owned and operated by a farming couple and enjoyed by visitors on two legs, and four.  

Host Tips: Fran T. Providing Great Guest Service at our Spot thumbnail

Host Tips: Fran T. Providing Great Guest Service at our Spot

Fran is the host of Ranch Setting, one of Sniffspot's most popular spots. She has taken the time to write up the lessons she has learned about how to be a great Sniffspot host.

Top dog trainers in the US

The Best Dog Trainers in the United States of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in the United States of 2023

Welcome to the United States Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in the United States based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used.

The Best Dog Trainers in New Jersey of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in New Jersey of 2023

Welcome to the New Jersey Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in New Jersey based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

The Best Dog Trainers in Michigan of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Michigan of 2023

Welcome to the Michigan Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Michigan based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

The Best Dog Trainers in Washington of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Washington of 2023

Welcome to the Washington Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Washington based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

The Best Dog Trainers in Florida of 2023 thumbnail

The Best Dog Trainers in Florida of 2023

Welcome to the Florida Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Florida based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

City dog parks guides

The Best Indoor Dog Parks in the United States thumbnail

The Best Indoor Dog Parks in the United States

Looking for a space to play with your dog no matter what the weather’s like outside? Look no further than our list of the best indoor dog parks in the United States! These climate-controlled spaces are growing in popularity as pet ownership increases throughout the country. As a bonus, many of them also offer dog training, boarding, grooming, or daycare services on the premises.

The Best Off-Leash Dog Parks in the United States thumbnail

The Best Off-Leash Dog Parks in the United States

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog? We’ve got you covered! It’s hard to narrow down, but we’ve put together some of the best off-leash dog parks throughout the country so you can plan your next adventure — along with a checklist of what to bring, what to know beforehand, and some frequently asked questions.

The Best Las Vegas, Nevada Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best Las Vegas, Nevada Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog in Las Vegas? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at the best local dog parks to plan for your next adventure in Sin City.

The Best United States Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best United States Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog? We’ve got you covered!

The Best Portland, Oregon Dog Parks thumbnail

The Best Portland, Oregon Dog Parks

Looking for the perfect place to play with your dog in Portland? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at the best local dog parks and plan for your next adventure in the City of Roses.

dog reactivity

It is hard to be a dog in the modern world. Dog's evolved in an environment where they ran free alongside hunter gatherers. They evolved to love, protect and have close social connections. Today humans and their dogs are moving into cities. The urban environment doesn't fit how dogs were evolved. All the strangers, sounds, smells and dangers create an environment where dogs can't get the exercise, enrichment and relaxation they need. As a result we are seeing all kinds of issues gaining prominence in dogs - obesity, depression and reactivity.

Sniffspot is an antidote to many of the problems of the modern city. By providing safe, private spaces for dogs to exercise we allow dogs to just be dogs. Many of our guests have dogs that are struggling with reactivity and use Sniffspot as an escape. So we are highly interested in dog reactivity.

This section of our blog covers all kinds of topics around reactivity, including finding support when you have a reactive dog, different facets of reactivity, how to help your dog with reactivity and more.

Our blog is dedicated to relevant, high quality articles with modern advice aligned with recognized dog experts. We believe in force free training and do not advocate any kind of aversive training.

dog reactivity FAQ

What is dog reactivity?

Dog reactivity refers to a dog's tendency to overreact or display an intense response to certain stimuli, such as other dogs, people, or objects. This behavior can manifest in different ways, including barking, lunging, growling, or even biting.

What causes dog reactivity?

There are various factors that can contribute to dog reactivity, including genetics, socialization, past experiences, and health issues. Lack of socialization during the critical period of a dog's development, traumatic experiences, and pain or discomfort can also play a role.

Can dog reactivity be treated?

Yes, dog reactivity can be treated with proper training and behavior modification techniques. The goal is to help the dog feel more comfortable and less anxious around the triggers that set off their reactivity. Positive reinforcement training, counterconditioning, and medication can all be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Is dog reactivity a form of aggression?

Dog reactivity is not always a sign of aggression, but it can lead to aggressive behavior if not addressed. Reactive dogs are often anxious or fearful and may lash out if they feel threatened or overwhelmed. It's essential to address dog reactivity early on to prevent aggressive behavior from developing.

Can dog reactivity be prevented?

While some dogs may be predisposed to reactivity due to genetics, early and consistent socialization can help prevent or reduce the severity of dog reactivity. Regular exposure to different people, animals, and environments during the critical period of a dog's development can help them learn to feel safe and comfortable in a variety of situations.

What should I do if my dog is reactive?

If you suspect your dog is reactive, it's important to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess your dog's behavior and develop a customized treatment plan.