We recently posted an article describing some signs and information about leash aggression in dogs. Although leash aggression can be extremely frustrating for you and your dog while out on walks, there are definitely some things you can do to help reduce your dog’s reactivity and make your walks more enjoyable. Here are a few things to consider.
Make sure you are using the correct leash – Dogs that are reactive on leash (or any dog for that matter) should not be walked on a retractable leash as they don’t do you any favors in helping to maintain a structured walk. Instead, select the right leash for your dog and keep him focused and moving forward.
Your walk starts before you leave the home – A dog that charges out of the front door pulling their owner behind is already in an amped up state of mind. It’s much harder to bring your dog back from chaos then it is to keep them from ever entering that state of mind. Even if it means turning around several times and rehersing walking through your doorway, make sure you exit the home with your dog in a controlled position.
Learn to control your dog’s head – Your dog’s head is the GPS of everything. It gives you info on where he or she is going to turn, or where he’s thinking about going, and it tells you everything that is coming up next. Remember, your dog gives signs of what they are about to do, you will see those signs by watching your dog’s head. This is crucial when dealing with leash aggression because interruption is much better then damage control.
Train in an environment where your dog can be successful – A dog park or busy hike and bike trail is not the appropriate starting place for a dog working through leash aggression. Sue there have to be distractions and temptations but they need to be increased and decreased as needed. A training facility may be the best location for this type of control as random dogs in neighborhoods may be few and far between or even reactive themselves.
Consult with a professional trainer – Reading these articles will hopefully be able to give you some insight on dealing with leash aggression but it’s not intended to be a DIY guide to solving the issue. Do your research a find a professional dog trainer that can help you achieve the training goals you have for your dog.