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Unlabeling Reactivity

A two-day, in-person workshop for anyone who works with dogs.

July 27-28, 2024
Encinitas, CA

Reactivity is a Label

Reactivity is a label that encompasses a wide range of underlying motivations. How do we move away from approaching cases labeled as reactivity, thinking critically about the underlying causes, and then designing behavior change plans best suited for an individual dog?

Join Jessica Wheatcraft, CDBC and Laurie Lawless CDBC, CPDT-KA for a 2 day, in person seminar covering reactivity in dogs in pet homes and shelters. Learn how to unpack reactivity cases, understand various approaches and why you might choose one over the other, and the skills needed for successful outcomes.

Participate in hands-on exercises, and curated conversations designed to help you think critically and collaborate with other attendees. Watch live demonstrations with reactive dogs and their handlers, and learn how to problem solve on the spot. It's a weekend full of active participation you won't want to miss!

What will you learn? 


How to assess a reactivity case, and think critically about the variables that influence a dog's behavior


How to develop a prognosis for each case


How to create a training plan for an individual dog, regardless of if they are owned or living in a shelter


Understand the similarities and differences between behavior modification strategies tailored to clients and client dogs vs utilizing them in a shelter environment

Human Perspective

Create buy in with the human client

Identify the type of training service most helpful to that individual

Set the dog up to succeed with client and/or prospective adopters


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9AM - 5PM



  • Unpacking the Label of Reactivity

  • Assessing Reactivity

  • What causes Reactivity 

  • Working Breakout Sessions

  • Approaches to Reactivity - Functional Perspective



  • Approaches to Reactivity - Individual Approach

  • Variation in Treat Distribution

  • Working Breakout Sessions

  • Location-Specific Markers

Unpacking Reactivity



9AM - 5PM



  • Specialized Equipment

  • Working Breakout Sessions - Leash Handling 

  • Setting up the Environment

    • Environmental Cues​

    • Environmental Patterns



  • Patterns in the Environment 

    • Live Demonstrations - Pet Dogs

    • Live Demonstration​s - Shelter Dogs

  • Discussion & Analysis

  • Thresholds and Criteria

  • Q&A

Practical Strategies for Reactivity


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Jessica Wheatcraft

Jessica Wheatcraft, CDBC is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and professional dog trainer who has worked with thousands of dogs for over 17 years. After starting and operating a successful dog training and behavior consulting business for over a decade, she sold it to focus her efforts on working with other professionals. She works with dog professionals virtually all over the world, in addition to in-person seminars for trainers, behavior consultants and shelter staff. She specializes in dog-to-dog reactivity cases, with an emphasis on understanding each dog as an individual and thinking outside of the box to implement the most effective, humane training solutions. She shares her life with her two dogs, Scout and Finn, and mustang horse, Waylon.

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Laurie Lawless

Laurie Lawless, CDBC, CPDT-KA, (she/her), is a dedicated dog behavior expert with a passion for helping dogs overcome challenges. Canine reactivity is one of the most challenging issues that present to both her private clients and in her shelter work, and has focused much of her career on figuring out ways to reduce and resolve reactivity in a variety of contexts and environments. With a background in animal advocacy, positive reinforcement training, and sheltering, Laurie focuses on resolving complex behavior issues to keep families together and collaborates with shelters to create or enhance behavior programs. Laurie currently lives in the Burlington, VT area with her amazing partner Tyler, and their two dogs Moose and Buu.

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Two-day ticket price: 

(sorry, no single-day tickets)

Register Now

Group discounts available for three or more attendees until June 15th. 

After that date, group discounts will not be available.

Email for information

​Refund Policy: 

Before June 15, 2024: 50% of ticket price (minus service fees)

No refunds available after June 15th


Continuing education units (CEU's) will be awarded for attendance for the entire workshop only (i.e., both days, not single days).  Attendees will receive detailed CEU submission information via email and at the workshop.

CEU,s approved for:

  • CCPDT: 

    • CPDT-KA​ & CPDT-KSA: 14.5 CEU,s

    • CBCC: 3 CEU's

  • KPA:  14 CEU's

  • IAACP: 13 CEU's


CEU's pending for:



Location & Travel

Workshop location:

The Kit & Karen Sickels Learning Center

Rancho Coastal Humane Society

385 Requeza Street

Encinitas, CA  92024


Join us at the RCHS's brand new state of the art education and classroom space. We are honored to be the first big event held there, and we look forward to sharing this beautiful location with you!

Encinitas is one of San Diego's best beach communities, and a sought after location for travelers worldwide. A stunning coastline filled with restaurants, entertainment, and shopping is only a 5 minute drive from RCHS. Ask us for a list of attractions you won't want to miss. 

Parking: On-street parking is available in the adjacent neighborhood, with a short walk down a driveway to the humane society and education center. 

Nearby Hotels:

The Encinitan Hotel & Suites

85 Encinitas Boulevard

Encinitas, CA 92924

One mile from workshop location

Days Inn by Wyndham Encinitas Moonlight Beach

133 Encinitas Boulevard

Encinitas, CA 92024

Less than one mile from the workshop location

Hampton Inn Encinitas Cardiff Beach Area

1661 Villa Cardiff Drive 

Cardiff, CA 92007

Less than two miles from the workshop location 

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