Dog is Aggressive on Leash

dog is aggressive on leashDisclaimer:  When working on leash aggression, Make sure to consider all options carefully before deciding on how to begin working on your dog’s leash aggression.

Following is a reader inquiry to one of my blogs about her dog that is aggressive on leash.

Hello, my name is Mary

I am in need of help with our 75lb hound mix. She is 5 yrs old and we have had her since she was 4 months. Within the last year, she has demonstrated aggression when on a leash, toward other dogs. She is not aggressive toward other dogs when off leash.

I need suggestions on how to walk my dog.  I don’t walk the dogs much anymore because I am afraid of what the Hound will do as she can pull me and, more than a couple
times she almost got really close to the other dog and it was very unnerving.

Any help or direction you can provide to stop her aggression on leash, is appreciated.  I am thinking of getting a shock collar to use when she displays this behavior, but would like to find an alternate training mechanism/technique before I resort to the shock. Thanks so much and look forward to hearing from you.

Dear Mary,

Thanks for your email regarding your dog’s leash aggression issues. My advice is to not get a shock collar to correct your dog when she gets aggressive on leash.

It is a specialized tool that requires knowledge/experience, finesse and timing. If you correct your dog without conditioning her first, it would, most certainly, cause her to associate the correction with the dog(s) to which you are trying to desensitize her and that will make everything worse.

Instead, here’s what I would recommend:   Use a gentle leader which can significantly reduce arousal and anxiety in many dogs.

Develop a stronger leadership role with your dog putting your dog on an earn-to-learn program – everything your dog wants from you she must earn by performing at least
a sit and down.

Set aside 2 minutes, 3 times a day to work on sits and downs – it should be easy to carve out 6 minutes of obedience training each day.

This work will begin to help her know that you are in charge of situations when you go for a walk and she need not be concerned.

It will help you build focus and teach her to listen to you better when other dogs approach or pass you by.  The last thing I would say is to not get her too close to
other dogs.  Get good at sits and downs beyond her threshold distance before getting closer to other dogs on leash.

Gradually get her closer to the other dog and redirect to a sit, down or both. Don’t forget to praise/treat for doing a good job. Also pack along plenty of patience. It won’t
happen over night.

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2 Responses to Dog is Aggressive on Leash

  1. Carmen

    September 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Hello, I’ve read through your advice, and i do agree, but I have a 1year old Weimaraner which was top of her class in obedience. On walks in the park off leash she is a dream and will encourage play with other dogs, but on leash it’s like she blanks out and freaks out. We will be having coffee and children can pull on her ears and kiss her, waiters can do anything, but if she sees another dog… Sit and down are out of the question. I will try your solutions tomorrow, but what do I do if they don’t work?

  2. JBurwell

    September 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Carmen: you have to find out what is the reason behind the behavior. Since is when’s she on leash with you I would say you are part of the equation in that instance. I’m
    happy to either work with you in your home if your live in Houston or I also do tele-coaching. Either way, happy to help.