|Barked: Wed Feb 6, '13 4:35am PST |
I applaud your effort to err on the side of caution, but it doesn't sound like your dog is reactive at all. I work with reactive dogs and the term "reactive" is not clearly defined.
-One expert, Karen Overall, describes "reactivity" as a response to normal stimuli with an abnormal (higher-then-normal) level of intensity.
-More generally, it's used to describe dogs who exhibit serious fear behaviors (like barking, lunging, etc.) to stimuli.
-It can also be a kind of euphemism for aggression, basically an alternate term that shows awareness that the dog is usually fearful, not "mean" or just "bad". (For example, a response to one of your earlier posts mentioned the possibility that your dog would attack another dog. A dog that attacks another dog (unprovoked, anyway) is a reactive dog.
-Even more specifically, it is often used to describe leash-aggression, when dogs who are otherwise fine (usually with other dogs) act reactive only when they are on-leash. Most of the time, if trainers / dog training programs offer "reactive dog" classes, they are specifically for dogs with leash aggression. If it is a "reactive dog" camp, on the other hand, it's usually offered to more severely reactive dogs.
There are several types of reactivity: dog-dog reactivity, dog-human reactivity, reactivity to inanimate stimuli. Sometimes, dogs with just general anxiety are labeled "reactive".
With respect to your case, I doubt your dog would be disqualified from service-dog training due to reactivity. As others have mentioned, you should have a professional evaluate her. A response like getting over-excited at seeing other dogs with no history of any "aggressive" response sounds more like a behavior either that can be trained out of her with pretty simple behavior modification or that your dog will grow out of on her own (likely with age or increased interaction with other dogs - if she sees, interacts with, and plays with other dogs all the time, those experiences will become routine and thus much less apt to overstimulate her).
In summary, a reaction of any type to other dogs does not make her "reactive". Reactivity almost always refers to specific reactions, usually "aggression" or other fear behaviors.
Hope this helps.
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