• Lisa Mullinax, CDBC

WHY DISTRACTING WITH TREATS ISN'T WORKING FOR YOUR REACTIVE DOG


If you've tried distracting your dog with treats when he sees another dog (or bike, car, jogger, etc.), and he completely ignores the treat and you, here's why.

STRESS

When an animal (including humans) reaches a certain level of stress, an important change takes place in the brain, which starts the processes necessary for fight (aggression) or flight (avoidance), including the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. When that happens, pupils dilate, respiration increases, heart rate increases, and digestion shuts down.

Why? Because if you're being chased by a bear, your body doesn't need food in that moment, it needs to be fast and agile. Food can come later, but if you don't survive, the nutrients you get from food won't help you.

When a threat passes, the sympathetic nervous system is disengaged, and we return to a normal state of "rest and digest." Hopefully, where you are right now.

What does this have to do with your dog passing your neighbor and her Corgi?