For me, a dog trainer that specialises in reactivity, I feel as though quite a lot of training doesn't serve the dog well. I see all too many owners in public places getting the dog to sit and feeding them for not reacting. Do the dog's still fear the distraction? More than likely. Is this situation like a pressure cooker? Yes. Does the owner know any different? Probably not.
I am a trainer that teaches and grows confidence without the distractions there first. We want to be training a marker word that tells the dog it's ok, we want to be working on disengagement (when a dog is scared they can come away from the distraction), we want to grow a dog that can manage their arousal levels so when faced with an event they can respond appropriately to that situation.
I currently have a red firecracker of a collie who barks at almost everything... he is one. His reactivity isn't just because 'he's a collie' and no he's not a rescue (FYI labels don't serve anyone well). From the beginning he lacked confidence, will I be working on his confidence and disengagement for a while? Yes, dog training isn't quick or easy. Consistency and perseverance is what it will take for him to be able to cope with distractions.
Owning a reactive dog can be very lonely... You get up early and walk the dog hoping to see no distractions or you drive to somewhere rural again hoping to see no one. However once you know the strategies and games to play with your dog you can start opening their world back up! This is an exciting time. Does it have to look perfect no! This is a journey not an end goal.
Better yet ditch the walks for a while whilst you reshape your dog's brain... say WHAAAT?! Don't walk your dog! But my dog has to stay fit... wait for my next blog on ditching the walks for those naughty but nice dogs. x