Is your dog’s arousal bucket too full?

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“Arousal bucket fillers” are positive and negative experiences that cause excitement, stress or arousal.  Dogs with full arousal buckets aren’t usually calm or relaxed, and they often make poor choices. 

Resulting unwanted behaviours include:

  • Barking
  • Jumping
  • OTT excitement
  • Inability to settle
  • Pulling
  • Lunging
  • Reacting

But by knowing what fills your dog’s bucket, you can prevent it becoming too full!

It’s super important to help your dog empty their bucket throughout the day to prevent overflow and there are many quick and easy things that you can do to achieve this. 

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Visit our website for lots of bucket emptying activity ideas.

Reducing the effect negative bucket fillers

Identify the negative events or situations that could potentially be filling your dog’s bucket. This is particularly important for dogs who are nervous, anxious or reactive.

For each identified bucket fillers, decide whether to:

STOP IT – Events that may not be best for your dog and are very bucket filling. Ditch these while you are working to help your dog with their over arousal and other struggles.

CHANGE IT– Are there things you can do to make the situation less bucket filling for your dog?

MARK AND TREAT IT – If you can’t ditch or switch things, then try calmly marking distractions/triggers (“Nice” and delivering yummy food).

Over time this helps you tell your dog that it is nothing to worry about, builds calmness and teaches them that good things happen when distractions and triggers are around.

For each bucket filler, decide if you can STOP IT and if you can't, can you CHANGE IT and/or MARK AND TREAT IT?

For example:


If you have a reactive, nervous or anxious dog it is really important that you take action to help them. Seek advice from a qualified dog trainer if you need it such as the Reactive Dog training support I offer.

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