How to Train a Reactive Dog With Online Classes

Reactive dog

Is your dog's reactive behavior tiring you out? Or are you having trouble controlling your dog's enthusiasm when you go for walks? You're not alone! Reactive behavior is common, but it doesn't have to rule your walks anymore. Taking online grooming classes to stop your dog's reactivity is the modern solution you have. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about reactive behavior. Why online classes are a game-changer, and how to find the right fit for your furry friend. With easy-to-follow tips and tricks, you'll soon be on your way to stress-free strolls with your dog by your side.

What Is Dog Reactivity?

Dog reactivity refers to an exaggerated response to everyday stimuli, such as seeing other dogs, strangers, or objects like bicycles or skateboards. Unlike a typical dog's calm or curious reaction, a reactive dog may bark excessively, lunge on the leash, or cower in fear. This behavior can stem from various underlying emotions, including fear, frustration, or excitement. Reactive behaviors in dogs can occur in any setting – whether on-leash, off-leash, indoors, or outdoors.

By recognizing the signs of dog reactivity and understanding its causes, pet owners can take proactive steps to help their dogs overcome these challenges and lead happier, more relaxed lives.

What Causes Reactive Behaviors in Dogs?

Reactive behaviors in dogs can happen from a variety of factors, both internal and external. Here are some common reasons why dogs may exhibit reactive behavior:

  • A lack of socialization during puppyhood can lead to fear or anxiety in new situations.
  • Traumatic past experiences, such as attacks by other dogs or mistreatment by humans.
  • Breed-specific predisposition, with certain breeds being more reactive.
  • Pain or discomfort due to physical ailments can trigger defensive responses.
  • Environmental factors, including an overly sheltered upbringing or exposure to violence, can cause reactivity in dogs.
  • Maternal instincts, such as protective aggression when a mother dog feels her puppies are threatened.
  • Resource guarding, where dogs become reactive to protect items they perceive as valuable.

Signs and Symptoms of Reactive Dog Behaviors?

Recognizing reactive behaviors in dogs is crucial for effective training and management. Here are eight common signs of dog reactivity to watch for:

1. Continuously barking
2. Lunging aggressively
3. Growling defensively
4. Snapping rapidly
5. Freezing or pausing abruptly
6. Avoidance behavior, such as turning away or avoiding eye contact
7. Excessive panting, especially in stressful situations
8. Hyper-vigilance, standing still and alert

Understanding these signs can help pet owners identify when their dog is feeling anxious or reactive. Thus allowing you to take proactive measures to address their needs and ensure their well-being.
In The Dog Groomer Assistant Course, we teach our students to read a dog’s body language and how to approach a dog correctly and safely.

5 Common Types of Dog Reactivity


1. Territorial Reactivity

Dogs may exhibit reactive behavior when they perceive a threat to their territory, such as their home or yard. This can manifest as aggressive barking, lunging, or even biting toward perceived intruders.

2. Leash Reactive

Leash reactivity is when dogs display aggressive or frustrated behavior while on a leash. Because they can't escape, they may bark, lunge, or pull toward perceived threats like other dogs or strangers. Moreover, this can make walks stressful for both dogs and owners.

By utilizing positive reinforcement training techniques can effectively manage leash reactivity and enhance leash manners in dogs. This approach involves rewarding desired behaviors, such as calmness and focus, to encourage more desirable responses during walks.

3. Resource-Based Reactivity

Dogs may become reactive when they feel their resources, such as food, toys, or sleeping areas, are being threatened or taken away. This can lead to possessive behavior and aggression.

4. Reactivity to Specific Triggers

Some dogs may react to specific triggers, such as bicycles, skateboards, or loud vehicles. This reactivity is often linked to past negative experiences or lack of exposure during socialization.

5. Barrier Reactivity

Dogs may become reactive when confined by barriers, such as fences or windows, and perceive a threat on the other side. This can result in intense barking, lunging, or other aggressive behaviors towards the perceived threat.

How to Train a Reactive Dog

Step 1: Enroll in a Course

Enroll in any reputable online grooming courses of PDGA where you will learn about various training techniques and tips on how to manage and train a reactive dog. Follow the registration process and make any necessary payments to gain access to the course materials.

Step 2: Learn About Reactive Behavior

You'll begin by learning online essential dog grooming tips crucial for first-time owners, alongside important tips on how to correctly approach dogs and understand reactive behavior in dogs. This helps you familiarize yourself with common stress, fear, or aggression triggers and signs in your dog.

