11 Dogs That Your Reactive Dog May Struggle With

November 16, 2022
November 16, 2022

Understanding what your reactive dog might struggle with can be so confusing!

It can feel like it’s the world that’s the problem, that there’s no pattern, or that there might be a pattern, but seeing it sometimes can be really difficult. You know that some dogs provoke a stronger reaction, or that some dogs are less problematic.

Sure there are some really obvious times, like when you turn a blind corner and walk straight into the neighbours terrier – but other times it can be a mystery.

Categories

Typically, these dogs fall into a couple of categories;

  1. Socially rude
  2. Over energetic
  3. Dogs whose selective breeding inhibits communication.

All of these play on the insecurities of your reactive dog, where they expect to see a threat, they will see one! But it comes down to nuances of body language a lot of the time.

Why Do You Need To Know This?

Well, to me, one of the toughest things reactive dog parents go through is the not knowing.

Not knowing triggers makes getting a starting point so tough. So I wanted to share a shortlist of dogs who can be problematic for reactive dogs.

These all come from my experience with my reactive dog, and working with reactive dogs.

1 – Dogs With An Intense Stare

Collie Stalking, this can be very intimidating for a nervous dog because a collie is famous for their stare

This tends to come with what they’re bred for. These dogs tend to be herding breeds, and the stare helps them intimidate livestock. So, when you combine that with a dog who might be a touch more nervous or prone to anxiety, may read that stare as a threat – because that’s what it was intended as. This one is a selective breeding thing, and only really become more apparent as these dogs transitioned from working dogs to

Examples: Border collie,

2 – Untrained Dogs

untrained dogs can be problematic for reactive dogs because of the nature of these dogs

Because they’re untrained, and their human isn’t advocating for them as they should be, they’re likely they’ve never been socialised properly – or worse have a faulty idea of what socialisation actually is.

Consequently, these dogs who don’t, won’t, or haven’t been taught to listen become a huge threat, you have a person behind them yelling, and a dog approaching in an incredibly direct manner.

Example: Any dog.

3 – Running dogs

a running dog can be deemed as a threat to a reactive dog

Running dogs, especially excited running dogs approach fast, and quickly narrow down your reactive dog’s choice to fight, or flee.

Normally, a reactive dog’s response to any threat is fight. So, it happens very quickly.

Note: this is often made worse by the fact that running dogs may not be looking at your reactive dog, and may be taking a very direct path, after, say, a ball.

4 – Playful dogs

playful afghan hound - these dogs can be so problematic because they want to play

Dogs who really want to play are a kicker. Because even though they have good intentions, they can be very intense about their want to play. That may lead them to ignore social cues, and be overly persistent.

For your reactive dog, the ignoring of a subtle sign gives them no indication that this dog is a dog to be trusted, and can cause them to escalate their behaviour.

It very quickly then becomes a learned response that playful dogs don’t want good things, and hones a negative response.

5 – Rude Dogs

a rude poodle swearing can be a problem

Rude dogs may not be swearing like this poodle, but, they are dogs who may have minimal politeness in communication. They might be too bullish, they might be a little too direct or ignore social cues.

Similar to the playful dog, this tends to mean that your reactive dog can look at these dogs and read “This dog is a threat”.

6 – Chest Proud Dogs

chest proud dogs are problematic for reactive dogs

Some breeds have been bred to have a natural, very forward stance, be broad-chested, and to lean into their build. This is often referred to as being “Chest proud”.

Aesthetically, to us humans, this can look great! But in dog body language, this can be read as a threat. So, when your reactive dog sees a chest proud dog, they can read this dog to be a threat — when they’re not.

Examples: Akitas, Boxers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Bully breeds

7 – Fluffy Dogs or those with unusual coats

Fluffy dogs can be a big problem, because they're harder to read

This again comes down to the ability to read the dog.

Think about talking with another person. If you can see their face, you can tell whether their tone is humourous, or perhaps sarcastic. However, if you now talk to that person under a sheet, would it be so easy to tell their meaning from just the tone of their voice?

It’s easy to see that these dogs can become problematic for an uncertain dog.

