You know you live with a reactive dog when…



You hear a dog bark and by instinct you reach for the treats in your pocket. Even though you are walking downtown and your own dog is miles away.

You have spent many an hour tucked in an isolated room with your puppy avoiding repair workers and landlords.

The instant the door bell rings you and your partner move into your pre-determined roles in an elaborate plan to prevent your dog from losing her shit.

Ordering pizza is a twelve step process and requires more energy than it takes to cook a meal yourself.

Even if you passed Ryan Gosling every day, you’d never notice because you are too busy making sure your dog is anxiety free every time that strange blond man walks by.

You can click and treat while reading a book, making dinner, and practicing the piano without missing a beat. At the same time.

You know how to make even the most mundane object the most interesting thing in the world. You have been known to exclaim over rocks, leaves, and poop bogs just to keep your dog distracted. A closed fist will do in a pinch.

You know exactly how to get out kibble stains from the pockets of hoodies.

Lucky for us, Shiva is in remission. Not cured, but we’ve got our management strategy down to a mad, mad level of skills. Every dog is different, however. Is there anything I missed on this list?

8 thoughts on “You know you live with a reactive dog when…

  1. You can spot another dog at a million paces and immediately look for a natural and un-obvious way to navigate around it at a safe distance – even when you’re without your dog.

    You secretly wish every other dog owner was better at looking after their own dog. I don’t care that your dog is friendly, I’m hiding in this bush because mine isn’t. And no I don’t want to let them sort it out for themselves so would you remove your dogs nose from my dogs rear end before one of us losses our shit.

    Your burst into tears when you finally see your reactive dog relaxed enough to play with other dogs.

    You burst into tears when you appear to take a step back, and constantly question what you did wrong and how to do better next time.

    You spend hours devouring training books, blogs, websites, anything to try and give you a clue how to ‘help’ get your dog into a good place.

    And to pick up on your point. You understand that your reactive dog will never be cured, but that through hard work and determination the situation can be managed and you will both achieve so much together. One small step forward at a time!


    • I don’t know how we ever did it without a mudroom with an inside door. As long as we live in our current house, no pizza courier with have to fear the wrath of Sheevs again!


  2. You instantly react to collect your dog when the doorbell rings, and find it extremely odd when there’s no barking when visiting other people.

    It’s a weird life we lead, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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