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What is Cooperative Care?

Does your dog HATE having their nails clipped?

Do they run away at the sight of their toothbrush no matter the kind of toothpaste you pick?

It can be so frustrating and hard to care for a dog who dislikes care tasks.

And expensive to have the vet or groomer do it for you!

Enter cooperative care.

What is cooperative care?

Cooperative care is working with your dog to complete their care tasks instead of against them.

It is an easy, low conflict way to get them done without stressing your dog and allowing them freedom of choice.

The Basics

The basics of cooperative care are very easy!

The first step is to make the sight of the tool that you use (toothbrush, brush, clippers) a fun and exciting thing!

Simply follow these steps below for a few days to get the excitement and positivity:

  1. Prepare your dog's all time favorite treat (usually something soft and stinky like cheese).
  2. Hold the tool behind your back.
  3. Show the tool to your dog (don't expect them to touch it or do anything...
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Top Five Ways to Help Your Reactive Dog

Reactivity is so tough to live with.

It feels isolating and overwhelming, and sometimes it feels like it will never get better.

Both of my dogs have dealt with reactivity, and I know how tough it can be.

The good news is that there are lots of LOW ENERGY ways to help calm reactivity and make it easier for you to train your pup!

That's what I want to share with you today.

Sometimes training is overwhelming, and you just don't have it in you. 

And on those days, you can follow these instead!

1. Quality Sleep

Dogs need at least 16 hours of sleep per day, uninterrupted.

When dogs are sleep deprived, they can show an increase in reactivity and an inability to regulate themselves back down after a reaction.

If your dog only seems to sleep at night, and isn't getting the sleep they need, this should be a top priority for you!

If you need help getting better sleep with your dog, read my blog post from last month by clicking here.

2. Trigger-Free Exercise

Just like us, dogs need...

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Reactive Dogs & Why Pattern Games Are So Effective

Have you heard of pattern games for dog training?

If you're in the positive reinforcement training community, you likely have!

They are very simple and have been used unknowingly by many trainers, but the one trainer who brought large scale attention to them recently is Leslie McDevitt, creator of the Control Unleashed program.

She built an entire program for sport dogs based around pattern games to calm arousal and more.

As the methods grew in popularity, she learned that the pattern games were hugely effective for reactive dogs as well - not just overexcited sport dogs.

What exactly is reactivity?

Reactivity is a response to distractions usually characterized by barking, lunging on leash, pulling on leash, jumping, whining, growling, and more, especially in response to other dogs or people.

A very common example of reactivity is a dog who barks at visitors to the door or outside the window.

Reactivity can have many root causes including excitement or anxiety.

With excitement...

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