Reactive Rover - Groundwork

7 weeks - $195
Audit (attend without your dog) $75

If you dread going for walks for fear that your dog will bark and lunge when he sees another dog, or if you cannot work with your dog in a normal group class because your dog displays aggression towards the other dogs, then this is a class for you.

Please note that this class is specifically for dogs that display reactivity to other dogs. If your dog is directing aggression towards humans, please contact us to discuss other options such as auditing the class.

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What do you mean by “groundwork”?
This class will not directly address your dog’s reactivity in close proximity to other dogs. Before you can do that, you need some tools as a trainer. You need a system to communicate with your dog. You need engagement from your dog. You need to teach impulse control. These tools are the “groundwork” that we will work on over the course of 7 weeks.

While the class does not deal directly with reactivity, there is a good chance that you will see some improvement in your dog’s behaviour as your relationship changes and your dog begins to understand what is expected of him.

Are there any prerequisites?
The only prerequisite for this class is that you must be able to leave your dog calmly in a crate, or preferably in your vehicle, without him barking. If you are not able to meet this requirement, please contact us for help with crate training your dog and teaching him to be comfortable left alone in a crate and vehicle.

How are the dogs worked safely in a group class?
In this class, the dogs are worked one at a time. When not working, dogs are crated or in their vehicles or safely in separate rooms in the building. The dogs will never see or meet each other during this class. This is a foundation training class that will be held in an already distracting environment.

When your dog is not working, you will be observing the dog/handler team that is working. We can learn so much from watching one another and our dogs. The environment is relaxed, friendly, supportive, and fun!

What will we cover?

  • Causes of reactivity, how this affects prognosis and how to deal with the reactivity

  • Equipment that will benefit the reactive dog and help to keep him safe

  • Management to prevent undesirable behaviour

  • The foundations needed for any training, focusing on engagement, impulse control and relationship-building through working towards rock-solid foundation behaviours

How will this class benefit me and my dog?
All dogs benefit from training. It’s fun, it’s brainwork and it builds your relationship with your dog. Obedience is beneficial to fearful dogs, whose confidence can be increased when they are given a job they know how to do. Rock-solid obedience is also an important tool in your management toolbox. With our more challenging dogs, the reality is that the human at the end of the leash has to be a better trainer than someone with a more easy-going dog. This class will give you the skills to be that better trainer.  

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What are Best Paw Forward’s expectations?
Changing behaviour takes much longer than teaching from scratch. You must be realistic about this and the commitment it will take. We need you to be committed to attending every class. You must also be committed to implementing management strategies, doing your homework and working with your dog every day.

Changing your dog’s behaviour may also involve changing your behaviour. How you live with your dog will heavily influence how your dog behaves when he’s out and about. Some of the suggested changes may be more realistic for you than others, depending on your personality and lifestyle, but we ask that you be open to considering all of the suggestions and implementing the ones that are most appropriate for you and your dog.  

What can you expect from us?

We will look at the dogs and humans in front of us and work with you to come up with the best training and management plan for each team. That’s how we see you and your dog - training is teamwork.

All classes come with weekly homework handouts to guide you through your home practice.

Important Note: We cannot guarantee that your dog’s reactivity can be cured. Your success at changing your dog’s behaviour will depend on a number of factors, some of which you can control (e.g. how you live with your dog) and some of which you cannot (e.g. your dog’s inherited behavioural traits.) While some dogs are able to overcome their reactivity with the help of their human companions, other dogs remain more or less reactive for their lives. In either case, management and rock-solid obedience are important tools and your relationship with your dog will improve as you learn how to understand and communicate more clearly with one another.