We all know that there is a difference between a reactive dog and a proactive dog. But what is it? How do we know which one we have? And is there anything we can do about it?
Identifying the Differences
Let’s make some generalizations. A proactive dog is one that asks for things, whereas a reactive dog is one that waits to be told what to do. A proactive dog will initiate play with you or another dog, while a reactive dog will wait until you or another dog initiates play. A proactive dog will walk on a loose leash most of the time, while a reactive dog will pull on the leash most of the time. A proactive dog is generally easier to train than a reactive dog.
I want to emphasize again that this is not intended as an absolute guide, just an overview of the differences between proactive and reactive dogs. For more detailed descriptions and analysis, please see my books Understanding Your Dog and Living with Kids and Dogs.
There is a lot of information about dog training and behavior, which can be confusing. In this article, you will learn about the different types of dogs and how to train them.
There are two main types of dogs: proactive dogs and reactive dogs. Each type has strengths that may help you better understand your dog’s behavior and how to train him or her.
Proactive dogs have traits such as hunting, herding, chasing, guarding, nipping and barking. These are all natural behaviors for dogs, but can be problematic if not controlled correctly.
These dogs are often hard-wired to be a little bossy and need to know where they stand in the pack. They like to have tasks in their lives and need regular exercise and mental stimulation. Activities such as agility training and scent work can provide a proactive dog with the activity they crave.
Proactive dogs also respond well to training that focuses on positive reinforcement rather than punishment.
Reactive dogs are more sensitive to their surroundings and tend to be more independent than proactive dogs. These dogs often have strong prey drives that make them chase small animals or dash into traffic after squirrels or other moving objects. They can be very sensitive to sound, making them fearful of loud
There are two basic types of dog behavior. Let’s call them the proactive and reactive types. Each type has its advantages, but they are best suited to different kinds of training, and it’s important to know what kind of dog you have so you can train him effectively.
Trying to force a dog into a mold that doesn’t fit is why so many people get frustrated with their dogs.
Proactive Dogs: These are the kind that seem to like nothing better than a good long game of fetch or tug-of-war. For these dogs, it seems that nothing in the world compares to a job they’ve been given and they just love problem-solving. They’re the ones who will run back and forth looking for a ball you’ve thrown over the fence. They’re also the ones who will be happy whether it’s walk time or not, as long as they know there is a job for them to do – and if it isn’t walking time yet, they’ll start looking for ways to amuse themselves until it is.
These dogs want lots and lots of exercise (not only does their energy need an outlet, you need one too.) They need more mental stimulation than dogs of other types; otherwise, boredom can cause problems ranging from destructive chewing
Most trainers make the mistake of thinking that their dog’s behavior is a choice. They will say things like, “It’s totally my fault that he’s doing this. If I had done something differently, or trained him better, he wouldn’t have done this.” But the truth is, most of what your dog does is not a choice.
Telling a reactive dog to “Control yourself!” won’t do much good. Why not? Because you can’t control yourself if you are not proactive.
A proactive dog will either ignore the other dog, or greet him calmly. He may bark in an excited way once or twice to tell the other dog to come over and meet him (a lot of barking at another dog means “come over here! I want to meet you!”). But after that he will just go back to whatever it was he was doing before.
Because proactive dogs don’t feel a need to protect their territory, they don’t feel aroused when they see another dog across the street or in the park. In fact, they may actually look at that other dog as an interesting thing to investigate (they may even approach him
You don’t have to have a reactive dog to follow these tips. However, if you do have a reactive dog, you need to know that it is not bad or wrong for your dog to be like this. It is natural and normal.
Reactive dogs can be tough dogs to handle, and they are harder to train than proactive dogs. If you are working with a reactive dog, I would also highly recommend that you enroll in a good training program with a well-qualified trainer who is familiar with positive reinforcement training techniques.
Treats can be used for training reactive dogs with the caveat that you should never resort to force or punishment at any point (or use treats as rewards when using force or punishment). I believe that most of the food-reward issues we see with reactive dogs stem from the fact that people sometimes use treats as bribes in order to get the dog to shut up about barking at the mailman or other triggers.
Rewards should always be given freely and happily. If you are using force or fear of force (barking, growling, lunging) you ARE NOT doing positive reinforcement training! (If you are unsure what I mean by this statement refer back to my first article on Rewards and Punishment.)
Your dog is one of the most important animals in your life, and you want to make sure that he or she is as happy and healthy as possible. But how do you know whether or not your dog is happy?
If your dog is perfectly happy with sleeping all day, then you might want to take notice. Dogs are creatures that need exercise and playtime. If they are not getting this, they may be depressed or even ill.
Trying to figure out if a dog is depressed can be hard to do, which means that some people might have their dogs put down when they really don’t have to. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn what the key signs are that suggest that a dog is depressed, so that you can help them get better and enjoy a happier life.
When trying to figure out what your dog’s personality is like, it’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of dogs out there. These different types of dogs react differently to things in their environment. For example, some dogs will react very aggressively in new situations whereas others will be more interested in investigating the situation at hand.