Step 3: Find Out Specific Triggers

You first have to identify your dog's specific triggers before you can start with their training. Understand how to observe their reactions in various situations and note patterns. Look for signs of stress or fear. Common triggers include encountering other dogs or loud noises. Once reactivity has been identified, use targeted training techniques like desensitization and counterconditioning to help your dog overcome it. Understanding these triggers is key to creating a successful training plan. Counter-conditioning is the process of altering a dog’s emotional response to a situation from negative to positive. Let me explain. The dog has had a bad experience at the previous grooming salon and now fears being groomed.

You can use counter-conditioning to alter his memory of a bad experience to that of an enjoyable one by doing the following:

  • Owners can make the car rides to the groomer enjoyable by giving the dog his favourite toy.
  • Groomers can give healthy treats, love, and affection to the pup after each step of the grooming process.
  • Once grooming is done the groomer can treat the dog with a special treat like a piece of baked liver or something he loves, ask the owners to specify.
  • After grooming the owners can reward the pup with a walk to show off his new look.

By following these steps we are counter-conditioning the bad experience and replacing it with a good one.

Step 4: Improve Communication

Build a strong connection with your dog by mastering techniques like using the leash correctly, employing marker words, and maintaining consistent energy and body language. Emphasize the importance of regular grooming as part of your communication routine, ensuring your dog is comfortable and receptive to training cues. This lays a solid foundation for mutual understanding and cooperation between you and your furry friend.

Step 5: Develop Impulse Control

Teach your dog impulse control by requiring them to wait patiently for rewards and to follow commands such as "stay" or "leave it." Start with small exercises and gradually increase difficulty.

Step 6: Build Confidence

Boost your dog's confidence by exposing them to new experiences and environments in a positive and controlled manner. Focus on creating a safe and predictable environment for your dog.

Step 7: Utilize Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Implement positive reinforcement training techniques provided by online resources to encourage desired behaviors in your reactive dog. Focus on rewarding calm and non-reactive responses to trigger stimuli.

Moreover, dedicate consistent time to practice training exercises with your dog. Consistency is key to reinforcing positive behaviors and helping your dog overcome reactive tendencies.

Step 8: Get Professional Guidance

Think about reaching out to online dog behaviorists who have expertise in handling reactive dogs. Their professional guidance can offer invaluable support and insight as you navigate the training journey. If you're not seeing improvements in your dog's behavior, these experts can thoroughly assess the situation and provide essential guidance on emergency dog care if the situation becomes critical.


Choose the Right Online Course for Handling Reactive Behaviors in Dogs

Considering a grooming course to handle your dog's reactive behaviors? The Professional Dog Grooming Academy offers certified courses tailored to your dog's grooming and reactivity training needs.

Pet Sense College is primarily a correspondence/ distance learning college for education in animal care, welfare, behaviour and training which exclusively represents Compass Education and Training.

Pet Sense College offers the following courses:

These courses will enhance your knowledge and skills to handle and train reactive dogs.

The Dog Groomer Assistant Course

The assistant groomer course is ideal for the basic grooming of your furry friend. During this course you will learn how to read a dog’s body language and how to approach a dog. We will also discuss how to handle various canine emergencies. As this is a grooming course you will also learn brushing, bathing, trimming methods, and techniques to handle anxious or reactive dogs during grooming sessions along with identifying breed-specific coats and health issues. Detailed visual demonstrations make learning comprehensive.

The Intermediate Dog Grooming Course

Advance your skills to manage reactive behaviors effectively. Gain insights into calming techniques and handling methods tailored for reactive dogs. We discuss canine personality profiling and explain a dog’s fear period. Understanding the stages of a dog’s life cycle will assist you with training and reduce the possibility of your dog becoming reactive. In addition, the intermediate dog grooming course delves into advanced techniques like clipping, scissoring, and styling. Sharpen your grooming prowess and elevate your skills.

The Professional Dog Grooming Course

Become a certified groomer with this professional grooming course for dogs, from popular AKC breed specifications to hands-on demonstrations. You will master advanced handling techniques, behavior management strategies, and safety protocols to address reactive behaviors during grooming sessions confidently.


Now the stress of How to train a reactive dog is not a problem anymore. Online classes are fantastic tools for pet parents aiming to tackle their dog's reactive behaviors. This training offers tailored training to suit each dog's unique needs, empowering pet owners with the know-how and techniques to effectively handle reactive tendencies. By taking advantage of expert guidance and practical tips provided in these classes, dog owners can build a positive bond with their pets while ensuring their overall health and happiness.


Why wait, start your dog grooming journey - NOW!

Join our mailing list and get a FREE lesson as a gift!

Back to Blog

Grooming Tips: How to Relieve Dog Allergies

Jun 19, 2024

Dog Grooming Blade Length & Chart: Everything You Need to Know

Jun 19, 2024

Find Why & When Veterinary Care Is Necessary for Your Pet

Jun 19, 2024