Just one step, squeezy cheese, and this trainer's tip to help your dog's reactivity

Woman in wheelchair handing her dog a treat
(Image credit: Getty)

Dogs can be triggered by all kinds of encounters and fellow pooches while out walking and, sometimes, as an owner you might feel like you have no control over their reaction. But there’s one trick we think you should give a go. 

A popular dog trainer on Instagram shows how simply carrying some squeezy cheese with you on walks could be the answer to managing your dog's reactivity, and gaining back control of the situation.

Firstly, you may be wondering can dogs eat cheese? While it isn’t on our list for best dog treats, cheese is safe to give to your dog, in moderation, like how it is used for this trick shared by ameliathedogtrainer (opens in new tab) on Instagram. 

The super short video demonstration has received just under 2,000 likes and many positive comments from other dog owners on Instagram. The video shows the owner maintaining the attention of their Black German Shepherd by feeding them some squeezy cheese. You see the one-year-old shepherd, Blue (opens in new tab), who has his very own Instagram page, turn his attention from a person running nearby to the commands of his owner within seconds.

The word cues over the video explain that, “Sometimes reactivity training is as simple as…watching the world go by and eating cheese”. Here's what it looked like:

Watch this dog respond to owner holding squeezy cheese:

Dog training and behavior specialist Amelia, who shared the helpful video, wrote in her caption, “Reactivity training doesn’t always have to look fancy! In fact the easier you make it, the better!”

The comments of the post were full of dog owners rearing to give the trick a go or sharing their very own success stories with squeezy cheese and excitable dogs turned calm and attentive ones. 

One person commented, “We’ve been doing this with our newish rescue and I'm starting to see some results. The other day she saw a squirrel and just looked up at me as we kept walking. This was a huge step.”

One dog owner did express how their dog seems to have outsmarted the cheese hack, “How do you move past this stage? My dog now gets excited when she sees a dog and looks to me consistently for treats, but as soon as a dog goes close (about 6 feet) proximity to her she becomes reactive and non-responsive to food.”

If you encounter this hurdle as well, consider what your dog likes best and use high-value rewards to mark the behavior you do want to see. You'll also want to add space between your dog and the trigger until you can build up their ability to stay focused on you. There could also be other factors contributing to your dog's level of reactiveness for example, you may want to find out the answer to; how do I know if I have a scared dog or not?