By Erica Beckwith
…at the beginning of a behavior consultation in August last year, my client pulled out all the equipment she and her husband were using or had used for their reactive dog, Cassie, a 20-lb terrier mix. She had said on the phone, “We have tried everything,” and she was right. She pulled out harnesses, prong collars, a slip lead and a shock collar. They were desperate—as so many reactive dog owners are—to stop the behavior. If you have ever owned or walked a reactive dog, you know how frustrating and embarrassing it can be to have your dog turn into a whirling dervish at the end of the leash every time another dog appears. Unfortunately, without meaning to or being aware of it, using equipment that caused pain to try to address the behavior had likely made Cassie’s reactivity worse. Every time she saw other dogs, she had been shocked, or choked, or had prongs dug into her neck. Because dogs learn through association, she was learning that seeing dogs was always bad news for her—it hurt to see other dogs! Read more.