Fri, 10 Mar|
APDT Monthly Chat
Sharon Carroll - Reactivity: Selecting a training protocol to suit the underlying driver
In this webinar we discuss the reasons why some strategies are best suited to certain types of reactivity, and how choosing the most appropriate strategy, will increase the likelihood of making significant progress with modifying a dog’s behavior.
Time & Location
10 Mar 2023, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
APDT Monthly Chat
About the event
Reactivity: Selecting a training protocol to suit the underlying driver.
When a dog performs visibly big behaviors in response to a stimulus, the “reactivity” label is often applied, regardless of the underlying driver.
Any stimulus can trigger these responses, but common triggers include other dogs, people, vehicles, bicycles, skateboards, and other animals.
The behaviors frequently occur whilst on-leash but can also be exhibited at a door or window in the home, at a property fence-line, or from within a crate / enclosure / vehicle.
The behaviors may include any mix of the following:
- Vocalizing (barking, whining, growling).
- Intense pulling toward the stimulus (when on-leash).
- Rushing to the stimulus or barrier (when off-leash).
- Attempts to flee from the stimulus or situation, which may also result in pulling and thrashing when on-leash.
In combination with the above, the dog may exhibit moments of intense focus on the stimulus, stillness, freezing, and/or body rigidity/tension. Alternatively, the dog’s whole body may be wiggling, and there may even be spinning, and/or leaping.
The extensive mix of different behaviors and body language are the result of differing underlying emotions and motivations driving the “reactivity”. Fear is a very common driver of “reactive” responses, but it is not the only driver, hyper-arousal due to excitement or frustration can also result in the performance of “reactive” behaviors. Certain genetic traits can influence the development of reactive behaviors too, these include traits associated with owner guarding, intolerance to nearby unfamiliar dogs, or a strong desire to chase. The “reactive” behaviors may also have been inadvertently reinforced by the handler leading to the ongoing performance and potential escalation of these unwanted and potentially dangerous behaviors.
The common theme with “reactivity”, is that once the reactive responses are triggered, the dog’s ability to follow our cues is significantly diminished, but without our help the dog struggles to manage their own arousal, emotions, and behaviors in the presence of the stimuli.
The best way forward, in terms of appropriate management and training, is largely going to be influenced by the underlying driver/s of the behavior. In this webinar we discuss the reasons why some strategies are best suited to certain types of reactivity, and how choosing the most appropriate strategy, will increase the likelihood of making significant progress with modifying a dog’s behavior.
Currently there are discussions in our industry about re-labeling reactivity to identify the difference between excitement-based responses, fear / anxiety-based responses, and behaviors with a likelihood of progression to aggressive behaviors. This webinar will also touch on the pro’s and con’s of re-labeling in this way.
About Sharon Carroll
Sharon has been a professional animal trainer for over 30 years. She has been both a presenter and trainer in a range of animal shows, and currently operates, a dog training and behaviour consulting business based in Newcastle, Australia.
Sharon started competing with dogs over 30 years ago, she then made the change from competing with dogs, to competing with horses
For the next few decades Sharon had a successful career riding, and coaching, through to the highest levels of both eventing and dressage (Grand Prix). During this time Sharon continued to train not just horses, but also dogs and a variety of other species. In 2018 she made the transition back from competing with horses, to competing with dogs. She has since titled several dogs and achieved multiple wins, and best in trial performances.
Intent on really understanding animals better, Sharon completed a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Diploma (Captive Vertebrate Management – wildlife and exotics) and a Master of Animal Science. Sharon is currently completing a PhD in Veterinary Pharmacology.
Sharon is a fully certified behaviour consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) in both dogs (CDBC) and horses (CHBC), and is a certified professional dog trainer - CPDT-KA.
Sharon guest lectures to post graduate veterinarians and behaviourists at several universities and organisations on the topics of animal behaviour, training, species-specific cognition, welfare and psychological trauma in animals.
Nowadays Sharon’s core focus is working with dogs with behavioral issues, and helping people reach their training and competition goals with their atypical dog.
In all cases, Sharon’s primary aim is to help the humans to understand the underlying cause for their dog’s behaviour, and to use both management and behaviour-modifying training, to achieve a better outcome for both the dog and their human/s.