Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leash Aggression. What To Do.

Leash aggression is becoming more common in our dog’s urban lifestyle’s. Many owners are baffled by why their dog can be such a tyrant on leash while when off leash display play bows and find dog friends.

Its too bad our dogs can’t talk even if only for a day to say exactly the reason but since they can’t lets explore the obvious. It’s simply not a natural thing to be on a leash. Think about if you weren’t allowed to go anywhere without being “restrained”. It would be rather easy to pick up that unsure feeling, combined with the realization that control lies somewhere other than pure instinct from the dog’s end of the leash. Restriction can be uncomfortable when options are seemingly taken away.

Add owners who start getting that nervous feeling when seeing an oncoming dog due to the fear of what the neighbors, fellow trail users, and other dog owners reactions reflect and the behavior starts to run its course as a merry go round that doesn’t stop. The key to redirecting the behavior is going to lie in finding some balance for dog and owner.

Ollie, an Irish Terrier came to camp with the classic leash aggression habits. His program started with upping the exercise level. By adding exercise for a dog that has a little extra energy anyway, is key in “taking the edge off” of that nervous feeling that has become a habit when meeting an oncoming leashed dog.

Another key ingredient to add is the person at the end of the leash needs to remain calm. As with many dogs who struggle with leash aggression, Ollie makes a big noise ruckus but really has no intention of getting into a fight. Knowing that helps many people to remain calm, take control of the situation and move through it without perpetuating the feeling in their dog.

Keep your dog moving. Its a huge mistake that many people tend to make out of trying to get everyone involved to deal in a human way. Stopping out of not knowing what to do, or trying to force your dog to stop doing it in the beginning of rehabbing this behavior simply is going to bring the stress level up for everyone.

If you have a dog that struggles with leash aggression start your training program by:

•Add a lot of exercise
•Work on your own reaction
•Remain calm and work your dog through it
•Don’t stop movement by focusing on the oncoming dog
•Do keep moving with your dog
•Ignore the barking and lunging and use your body to move onward
•Keep your nervous reaction in check
•Don’t give your dog appeasement with words like “it ok”
•Move, move, move and add exercise

Ollie is doing so great and about to go home from his exclusive dog training camp. He’s been out on trails, to the beach, walked past outdoor restaurants, and any other urban normal neighborhood thing that goes on. He needs a ton of exercise and gets it through running along side a bike, walking trails, running trails, playing with our “dog coaches” at camp, and repeating more of the same.

Follow Ollie’s pictures, dog training tips, and news about other dogs on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GoTrainYourDog

K9 Coach offers private dog training lessons, exclusive dog training camps in San Diego and Temecula, and online dog training lessons for dogs anywhere.

Article by Jt Clough® 2009

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