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7 Steps to CALM: Train Your Reactive Dog The Easy Way

Updated: Apr 24

Reactive dog training doesn't have to be hard. If you work with your dog, you can start seeing results with as little as ten minutes of training, just three times a week. Our trademark CALM Method was developed after working with hundreds of reactive dogs. It guides you through the process of training your reactive dog, so you can cut through the confusion and focus on what matters - enjoying time with your dog!

Don't forget, you can sign up to our FREE course, 7 Steps To CALM, on our homepage. And, if you're already familiar with The CALM Method, you can carry on reading to learn how to implement it with your own reactive dog.

What is The CALM Method for Reactive Dogs?

The CALM Method for Reactive Dog Training consists of: complete, awareness, long-term training, and management

The CALM Method is an acronym for the 4 pillars that make up a successful reactive dog training plan. These are:

C for complete

A for awareness

M for management


A complete training plan is one that considers the full dog. This includes their physical health, their nutritional health, their behavioural health, and their emotional health.

This is why a good dog behaviourist will always work with your vets to understand the deeper medical picture for your dog. As many as 82% of canine behaviour problems can have an element of pain causing or exacerbating the issue at hand, so it really is important to rule out pain as a contributing factor.

A dog being checked over by the vets is a crucial step in understanding your reactive dog's behaviour

Nutritional health is also vitally important to consider. What our dogs eat gives them the building blocks for cells, hormones, and neurotransmitters in their body - all of which influence their behaviour. We also have the microbiome to think about; this is the community of bacteria living in your dog's gut, which also have a surprisingly influential role in our dogs' emotional states and subsequent behaviour.

Once you've considered these (with professional guidance), you're ready to look at their behavioural and emotional health.


You won't be able to have a clear understanding of how your dog feels, and why they behave the way they do, until you know some core doggy-psychology principles. These include:

  • body language and how your dog is communicating with you

  • trigger stacking

  • emotional states, such as fear and frustration

  • how dogs learn

We discuss these fundamental concepts in our FREE course, 7 Steps To CALM, so it's worth signing up if you haven't already! You can sign up for this on our homepage.

A dog and its owner read a book together. Successful reactive dog training means understanding how your dog is feeling and taking steps to help them feel safe

Long-Term Training

Training doesn't change your dog's behaviour overnight. It is a process that demands patience, commitment, and energy. However, with just ten minutes a day, you can start to see huge differences in your reactive dog's behaviour from as little as two weeks.

Exercises such as the Engage-Disengage game make training enjoyable for both ends of the lead, and start to change your dog's emotions so they can be more in control of their behaviours. We explain this exercise, and more, in 7 Steps To CALM.

Reactive dog looking calmly at another dog as an example of the engage-disengage game for reactive dogs

Keep this up, and you'll be on the path to the dog of your dreams in no time.


Because reactive dog training is a process, and not an overnight miracle cure, we also need to implement some management. Management techniques are there to keep everyone safe, and to help you get on top of your dog's behaviour from the get-go. Once the training has taken effect, many of these management strategies can fade away. Think of them as a plaster you put over the wound whilst the healing is done underneath. Once the healing is done, we can remove the plaster!

Such strategies can be things such as changing where and how often you walk your dog, what equipment you use when you walk them, and teaching emergency behaviours, such as a 'Let's Go'.

Implement The CALM Method With Your Reactive Dog

Reactive dog and owner stare peacefully into the sunset

Designing a training plan by yourself can be scary. There's a lot of conflicting advice online, and it can be hard to know where to turn. This is exactly why we've created 7 Steps To CALM, along with everything that goes with it, so you can navigate training your reactive dog without even thinking about it. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Sign up for 7 Steps To CALM

  2. Join our FREE community for reactive dog owners

  3. Book your free advice call with us

  4. Get training!

All of this advice is completely free of charge and is simply there to help YOU get the best out of your dog.

Every dog deserves a happy life, and every dog owner deserves the dog they've always dreamt of.

So, what are you waiting for?! Get your first video training from 7 Steps To CALM, directly into your inbox, today!

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