Reactive Dog Vest

August 4, 2022by DOGuide0

Dog owners with reactive dogs listen up! You do not have to keep your pup inside for fear of him/her lashing out. A reactive dog vest is all you need to spend time out in public.

What Is a Reactive Dog Vest?

A reactive dog vest is simply a vest that informs people your pup is a reactive dog. This vest is usually a bright color – yellow or orange – to get people’s attention.


caution reactive dog vest





The Benefits of a Reactive Dog Vest

The benefits of using a reactive dog vest (even on small dogs) are obvious. Leash reactivity can be dangerous to people, but usually, more dangerous when those people try to come close to a reactive dog.

The reactive dog vest informs passers-by that you have an aggressive dog and it would be in their best interest to not try to engage with your pup.

Warning people in public about your aggressive dog can greatly help during dog training sessions. One of the most frustrating parts of dog training is getting a dog’s attention. Once that’s held, it only takes someone saying, “Hi, pretty doggie!” to set you back in your day’s training.

A reactive dog vest may save you from a lawsuit if your pup bites someone while out of the house. Leash reactivity is hard enough to control without having people test their fate with your dog.


reactive dog vest harness





When to Use a Reactive Dog Vest

You can use the reactive dog vest whenever you’re dealing with leash reactivity. This may mean every time you take your pup out on town leashed. It may just mean when you’re out with the dog trainer to help with the reactivity.

Many dog owners use the reactive dog vest when muzzle training their dogs. Anyone who has ever tried to put a muzzle on a reactive dog knows how difficult the activity is, never mind having people or strange dogs around.

A reactive dog vest can also be used when you believe you’ll be near your dog’s triggers. For instance, people and strange dogs may not be what gets your dog’s blood boiling. Instead, your dog’s triggers are bikes. If the biker can see the vest far enough into the distance, he/she may make the smart decision to get as far away as possible.

Physical exercise is important and taking your dog out with you to get a workout in for the day may mean putting on the vest. Yes, it is possible to take your leash-reactive dog on a long run!

What Causes Leash Reactivity

Leash reactivity is common among many breeds. We would list them here, but it wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if someone’s dog breed isn’t on the list.

The number one cause of reactivity in dogs is dog anxiety. Dogs who are anxious are often scared. When they are scared, they fight back, especially if leash dogs can’t run away.

A trigger for a dog with anxiety is a threat. That threat can lead to unwanted behavior.

Many times, dogs become aggressive because of certain situations in the past. When there are negative associations established, it can be hard to change the beliefs associated with them.

The only thing that’s important to be aware of is that leash reactivity is more common than even many dog owners think, but it’s not impossible to deal with or eliminate.

Learn More: CBD Oil for Leash Reactive Dogs

How to Help a Dog with Leash Reactivity

A dog trainer is THE best option when it comes to trying to help a dog that needs behavior modification.

The dog trainer can not only teach your pup what not to do but train you on how to create positive associations, so the negative associations don’t continue to cause issues while out.


training dog vest






Dog Training Tips for Leash Reactive Dogs

If you’re not interested in hiring a dog trainer, you can do behavior modification yourself. The following tips can help make the process easier.

#1: Get the Right Tools

Using the right tools will make training easier.

Basket Muzzle

A basket muzzle is a good option for dogs that don’t like their muzzle confined. You can buy a basket muzzle easily online unless you really want to head out to the pet stores searching for one. See below for some of the best muzzles.

Short Dog Leash

Store your longer leash, retractable leashes, and hands-free leashes away. You need a good short dog leash. That will give you extra control.

A Good Fit Collar

We’re not going to debate on choke and prong collars here. That’s for the comments in this article:

However, some dog trainers do recommend prong collars because they give you extra control when things get a little heated.

To ensure the collar is a good fit, it shouldn’t be able to slide off your dog’s head.


If you’re not into the prong collar, consider a harness. This will also provide extra control vs. a regular collar. Just be sure that the harness fits snuggly so it doe what it needs to do – keep your dog contained.

There are some pet dog vest harnesses you may want to consider. They are a harness AND have language on it that warns people of aggressiveness. That way you wouldn’t need to purchase a separate training vest.

Reactive Dog Vest

Don’t forget that reactive dog vest, which you were already thinking about getting. Some of the vests are more like training vests because they say Training on them.

A dog vest can fit easily over a dog’s head and past the dog’s neck or it can come with a belly strap. As long as whatever is used to secure the vest is tough to be able to withstand physical activity, it should be good for training.


reactive dog vest





Treat Pouch

Let’s not forget treats! If your dog responds to treats, then you definitely need a treat pouch. That way when your pup does something correctly, you can praise him over and over again (that’s how positive associations are created).


Yes, CBD oil. It has been shown to calm dogs down and help a dog’s anxiety enough to reduce reactivity. Learn more about it here: CBD Oil for Leash Reactive Dogs


#2: Prepare for Training

A tired dog is an obedient dog. Before heading out into the world to do some training, be sure to tire out your dog. You may want to head out to the backyard for some fetch or use some puzzle toys to get his/her mind prepared for the real work. Once you see your pup start to slow down on playtime, it’s time for training.


#3: Start Short

Keep training short in the beginning. A couple of situations that are triggers are enough to start the training.

Expose your pup to a trigger. You may need to elicit the help of a friend or a friend’s dog.

Correct your dog whenever the trigger is presented.

Expose – correct – expose – correct.

When the exposure leads to positive behavior, give your pup a treat. Once your pup is able to produce positive behavior three times in a row, training is done for the day.

If the training doesn’t stick, quit for the day and try during the next session.


#4: Repeat Learned Behavior

Once your pup understands one positive behavior, repeat it every training session and introduce a new trigger.

Before you know it you’ll be able to work yourself up to going to dog parks!

Well, for some of you – maybe not all of you.


#5: Slowly Introduce Other Leashes

You may never be completely comfortable taking off the muzzle or the reactive dog vest, but you may start to feel more confident in your dog’s behavior to break out those other types of dog leashes like the long leashes and retractable leashes. Some dog owners have even been able to switch to retractable leashes after successfully training their pups.

Remember – training should be a good time for you and your dog. It should be quality time so approach it positively. That will help you and your furry friend succeed.

Now you have a lot of information on what a reactive dog vest is, how to use it, when to use it, and what you should use it with during dog training. Get ready to spend more time with your dog outside in public without the fear of aggressive behavior or the consequences of it.

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by DOGuide

Dog Ownership Guide – D.O.G. – launched in 2021 to meet the needs of dog owners and their dogs worldwide. Our website is a place to not only learn, shop, and entertain, but share as well. Leave a comment, contact us, or learn more about the founder.

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