Reactive Dog Class

What is a Reactive Dog? (Is this class right for your dog?)

Reactive Dogs are dogs that cannot be walked on leash without lunging / barking or even growling at changes in their environment. They may bark at other dogs, cats or people while on walks.



Reactive dogs can fall into two categories:

  1. Dogs that are reactive and unfriendly with other dogs while on leash OR off leash.

  2. Dogs that are reactive on leash but can socialize off leash

No matter which category you fall into, this class will be right for you.

In this class we will show you how to change your dog's reactive behavior. You’ll understand why your dog might be reactive, how to lower stress in your dog, build calmness and attention, train alternate behaviors to reactivity or over-arousal, reinforce the absence of reactivity and most importantly build your dog's confidence and trust in you. You will learn to truly master the dog walk.

There is no longer a need to feel lost or confused when your dog becomes reactive. You will learn how to feel more confident and comfortable in different situations and around other dogs. You will have new skills to utilize in these once-stressful situations so you will realize that you can relax as well since you will know what to do and how to avoid or manage the triggers that were once unpredictable. You will learn to read your dog and communicate on a different level.

In the Reactive Dog class you will:

  • Acquire the tools you need to understand and handle your dog with confidence.

  • Learn what your leash-reactive dog is doing, why he's doing it, and how to change it.

  • Teach your dog to relax and trust you while out on walks

  • Develop a better working relationship with your dog

  • Learn how to decrease the stress in your dog and teach him / her confidence and focus.

  • Learn calming and management techniques, coping responses, and emergency escape exercises.

  • Work with your dog in a controlled, supportive environment with a small group of dog owners who understand your issues because they share them.

In class, the dogs will be separated from each other by the use of visual barriers. Slowly, as you gain skills and your dog gains confidence and starts to shed fears, the individual dogs will begin to work together from a decreasing distance. The dog and handler team will move at the pace best suited to their individual needs.

The Reactive Dog class is initially held indoors. As the dogs and owners gain skills we move to a secure, fenced area outside and finally graduate to a real-life environment.

Pictures of our reactive dog fencing and setup

Pictures of our reactive dog fencing and setup

This is a 7-week class. The initial class is for owners only to outline the class and practice skills (no dogs). The first class runs 1.5 hours with other classes running 1 hour. Sign up for a working spot (with your dog) or just observe the whole class (without your dog).

Please note this class does not directly address these issues, but you may learn some skills to help them:

  • Dogs who guard toys or resources

  • Dogs that simply jump on people in a friendly manner

  • Dogs who are scared of noises only

  • Dogs who are fighting with dogs in the home only

  • Dogs who are only a problem to visitors in the home but fine on leash

  • Any dog who has bitten a person or seriously injured another dog (please speak with us personally if this applies to you)

Costs and Details: 

Auditing spots: You may register to attend without your dog and just observe. This also includes the first night's seminar. Auditing is limited to 4 spots.

This class requires extensive instructor training, expertise, preparation and involvement. Assistants will be used for some nights of the class and working spots are limited to 4 dogs. These classes will be held when no other dogs are scheduled to visit the facility and special equipment will be used.

For these reasons the cost of the class is $400 for 7 weeks. Each class is an hour in length with the first nights class running 1.5 hours. Auditing spots are 100$. (All costs plus H.S.T). A High Quality treat pouch and clicker are included in the class (45$ value) in addition to an invite to our Reactive Dog Facebook Group. Participates are also provided with a class binder to include all class handouts and homework.

All classes must be paid in full prior to attendance and there are no refunds for this class. Please only sign up if you are planning to attend all classes. Because dogs will work in teams during the later classes, your attendance effects others in the class.

Due to the nature of the class we ask that children under the age of 12 stay home and that the handler always be over the age of 18.

It is highly recommended you only attend this class if you can attend all the sessions, we do not offer make up dates.

Testimonials from People Attending Class

Henry and I just completed the "Reactive Dog" class with Tristan and I am sure glad we took the course. I have attended other popular dog trainers programs and I must say that I gained so much more from this class. The small class size, the course material given, the open forum on Facebook, Tristan's attention to detail, they all measure up to a stronger understanding of the issues my dog faces and gives me the tools to assist him in correcting his behaviour so that in time he will be an well adjusted companion. Our bond is growing strong and I am looking forward to many pleasant years with him. Thanks again Tristan, keep up the good work, its well appreciated. - Joan & Henry

I am so happy that we decided to sign up for the working spot in the "Reactive Dog" class at Jollytails. This was my first experience with formal training, and while I wish I hadn't waited so long (Enzi is 4), I think I was waiting for the right class! It was a great learning experience for my husband and I as well as for Enzi. Enzi came such a long way over the 7 week course! I now feel much more confident that I have improved management skills, and that the quality of my leash time with Enzi will continue to improve over time. I also plan to continue to be a member of the Facebook forum, as it's great to share both the woes and triumphs of the other group members. Thanks so much, Tristan! - Michelle, Rob & Enzi

