Reactive Aggressive Dog Training Classes DC

**We currently don't have any reactive dog classes on the schedule.  If you need help with your reactive dog, please contact [email protected] for private sessions.  Thank you!**


Our Reactive Dog Classes are for dog reactive dogs, dogs who bark, whine, vocalize, growl, and lunge on-leash at other dogs.  The classes in the series are Reactive Dog 1, Reactive Dog 2, and Reactive Dog 3.  Dog reactive dogs are not necessary dog aggressive, they are just dogs who "react" to other dogs.

Reactive 1 teaches foundation skills, Reactive 2 teaches on-leash skills, and Reactive 3 teaches advanced on-leash and some off-leash skills.

Reactive Aggressive Dog Training
Let us help you teach your dog how to work in a group class setting.  Your dog will also learn to walk by other dogs without making a scene.  Advanced dogs will learn to give polite greetings to other dogs and will be able to progress into our regular group class program after they complete our Reactive Dog Classes.  

Through continued exposure both in Reactive Dog Classes and, hopefully, followed by some of our other fun classes, your dog will learn to accept, tolerate, and even enjoy being around other dogs.  We will teach your dog to be calm and quiet and that when he has questions about how to behave, he should look to you for guidance. 

Unlike our typical open enrollment classes, Reactive Dog 1 is a 6-week workshop.  This means that the Reactive 1 course will meet once per week for six weeks with the same class.  This is to minimize the amount of disruption during each class, which will help to ensure lower stress levels and optimal learning.  After six weeks, the instructor will let you know whether or not your dog is ready to move into Reactive 2, or whether you should plan on repeating Reactive 1. 

Reactive 2 and 3 follow our normal open enrollment class design.

There will be mandatory equipment to purchase for Reactive Dog Class, which should cost no more than $40.  Mandatory equipment includes a head collar, a double-ended leash or two leashes, a mat, and a treat pouch.  Depending on your dog, your dog may be required to wear a muzzle, which will also need to be purchased by you.  Please do not purchase equipment until you come to Orientation, as we have specific recommendations about the best equipment for class.  

This class is not appropriate for children.

This class is also not appropriate for dogs who have injured another dog.  This class is not appropriate for human aggressive dogs.  If you are unsure if your dog is appropriate for this class, please contact us at [email protected] or 301-530-0860.   If your dog is not appropriate for a group class, please consider our Private Training Sessions, which may be the perfect fit to provide you with training and to prepare your dog to enter our group class program.

You must attend an Orientation session before attending a Reactive Dog Class.  All classes are 50 minutes in length.

Reactive Dog Class FAQs

Will this class train my dog to be friendly with all other dogs?  No, most reactive dogs have a reactive personality.  While class may teach your dog not to pull and vocalize when seeing other dogs, it doesn't mean your dog is no longer reactive.  

In class, we are teaching you how to handle your reactive dog so that he/she no longer displays reactivity.  Just because your dog doesn't display reactivity, doesn't mean that he/she is not reactive.  Even if you work with your dog and he/she no longer reacts with you, if a less experienced handler were to walk your dog, your dog would likely start reacting again fairly quickly.  However, it is the experience of walking without reacting that will teach your dog new habits over the long run.  This new way of walking will, over time, start to lower your dogs anxiety and arousal on walks in general and especially when seeing other dogs.  It will eventually become habit to not react when seeing other dogs.  Other dogs will become not big deal.  At that point, you can start working on more advanced skills covered in Reactive 2 and 3, such as on-leash greetings.  

I'm not sure I need Reactive Dog 1.  All dogs must start in Reactive Dog 1.  All dogs, especially reactive dogs, tend to feel some element of stress when coming into a new environment with other strange dogs, even if they are not reacting.  By spending at least a class or two in Reactive Dog 1, this will give your dog a chance to decompress and learn to be in an environment with other dogs.  While Reactive 1 tends to be less exciting for us humans, it is critical to your dog's success in our program.  If after a class or two, your dog seems relaxed and comfortable, please feel free to speak with your instructor about moving into Reactive Dog 2. 

How quickly can I expect to see results? This depends on a lot of factors.  How long has your dog been reactive?  What is his/her socialization history?  Is your dog friendly off-leash with other dogs?  Is your dog very motivated to work with you or is your dog very food motivated?  All of these different elements and more combine to give us a better idea of the timeline for your individual dog.  Most dogs will need to be in Reactive Dog Class for a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks.  If you have any specific questions about this, your instructor can give you a better idea after the first few classes.

For a reactive dog, simply being around other dogs in a class setting once per week can have a tremendous effect on their overall level of comfort around other dogs.  While they may be very stressed their first few classes, most dogs quickly learn that other dogs are a regular part of their lifestyle.  We always say that while some dogs go to the dog park every week for their socialization, reactive dogs should come to Reactive Dog Class every week for their socialization!  And then after Reactive Dog Class, a regular training class.  While all dogs benefit from being around other dogs on a regular basis to maintain their social skills, it is critical for reactive dogs to be around other dogs on a regular basis to maintain their social skills and not just the same dogs, but a variety of other dogs.

Some of the biggest mistakes that we see, are people who start to see progress with their reactive dogs.  They are so eager to have a friendly dog that they push the dog into Reactive 2 and 3.  At home, they stop some of the intensive training they've been doing.  At this point, the dog inevitably regress and are now desensitized to the training program.  If you can not commit to at least 6 to 12 classes, we strongly recommend waiting to join our program until you have more time. 

There is an old dog training saying that "behavior modification is like watching paint dry".  That is honestly the case.  It can seem repetitive and boring at times, but it is the consistency and the investment of time that will, over the long run, create true behavior change.  Forget about the flashy, instantaneous fix you saw on TV, for most people it takes much longer than 1 hour to learn all of the handling skills needed to work with their reactive dogs.  If you need your dog to improve quickly, then we recommended joining one of our Day Camps to give a quick boost to your program.  Even with the Day Camp, it will require consistency and follow up on your part to maintain and progress the training learned.