We’re launching Fearful Fridays, to give you insight into the lives of reactive dogs, and today’s reactive woof sharing their story is Neo (aka @neo_therescuepup!).
What Is Fearful Friday?
Fearful Friday is the one day of the week that we here at rebarkable are here to champion a reactive dog in the community to highlight the struggle, the difficulty, and the enormity of the process that a reactive dog owners goes through – so you can see that you are not alone.
That you can see that we all struggle! And as a consequence we can see that there is a way forward.
Neo is a UK based pup!
Neo is primarily fearful of strangers (men especially), loud bangs and people carrying items such as umbrellas or walking sticks. His response when feeling frightened is to lunge, bark and threaten to bite. This is why he wears a comfortable muzzle and is always on the lead in public places.
We asked Neo some questions about their experience with reactivity to get some insight into their time working through their fears.
What’s The Worst Situation You’ve Ever Found Yourself In?
“The worst situation we have ever found ourselves in was when Neo was once startled by an elderly couple in the park, and barked so loudly and aggressively that the elderly lady toppled over on to the pavement in shock. Trying to safely restrain a very strong, lunging dog whilst apologising profusely is definitely a situation I never expected to find myself in.”
What Does Neo Love To Do?
Neo loves nothing more than to SNIFF! Anything and everything must be thoroughly explored with his snoot. He also finds sniffing very calming so it’s a great way to encourage decompression after major reactions.
Tell us Neo, what’s your favourite piece of equipment?
Our favourite equipment that we absolutely couldn’t live without is Neo’s muzzles from @themuzzleshop. They keep him and other people safe, whilst allowing him to still bark, pant, yawn, drink water and take treats. They give us the confidence and reassurance to continue his desensitisation to public places.
And lastly, what’s your best piece of advice to for a new reactive dog parent?
The best advice I can give to a new reactive dog parent is something I wish I had known earlier – the importance of prioritising training needs over others. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when your dog has a number of behavioural challenges and it can feel like you need to address them all at once.
Take a breath, list the behaviours that you want to work on, and order them in terms of their priority. Work through that list gradually with the support of a qualified trainer or behaviourist.
I love that message!
You don’t have to do this alone.
You’re not a lone wolf, right? So find your people.
We are your people. And I’m always here to help, as a person, as a reactive dog mum, and as a trainer.
A huge thank you to Neo for helping us with this insight into their world of reactivity and celebrating Fearful Friday with us! And for being our first fearful Friday!!
If you want to take part in Fearful Fridays, drop a DM over to us over Instagram!
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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!
Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!