Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reactive Dog, Selective Dog

Mushroom attended her first level 2 reactive dog class last night in a completely new (to her) location. We didn't get any pictures because L stayed home, so I was handling Mushroom the whole time. In case you've forgotten (I feel like we've been posting a lot more pictures of Badger), this is Mushroom.

Remember me?

There were only 4 dogs in the class, and 2 of them spent the first few minutes of class barking smack. Mushroom? She never lost focus and kept looking back at me for clicks and treats. Honestly, she was a lot calmer and better behaved than Badger was on his first day of group training (though the reactive dog class had barriers set up so she could only see 1 other dog plus the head of the tall dog). I'm thinking that after this set of reactive dog classes ends, Mushroom might be able to enroll in regular dog classes with Badger.

Badger, on the other hand, has had a couple of not-so-great incidents with other dogs over the past month. He was snarly toward a dog at play group that he hadn't met before. But after that particular dog left,
Badger was completely fine with all the other dogs there, some of which he'd also never met. Then, in a separate incident, another dog jumped at Badger, and their leashes got tangled, resulting in a snapping dog right up in Badger's face. No one was bitten in either incident, so I don't know how worried I should be, considering that he's also been just fine near a lot more other dogs.

Badger is weird with dogs. Most dogs he completely ignores. Some dogs, like Mushroom, he never leaves alone. And he even ignores Mushroom when he's on-leash. We've been considering enrolling him in a Control Unleashed class after he's done with his current class, so we will definitely check with the instructor about whether he'll be allowed in.

Can't I just skip straight to my CGC test?

On the other, other hand, Mushroom is fantastic when she's off-leash around other dogs - playful but appropriate. I don't even know anymore. I just feed them.

Do you know a reactive dog or a selective dog? Is there any link between the two?


  1. That's a good question! Neither of my dogs are reactive, but I would call Kaya selective. She gets pissed off at some dogs that are too dominant or in her face, others can torture her all day...I'm still trying to find out the difference. My solution was to get her trained well enough that I can tell her who to play with and when, usually letting Norman be the test dummmy, haha.

  2. Turk and Rufus are both dog selective - mostly it has to do with dogs getting in their faces. I love that you have so many different kinds of training classes! Very cool! I might need to seek out these kinds of specialized classes for my pooches!

    1. We've grown to love training classes because it allows Badger and Mushroom to be around other people and dogs, and we can reasonably expect that other people will respect our training goals.

  3. Hank is normally really good with other dogs (he's not into the herding dogs though, he doesn't like to be herded). We had an incident with our normal dog/puppy play group. First time one of them snapped at Hank and I don't know even know what happened but a stick was involved. The other was when a puppy got in Hank's face when Hank was eating a treat. After that I was like okay it's time to go home (it was dark anyways) and the other lady was like he did nothing wrong. I just didn't want it to escalate, I like these people and these dogs (they are all under 2 years old except for 1 and love to play with each other.) I love taking training classes with Hank, unfortunately we had to take a session off :( but I still joke that the dog has more "diplomas" then me.

  4. where do you take classes?

  5. now I'm responding back on your blog! yeah, Methuen would be a bit of a trek for us and it looks like they only have more basic classes at the Boston location. oh well. I had Maisie's collar custom made because I loved it and I am crazy like that. also, she plays so rough and is at daycare 5x/week, so she needs a really durable leather collar that won't fall apart. I ordered it from