Trainer shares the secret to training your dog (and it's super effective no matter what skill or behavior you're working on!)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Leash training and reactivity training are both important. If your dog is happy and well-behaved on a leash, it’ll make your life a lot easier, while reactivity training if your pup needs it will help keep them safe and make them feel more comfortable, too.

While there are differences between these two types of training, the building blocks that you can put in place for both of them are often the same, and you’ll probably only need some of the best dog treats, nothing more!

In particular, there’s one thing to think about when it comes to leash or reactivity training your pup, and certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman, of Mission Pawsitive, has explained all we need to know in a recent Instagram post. 

Goodman explains that it’s important to build a solid foundation of voluntary engagement before you start with the leash training or reactivity training itself.

In the video, she explains that she’s working with two dogs on their leash skills and reactivity around other dogs but is starting by teaching them to engage with her, and says, “This type of training goes far beyond just getting your dog to listen to you. It’s about teaching your dog that you are worth paying attention to, it’s fun to work with you, and you are better than anyone or anything they may come across.”

Goodman continues, “Focusing on building a stronger connection with your dog in this context is far more effective in reaching your end goal than getting upset or just punishing what you don’t like.

“Especially if your dog wants to interact with other dogs they see, they will choose you if they learn from experience that paying attention to you is a better bet on something fun happening.”

She explains in her caption that the goal is for your dog to choose you over other distractions, no matter what. If your pup knows that by coming to you or focusing on you they’ll get attention and treats, they’ll choose you as you’re more desirable. 

If you’re a dog, you’re going to be faced with lots of exciting things when you’re outside. It’s understandable that our pups might want to go off and explore, or go up to other people or dogs. However, if you’ve got some of their favorite treats to hand and you give them plenty of attention, they’re less likely to bother with other people. 

If you think your dog’s routine is a bit boring, and you’d like to add more excitement to help you become more desirable, here are 32 ways to build more fun into your dog’s routine. And, if you are struggling with a reactive dog, you might find the following article useful: I played these 7 fun games to engage my reactive dog and they improved her impulse control.

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.