Is There Hope for Reactive Dogs? With This Local Outreach Program, the Answer is Yes

(Editor’s note: We’re beyond paw-roud to be kicking off a partnership with Animal Humane Society. You may know ’em for their outstanding adoption services, but we’ve been blown away as we’ve learned about the additional services they offer to this community. We can’t wait to share feel-good AHS stories with you, starting with this happy ending for a sweet but challenging adopted doggo, Diva.)

Diva, a 3-year-old pit bull mix, doesn’t have an especially unique adoption story. When she arrived at Animal Humane Society she seemed quiet, calm, and cuddly. Her adopters, Joe and Allison, weren’t planning to get a dog that day. (Editor’s note: Surefire way to bring a new dog into your family? Visit AHS’ irresistible adoption floor. You know, “just to look.”) But they instantly fell in love with Diva’s brown spots and “easy-going attitude.”

“She was everything we were looking for,” says Allison. “But it wasn’t long before we started noticing some behavior issues that weren’t there when we first met her.” Diva began showing increased aggression toward other dogs, and even cyclists.

After three weeks in her new home, it became clear that Diva was nervous and displayed aggression around other dogs. Even going outside for potty-breaks was stressful. Allison felt overwhelmed. She really wanted a pet that could exercise with her, but her vision of running with Diva was growing dim. She and Joe discussed returning Diva to AHS, but Joe was confident training would help.

Because Allison and Joe live in a neighborhood served by AHS’s Community Outreach program, an AHS staff member called them to see how things were going with Diva. The timing was perfect.

Since that phone call, Joe, Allison, and Diva have been attending weekly private training sessions, preparing Diva for Reactive Rovers, an AHS training course where other dogs will be present. The training is provided for free to families who qualify for their Outreach program, which aims to make a positive impact on the community’s public health and safety by increasing access to affordable pet care and services.

“What I do and provide is simple, but for the family and the animal it’s huge,” said Elise, one of Diva’s personal trainers. “A simple suggestion or consistent training can significantly reduce stress between humans and pets, better strengthening their bond and enjoyment of being a family together.”

It’s been a long process, but the progress they’re seeing in Diva makes it worth it. Over time, Diva has learned that other dogs aren’t a threat. Allison hopes it won’t be long until she has the exercise partner she always wanted.

“This whole experience makes AHS my first choice for adoption — always,” says Joe. “If we get to a place where we can adopt another dog, it’ll be from Animal Humane Society.”

animal humane society logoThis article was brought to you by the dog lovers at Animal Humane Society. Through low-cost spay and neuter services, wellness exams, training, expert advice and more, AHS is committed to helping pets and their families thrive together. Learn more about their Community Outreach Program here.

4 thoughts on “Is There Hope for Reactive Dogs? With This Local Outreach Program, the Answer is Yes

  1. Alyssa

    What a great story! Is there a way to utilize this program and receive free training to address similar behaviors if not living in that specific area?

    Reply
  2. Sidewalk Dog (Sara) Post author

    Hi Alyssa! AHS doesn’t offer free training to people if they don’t live within the Outreach boundaries. However, people who have adopted a pit bull mix from AHS can also take advantage of free training, it’s just through a different program. Check out their website for more info!

    Reply
  3. Miss Molly's Mom

    Although not trained by AHS, my reactive rescue springer has come a long way…it took many hours of training (including attending classes in which she was given “space” but now she is happy to go to the dog park (although she still prefers the humans) and daycare. In fact, on of the newer puppies at daycare now follows her around as if she is the mother dog. So yes, there is hope…you need lots of patience and the ability to read your dog and other’s dogs.

    Reply

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