Example: Tibetan Mastiff, Komondor, Old English Sheepdog, Portuguese water dog, bearded collie, Some doodle breeds

8 – Brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds

flat faced or brachycephalic breeds are hard for reactive dogs to read

We’ve bred a lot of these breeds to look “cute” but their snuffly face inhibits their ability to communicate – especially when we consider that the wrinkles could easily look like a snarling face, and then when coupled with the noises these dogs make? It would be easy to assume this dog doesn’t mean well.

Examples: English bulldogs, boxer dogs, pugs, frenchies, Bostons

9 – High Energy Dogs

high energy dogs

Some dogs are naturally higher energy dogs, I’d call them scatty, they’re here, they’re there, and then they’re over there! And they’re running like crazy puppers!

Typically, this is a cute thing to see, but, when you see it through the eyes of your reactive dog who’s not sure what’s going on, and instinctively has lower trust of other dogs, this dog begins to look like, I would imagine, how we see a nervous, twitchy addict. They’re not predictable, and consequently, they make us feel unnerved.

This is what your reactive dogs sees. Erratic movement, lack of predictability,

Examples: Spaniels, Boxers,

10 – Black Dogs

Black labrador

Because dog’s eyesight comes in a scale from blue to yellow, a black coat can create a certain same-ness that we can conclude creates problems for a dog’s eyes – I mean – it’s common that a black dog doesn’t even photograph well unless the light conditions are just right, it’s not a shock that our dogs can find it difficult to see the details of their face.

Examples: Black Labs, Black Newfoundlands, Black German Shepherds,

And Of Course, Other Reactive Dogs

Any time two reactive dogs cross paths, this is always a pretty obvious situation that is going to trigger your reactive dog. Even if it’s a low level reactivity in the other dog, a bark, or a look could be just enough to start off both dogs!

Being A Reactive Dog Parent Can Be Tough

But you can train a reactive dog. They can be given the tools to live with the world around them.

Knowing information like this is just a small part of how to help your reactive dog to live peacefully in this world. The whole experience is a tough one, it’s emotionally draining, but you can do it.

If you need support in this? That’s what I’m here for. Reach out and let’s create a plan for you and for your reactive dog to get them through this.

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

 

You may also like

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.

0 Comments

Related posts

Nuisance Barking? How to Resolve Your Dogs Barking

Nuisance Barking? How to Resolve Your Dogs Barking

So you have a dog who barks a lot, and heck, it’s draining some days!  Barking and volume is one of the most complained about behaviours from our dogs, and understandably so! But, it’s really important that first, we understand that you have a dog, they’re going...

read more
All About Puppy Teething (& 6 Tips To Get You Through It)

All About Puppy Teething (& 6 Tips To Get You Through It)

Teething is so hard on your puppy. If your puppy has suddenly started to chew on everything in your home, or your new furry friend is sinking their teeth into your furniture or your fingers more than they were last week? They’ve likely entered the teething phase of...

read more
The Best Time to Train Your Puppy 

The Best Time to Train Your Puppy 

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting milestone for your family. While there are many fun memories to make with your furry friend, being a puppy parent is also a big responsibility, because a good dog is made from good breeding and good training! Hopefully, you've...

read more
Best Christmas Gifts For Dog Moms!

Best Christmas Gifts For Dog Moms!

With Christmas around the corner, for dog lovers, for your favourite dog mom (or dog dads!), you're looking for the best gifts, right? Well, that's where I'm here for you, because cherishing your fur baby? Is something I totally get, and it's something this Christmas...

read more
Goldendoodles: Everything you need to know about goldendoodles.

Goldendoodles: Everything you need to know about goldendoodles.

With a huge surge in popularity, the goldendoodle is one of the world's most fastly growing populations, and a gorgeous addition to any family. However, because of their cross-bred nature, and because they’re being bred at an astonishing rate, the needs of these dogs...

read more
How to Train an Aggressive Puppy

How to Train an Aggressive Puppy

Aggression in a puppy is something that causes pet parents to worry, understandably so! Afterall, it's not what you've imagined, is it? When you, as a new pet parents bring home their puppy for the first time, you likely imagine playtimes in the backyard, trips to the...

read more
​ ​