I highly recommend the Reactive Dog Training Class offered by Tristan at Jollytails. Max completed the course with the help of Tristan and Lynsay. The class is very indicative of any training class offered by Tristan. Excellent explanations of the theories applied in the class supplemented with great course material. As a dog owner, I find the course’s greatest strength is Tristan’s conveyance of the importance of the our handling skills to help Max through reactive situations. We have come away with a much better understanding of how we can better manage the situations that we experience with Max. It’s a matter of working as a dog / handler team. - The Carrolls & Max

Thank you, Tristan, for including us in the reactive dog class. It was invaluable to learn and to work in a safe environment along with other dogs with similar issues. It was equally wonderful to realize how Storm & his classmates progressed as the weeks passed. An unrecognized gem hidden within class curriculum shone a bit brighter with each exercise, each class, and each outing as I worked in partnership with Storm. I'm referring to the extinction of the underlying worry that had traveled with us for months - that I didn't know exactly how to best help my dog. Class notes, discussions of canine behaviour modification, handler corrections in the moment - all gave rise to greater understanding ofhis specific issues and how I might better transfer knowledge into practical application every day. That the FB group permits handlers to remain connected for training meets and to discuss progress and problems that may arise in the future is an invaluable bonus. Many thanks again to you and the JollyTails staff for hosting a wonderful course. I continue tocelebrate every non-reactive event, and I am thrilled with Storm's growing confidence. - Helen & Storm

We began fostering Nina in November 2013 and knew right away she wouldn't be going anywhere. We instantly fell in love. Nina was in several different fosters and had zero socialization in her former home; we knew right away she would be a challenge. Tristan helped us almost immediately by offering his expertise in understanding the root of Nina's behaviour and potential solutions to helping her. Nina was terrified, stressed out and anxious at the first Reactive Dog Class, but she immediately began to improve. By the second class she was loving the environment and all the new skills she was learning. She gained so much confidence. By the end, she didn't even want to leave. Our experience at Jollytails has been wonderfully helpful and positive. Thank you! -Sarah, Matt and Nina, Eastern Passage

Berlin, a 1 ½ year-old Doberman Pinscher, has suffered from pretty profound reactivity towards other dogs since puppy-hood; several of her littermates are equally affected. I actually audited the Reactive Dog Class first, and got a great feel for the theory before introducing Berlin to the mix. I can’t say enough good things about the course. It was refreshing to work with a trainer so well-versed in scientifically-proven methods for dealing with this problem, and wonderful to join a group of other owners in the same boat. I feel like I have gained the necessary life skills (particularly handling and a real appreciation for speedy response time) to work with my dog and effectively manage her issues which previously made outings very difficult and unpleasant. If you are a living with a reactive pup like I am, do your dog and yourself a favour and sign up! - Jennifer & Berlin, Dartmouth

Thanks for suggesting we attend your Reactive Class with Rugger. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this class wasn't just for Rugger, it provided us with the tools and confidence to manage our on and off leash outings with him, making it a much more enjoyable experience for all of us. The small class size, the way the classes progressed in learning/training and Tristan's knowledge and patience makes this class well worth the time of any dog owner who is struggling with how to manage a reactive dog. - Thanks again, Karen & Stewart & Rugger

I would like to thank you for making Reactive Training Classes available. We have waited a very long time for this. As a handler and owner, I want to do the very best I can for Katie, to do right by her. You have given me the tools, training and material to work with Katie and also have confidence in what I am doing. It's one thing to have written material made available and quite another to make sense of it and put it into practical use. The classes allow for you to see our abilities - and short comings, and instruct us in improving our skills. Being able to work with the other dogs and handlers in a controlled environment was amazing. The meeting and sharing with other owners helps in feeling like I'm not alone. The Reactive Classes have been most helpful for us. I highly recommend you, your team, and the facilities. - Sheri & Katie

Thank you Tristan and the jolly tails gang for helping us build our toolbox. This reactive class has given me the confidence to apply what you showed us in so many situations. Both Stella and I are much more confident now that we understand each other better. We still have work to do, however, the difference in Stella over the course of the session is a testament to your instruction and the great group you placed us with. - Cindy & Stella

Belated thanks for your excellent reactive dog class, Tristan. We attended the summer session with Lucky, our kind-hearted but fearful rescue dog. Your class not only gave us the skills to more confidently handle Lucky's quirks but it also helped us to better understand him and to anticipate his needs. It is now more than 6 months since we took the class and I am happy to report he is so much better when out walking, rarely barking at other dogs or joggers. We look forward to continuing to make progress in the next level class in the spring or summer. Thanks again for your excellent instruction, you are truly gifted in understanding dogs. - Elissa, Marcel and Lucky

Now Available! The Leash Reactivity Bluerint DVD. Purchase in store at any Jollytails location

The Leash Reactivity Blueprint is a complete leash reactivity guide designed for both pet owners and pet professionals presented by Tristan Flynn, CPDT-KA, CDBC

Join Tristan as he leads four dogs and their owners through a journey of understanding the complex causes and solutions to reactivity. You will learn management skills, handling techniques and the training methods used to reduce reactivity. You will see live demonstrations of core training exercises, group exercises, and real time coaching on practical training techniques owners can use when walking and working with their dogs.

2 hrs 20 mins


Watch DVD Preview Below