Though I’m not a trainer, I am a dog walker. I have walked all sorts of furry, little friends; big, small, short and tall. One trend that seems to be common amongst them is; leash aggression.
When it comes to raising a dog, I believe, first and foremost, it is important to socialize them so that they know the difference between a friendly “hello” and “danger.” This will give them a chance to encounter other humans and animals so they have the confidence to understand what a threat is, and what it is not.
A few ideas to get you started –
- Take them to the park, beach, store or Starbucks and allow them to approach other pups and humans.
- Enroll them in obedience classes.
- Let them play at a “Puppy Party” once a week: Perhaps somewhere like River Dog!
It is extremely important for an owner to continue this training throughout the dog’s life; not just his puppy years!
If your dog has leash aggression, here are a few ideas to help calm or distract them during your walks –
- Make sure you remain calm and composed. Your voice and actions can truly affect the way your dog reacts; if you get upset, he or she will also. It is amazing how much they can sense.
- Be aware of your surroundings. The best thing you can do for yourself and your dog is to foresee situations. Know what’s coming so that you can be prepared.
- Always carry treats in your pocket. Whenever, or better yet, before your dog lunges, growls or barks at another dog, distract him or her with treats. Talk to them in a calm, quiet voice, and always praise them for good behavior. Don’t forget to use their name, as they know it well!
- Your dog needs to know who’s “boss,” so while you are walking them, it is important to have them make eye contact with you. This is a sign that they are listening.
Please remember, consistency is key! Your dog won’t learn anything if it is not repeated over and over again. And lastly, understand your dog’s behavior is caused by a protective, defensive and natural emotion. Since they can’t talk, this is their way of showing you and others around them that something is wrong. It is your job, as an owner, to let them know everything is ok.
For more tips on socializing a dog and leash aggression, check out the following sites –