Reactive Dog Program

Reactive Dog Program

Does your dog’s temper flare upon sight of another dog, cyclist, jogger or person approaching? If your dog is one that barks, growls, and lunges at dogs and/or people, your dog is referred to by dog trainers as a reactive dog.  

While private lessons  can be helpful and in some cases,  they are necessary,  there is no guarantee that we’ll see one or any dogs during a scheduled meeting.  Rowdy Rovers, my outdoor reactive dog class, is one I’ve been teaching for nearly two decades. By putting reactive dogs together in a class, I’ve been able to provide dog owners the opportunity to get things right with and for their leash reactive dogs.   What reactive dogs need is to learn how to walk on by other dogs  and  people. This class is my answer to your struggles.  



Seminar & Class Descriptions

Reactive Dog Seminar (RDS)

This is a for people only (leave your dog at home) educational session for owners of dogs that bark, growl, lunch and bite or fight with other dogs while on the leash. In this seminar, we will briefly discuss details about your dog’s development of reactivity issues so that I can ascertain whether your dog is a candidate for classes or private lessons.  
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Rowdy Rovers Intro (RRI)

After attendance at my reactive dog seminar, I offer a trial of attending three one-hour long group classes both to get you started in the ongoing program and to assess whether the class environment is the right place for you and your dog. Once you have completed this class, you can choose to move on to the rowdy rovers ongoing class.
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Rowdy Rovers Ongoing (RRO)

These outdoor classes meet bright and early on Saturday mornings and are offered as drop in classes so that you don’t have to give up the rest of your life in order to be making progress with your reactive dog. A class includes six one hour group sessions. Because I offer these classes with flexibility for you in mind, there are no refunds. Additionally, you must attend the six classes within a twelve week period. This is my firm policy with no exceptions.
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Rowdy Rovers Socialization (RRS)

This is a three-week by permission only class for dogs already enrolled in my Reactive Dog Program. This is a series of classes designed to build your confidence in your dog. The first class in the series of classes will begin on leash indoors and take place in my training space in Brighton.
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What Others Say

We adopted Boone, a pit bull mix, from a high kill shelter in NY. He was in a foster home with other dogs and did really well when he met our other dog, Maddie. So, we were certainly surprised when during our first walk as a new family in the neighborhood, he tried to inhale a Pomeranian. We were not prepared for his level of reactivity towards other dogs. To further complicate the picture, Boone is completely deaf, limiting our ability to communicate effectively with him. Knowing that we would need professional help, I began searching online for dog trainers who specialize in this issue.

I came across Vera’s website and saw that she had a class for dogs with this specific issue, the Rowdy Rovers. I called her up and we had a lengthy conversation about Boone. In that first conversation, I knew we had found the right trainer. She has a deaf dog herself and even though we weren’t a client yet, she gave us some techniques to try with him immediately.

We have been participating in Vera’s reactive dog program for one year. In the beginning Boone was a lunging, barking, intimidating beast whenever he saw another dog, chomping his jaws like a crocodile. He has progressed so much in this past year. He can walk parallel to another dog, the lunging and barking has been eliminated, and when he does sometimes “lose his marbles” he recovers quickly. Vera takes great care to understand each dog’s specific needs and has given us new tools to communicate with him more effectively. She has also created a sense of community for those of us in the class. It’s a blessing to have people who “get it” when your dog is misbehaving.

You have to give her a lot of credit. It’s a crazy but creative idea to have a (well-structured) class with a bunch of dogs together who would consider eating each other as a means to their rehabilitation. But it works!

Tom and Jen Clackett
East Boston