If you’ve got a reactive dog, try this trainer’s simple tip for walk time (it’s super easy!)

Dog on a blue leash barking in a field
(Image credit: Sofiia Potanina/Getty Images)

If you've got a reactive dog on your hands, then one of their triggers might be other dogs. This can make things tricky when it comes to walk time, as it's pretty much impossible to avoid other pooches in the park. 

Even if you've clipped them onto one of the best dog leashes, walks might be a stressful situation for the pair of you. This is especially true when other dog walkers don't understand your pup's needs and come towards you.

If you're wondering how to calm a reactive dog and haven't had much luck, then we've found a method that might just help you. Adam Spivey, an expert dog trainer and the founder of Southend Dog Training, shared this tip in a recent Instagram video - and we think it's genius!

When your dog spots another dog on a walk, Adam recommends doing these two things instantly: leading them back towards you and giving them one of the best dog treats. In the video, he explains that this will teach your dog that the sight of another dog means food.

He says: "Get that reward in at the second she looks at the dog. What she's learnt is: sight, get stiff (tail gets stiff/body gets stiff), and then I react." 

He explains that it's important to do this before your dog explodes. This is because it allows you to quickly alter their emotional response in a positive way. 

Practice makes perfect and you might need to repeat this a few times for them to fully get the hang of it.

If your dog isn't interested in food, then you can try moving backwards to get them to come towards you instead. Alternatively, Adam recommends giving them one of the best dog toys, praising them or trying to build up their food drive. 

To begin with, Adam suggests practicing the movement with no other dogs around to give them a chance to get used to it. It's also a good idea to try it somewhere where there its lots of space. This will help you both to feel more prepared when you pass a dog for real.

Enjoyed this? You might also find these features useful: My reactive dog impacted my entire household, here's what I did about it and how to tackle dog aggression: 5 dog behavior problems solved.


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Megan Milstead
Staff Writer

Megan is a Staff Writer on PetsRader, covering news, features and buying guides. She has a wealth of experience looking after animals, having grown up with dogs, cats and horses all of her life. She’s particularly interested in pet happiness and behavior, which she loves to research in her spare time. You’ll often find her watching webinars on reactivity in dogs or researching cat body language. She loves going the extra mile for her cats Chilli and Nala (who also help out with testing the best products for our buying guides). 

Megan studied BA Journalism at the University of Westminster, where she specialized in lifestyle journalism and was editor of Smoke Radio’s online magazine. She also graduated from West Herts College with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Journalism. Before joining the PetsRadar family last year, she worked on the editorial team at Harrods and has spent most of her career writing for specialized titles, like RunningShoesGuru, Licklist and Mr. After Party. 

Megan works alongside qualified vets and accredited trainers to ensure you get the best advice possible. She is passionate about finding accurate and helpful answers to your pet-related questions.