How do I train my dog not to be aggressive on leash? Let’s Explore

How Do I Prevent Leash Aggression?

How do I train my dog not to be aggressive on leash?

How do I train my dog not to be aggressive on leash?

The best way to prevent leash aggression is to properly socialize your puppy. You want him to get out into the world so he can have experiences and positive interactions with other dogs, people, and other animals.

Basically, you want to be intentional in your dog training methods so that you can use desensitization techniques to expose him to the many stimulants in the world to which he might otherwise have a bad reaction or negative association. This is also where dog training classes can come in handy.

Once a puppy is accustomed to the sight of another dog as well as the proper behaviors he should use when greeting other dogs, he will be much more comfortable when walking on a leash.

Along with these early training methods, you can pair the interactions your puppy has with other animals with positive reinforcement techniques. You can use healthy dog treats, for example, to help build a positive association in his mind between those interactions and those yummy treats. High-value treats also help to get your dog’s attention when leash walking so he’s focusing on you and not the approaching dog.

By carrying those treats with you on your walks, your dog will soon think, “I see an approaching dog! That means if I sit, I will get a yummy treat!” This kind of training is called counter-conditioning. It’s where you first desensitize your dog to the presence of other dogs, animals, and people head-on, and then, you train him to respond in a different way than what he feels is natural.

While positive reinforcement dog training, counter-conditioning, and good socialization can solve a lot of the problems with leash reactivity and leash aggression, sometimes it’s just a matter of excess energy. If you let your dog run around and play a while before you ask him to walk nicely on a leash, you can burn off that energy so he will behave when you go for a walk with the leash on.

A combination of frustration and tension, leash aggression is a common problem. Many dogs that show these traits crave interaction with other dogs, but most have less-than-stellar canine social skills for creating a successful meet and greet. Much like a child who runs onto a playground and puts another child in a headlock as a way of saying, “Hey, let’s be friends!” a dog lacking social skills may lunge and bark at a passing dog instead of using subtle signs to signal their desire to form a relationship. When their owners witness this behavior they (understandably) pull their dogs away and avoid exposing them to social interactions with other canines. But this ensures that their dog will never learn how to correctly interact with other dogs, and dooms them and their dog to a life devoid of canine friendships.

After a few weeks of playing the Cookie Dog game on a bench, start playing it on the move. It’s crucial that you are focused on your dog and the presence of other dogs while on the walk. That means that during this phase, keep your mind in the game and not on texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music. Besides, you’ll be meeting so many new people and their dogs, you won’t have time to do anything else.

In the meantime, start decreasing your dog’s frustration when he’s on leash and spies another dog by removing the tension from your leash. To do that, you’re going to teach your dog that when he sees another dog, he’ll be rewarded for looking at you.

In addition, a qualified trainer can help you evaluate your dog to see if this is a typical case of leash aggression, or if there’s something else happening. Whenever I’m handling this type of dog behavior problem, I always make sure that the dog has had a complete veterinary exam to rule out any medical causes for the behavior.

Like a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the leash-aggressive dog is calm, cool, and downright polite when walking among people or around dogs off-leash. But hook on a leash, and he lunges, barks, and snaps at the sight of another dog. Has this scenario reduced you to mapping out walks where you know you won’t run into other dogs?

Cause and effect

Think of your leash as a telephone line to your dog. When you are walking your dog correctly, you should both be relaxed. Your hands should be at waist level. Your dog should be on your left side, not behind you or you. Ideally, the leash should be relaxed enough, so there is a U in the leash between you and your dog.

Always remain calm. If you are uptight and anticipating problems without realizing it, you are probably holding the leash too short or up too high. By choking up on the leash, you are inadvertently signaling your dog to pull. The harder you pull, the more your dog will pull. This is called opposition reflex.

When your dog’s behavior becomes inappropriate, you probably tense up and clutch that leash so tightly that your dog receives the indicator to charge.

Note: Dogs being aggression trained, whether for fighting or security, are trained similarly. The handler tightens and shortens the lead as the agitator “threatens” the dog. The dog is encouraged to pull toward the aggressor by the handler, shortening the leash before finally releasing them: their reward, a chunk out of their tormentor.

How to Stop Leash Aggression (Dog Nation)

In stressful situations, dogs that have not learned to adequately cope with something as simple as walking on a leash instinctively revert to a fight or flight mode and exhibit leash aggression.

Since they are tethered to a leash, the flight option is eliminated. To them, the only means of survival left is to stand their ground, which leads to leash aggression.

To compound the predicament, you are partially responsible. You likely expected your dog’s inappropriate reaction and have pulled up on the leash. Without realizing it, you have just confirmed, “Houston, we have a problem!”

We strongly recommend enrolling in positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience class before you have serious behavior problems. Your puppy or dog will learn how to socialize and behave properly, but you will also gain instructions on how to maintain control positively.