Living with dogs

Reactive Dogs / Aggressive Dogs

Living with reactive dogs is a challenge and at times down right embarassing. As you walk down the sidewalk with your fiesty fido, people send you scowls or worse yet comments asking you to get your dog under control.

Did you know that most aggresssion is fear based? So how do you handle a dog that is freaking out on leash that is afraid of "stuff"? Stuff can be anything from other dogs, people, to anything in the environment. It is important to understand that your dog is not trying to be naughty, he is just afraid. He has learned in times past that barking and lunging will scare off whatever is scaring him. If it worked before, then he will try it again to see if it will work again.

When you know that fear is the basis for your dogs behaviour, then you need to implement a training program that will pair positive associations with those things that upset your dog. You will need to work at a distance that your dog can still cope, otherwise any training attempt will become futile.

Need more help? Paus-n-Train offers a class called Reactive Rover that teaches games for the owners to play with their dogs in the presence of the things that upsets their dog while systematically exposing the dogs to the things that upset them. Please visit the website for more info or to register:


Wag it! Games

Wag it! Games is a new upcoming sport for dogs that encompasses several skills. There are Obstacle Skills, Water Skills, Shadow Skills, Sniff it! and Dog Ball.

Wag it! Games are designed to be relationship first sports. All games are taught with positive reinforcement methods so that both you and your dog have a blast training together.

Obstacle Skills includes walking up and down steps, patterned movements through hoola hoops, riding scooters, directional sends to push Staple's Easy buttons. Skills learned in this course will increase your dog's self confidence and prepare the dog for agility if you decids you and your dog want more.

Water skills is a course that your dog must swim in the water. They must follow directional and speed cues given by the owner.

In Shadow Skills the dogs learn more heeling work. This game borrows from Rally-Obedience and Freestyle as the dogs learn to spin and twirl and back up.

Sniff it! is made up of different nose work games that include finding a treat or the owners scent in a muffin tin filled with tennis balls, searching through children's pop up tents and doing a container search. Dogs love to sniff!

Dog Ball is teaching the dogs to roll a yoga ball with their noses while the owners guide the dogs through a course. The game ends when the dogs push the ball into the "goal".

While the games themselves are designed to be fun, dogs and handlers will be learning lots of practical real life skills that can be used in everyday life.

Check out for details, class dates and registration.

Tips & Tools

Why do dogs pull on leash?

There are 3 reasons.

  1. the dog has learned that pulling will get them to where they want to go.
  2. the dog has learned that you will follow them even if the person doesn't enjoy being pulled.
  3. the leash is so short or tight that they have to lean against the pressure of the leash to keep their balance.

The best solution is, relax your leash and decide that you will never follow your dog while it pulls again. Consistency is key here. If the dog gets to practice pulling every once in a while then he will never learn to not pull. If your dog pulls just stop, be a tree or change direction.