Do you find yourself hiding from other dogs during walks? Keep reading then. One of the most common complaints among dog owners is related to the so-called “lead aggression”. If your dog is lead-aggressive or lead-reactive, your walks can become a nightmare and a source of constant embarrassment. The most frustrating thing for me is to see this on the streets, while I know, that it can be easily corrected. When I say “easily”, I don’t mean “overnight” or “by a wave of a magic wand” kind of “easily”. What I mean is that this issue is curable with some simple adjustments, re-conditioning and commitment.
Whether your dog barks madly, growls quietly or snaps her teeth with no warning, this is not a problem – this is a symptom. The problem might be that the dog is fearful, insecure, poorly socialized or just has learned some bad habits. Pure aggression is rarely present, but there is no way to diagnose the issue without knowing the dog’s history and without watching the conflict unfold. Often, what owners perceive as aggression is just an attempt of rough play by an overexcited dog bursting with the unspent energy. Anyway, whatever the problem, the tools that I would like to share with you today are quite versatile. When working with a dog that is reactive on lead, you should approach the issue from three angles.
- General ability to focus and handle stress.
- Perception of other dogs.
- Reaction to triggers and owner’s body language.
I believe that one can get best results by working in all three directions simultaneously. In my next posts I will cover dog training techniques and tools that can be used to address each concern. Meanwhile, you may find posts under the tag “focus” useful, as they cover a lot of what will be involved in the first stage of overcoming lead aggression.