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Dogs with big FEELINGS . . .

Be your dog's advocate.

Dogs with big feelings!

The dog sleeve above can be purchased from PatienceandLove143 - Etsy or visit

Observe your dog's body language and learn what upsets them. Then avoid it and/or create as much as distance as possible until you are able to work with a dog professional who can to teach you what to do to help your dog feel safe. Each dog is an individual.


Did you know that most reactivity is fear-based? It is so important not to "correct", punish, or suppress your dog's feelings. Please do not "flood" your dog by placing them in a position where there is no escape. Your dog needs you to be their advocate. Each dog determines what is scary for them (as silly as it might seem to us). Their fear is real. They are not trying to give you a hard time, they are having a hard time.


Imagine being in fear for your life. What do you do? 

Run away, hide, freeze from fear, yell, and if you are too close you may choose to fight.

We do not know the history of all dogs and what they have negatively experienced. This is why force free methods using rewards is so important to build trust and offer dogs freedom to make choices. Of note, we do not use treats to get our dogs closer to a scary object. For example, if a dog is afraid of people, we do not give a stranger a super delicious treat to entice the dog to get closer. The dog may run up to the stranger and take the treat then look up and realize that he is too close to the stranger! Oh my! Don't be surprised if the dog lunges and bites due to fear. There are other methods that are best done under the guidance of a certified professional dog trainer that follows guidelines.   

Let's focus on helping our dog build their confidence and feel safe. The first thing to do is to avoid whatever your dog is afraid of to prevent him/her from reacting to the scary object. This may mean limiting walks and avoiding new places.


We should also make sure their needs are being met (see Enrichment). This includes mental stimulation (sniffing, chewing, and licking). Dogs see the world through their nose (equivalent to what social media or reading is to us) and many Malamutes enjoy foraging for food with a fun game of "Find it" (similar to an Easter Egg hunt with treats). You can do this around or inside your home, inside an enclosure, or a place where your pup feels safe from whatever scares them. 

Here are several educational resources to help you and your dog learn what to do and work as a team. Go slow to build muscle memory together. It is best to be proactive versus being pushy and going too fast so that the dog explodes with scary behavior because they are over their threshold and no longer in control of their feelings. It is difficult to work backwards after a traumatic event like a dog bite or a dog fight.

Michael Shikashio, CDBC

Emergency U-Turn:


FREE Online Training Course:

  • the Dog Enrichment course

  • the Leash Reactive Dog course



Reactivity Playlists

Dog Liaison:

FREE Webinars understanding reactive dogs with Michael Shikashio

The Reactive Dog


"Control Unleashed”:

How to Build Your Dog's Confidence --- critical for fearful and reactive dogs 

Free Starter Course - Confidence - Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior (


Muzzle Training

Aggressive Dog Training | Resources for Dog Owners

Resources | The Muzzle Up! Project (

Other Resources

Dr. Sophia Yin

Jones Animal Behavior:

Your Dogs Friend has FREE live webinars so you can ask questions or catch up on past webinars on YouTube - Your Dogs Friend


Resource Guarding in Dogs: A Fear Free Approach:

Every Dog Behavior and Training YouTube

Let's learn together and make their world a better place.    

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