Fearful & Reactive Dogs

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While some dogs love to socialise, group walks are not for every dog. Fearful and reactive dogs need one to one attention and care.

My girl Belle is a fearful and reactive dog. We plan our walks to set her up to succeed by choosing quieter walks where we can give her SPACE. Space is my dog Belle’s best friend.

It’s important to me to help my girl lead the happiest, stress free life possible. I’ve worked with a fantastic local trainer and done a fair amount of reading and study to try and make sure I’m doing the best for her I can. Even if that means not taking her to work with me.

Fearful & Reactive Dogs and Dog Walkers

If your dog is pretty robust and happy around other dogs group dog walks can be great to continue their socialisation and help their confidence grow. If your dog isn’t comfortable around other dogs sending them out with a dog walker on group walks is a bad idea. Being transported with other dogs, loaded and unloaded into a vehicle with other dogs along with the actual walk, it’ll be stressful for them.

At best, your dog might shut down and just endure it. At worse, someone’s dog (or someone) will get injured.

How to help your Fearful & Reactive Dog

It can be really lonely, upsetting and frustrating living with a fearful dog. It can feel mentally and physically exhausting. But there is help out there –

  • Contact a reputable Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainer. They’ll put together a plan to help you and your dog. You’ll feel supported and more in control once you make that first positive step to getting help.
  • Speak to your Vet to rule out anything causing discomfort or pain.
  • Educate Yourself so you understand why your dog is behaving the way he is – hes not just trying to embarrass you on walks!
  • Contact an Experienced Dog Walker who offers Solo Walks & Visits. Give yourself a break if you’re rushing home at lunchtime to dash out at the busiest time of day with your dog, only to dash back to work feeling completely frazzled.
  • Use Canine Enrichment Activities to entertain and tire your dog. Often the best thing we can do for fearful or anxious dogs is let them stop home, where they feel safe and provide them with some Brain Games to help them decompress.

To find out more about Canine Enrichment Activities click here

Recommended Resources

Canine Principles is a fantastic online resource. All the teaching is based on science and modern research. All the training techniques are reward based.

Canine Principles founder, Sally Gutteridge has written a wonderful book Inspiring Resilience in Fearful & Reactive Dogs. Buy or download it.

I’ve just completed the related online course. It covered –

  • Observation
  • Canine Body Language
  • Balance & Behaviour
  • Canine Fears & Anxiety
  • Building Your Dogs Confidence
  • The Dogs Safety Bubble
  • Canine Stress
  • Changing Reactive Behaviour
  • Positive Canine Coaching
  • How Canine Wellness Affects Choices & Behaviour
  • Transforming Damaging Habits

Inspiring Resilience in Fearful & Reactive Dogs 30 day program is split into bite size chunks of learning that can be done at your own pace. I’d recommend it to dog owners and pet professionals alike.

Other Studies

Self Control in Dogs with Sian Ryan Seminar – Developing Dogs

Interactive Play Workshop – Craig Ogilvie Dog Training

Communication, Arousal & Problematic Behaviours Workshop – Craig Ogilvie Dog Training

Canine Body Language Workshop – The Dog Training College

Canine First Aid & CPR Workshop(s) – Rachel Bean RVN

Wolf Awareness – Canine Principles (online)

Wonder Walks – Nosey Barker (online)


To find our more about Canine Principles visit http://www.canineprinciples.co.uk

Local Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainers




To find out more about about me and why I became a dog walker click here