Leash Aggression in Dogs

Has your canine buddy ever embarrassed you by lunging and straining towards another dog during walks? This is known as being leash-reactive, or sometimes, leash aggression, and is very common among our canine friends. In this article, your local Hancock County veterinarian discusses this behavior, and what to do about it.


Have you ever watched dogs interact with one another while off-leash at a dog park? Our canine friends follow a certain doggy protocol when approaching one another. They rarely approach head-on, as this is considered bad puppy manners. Instead, Fido will greet a new buddy by approaching from the side. This is, of course, usually followed by the requisite butt-sniffing. When dogs meet one another while being walked, they are often forced to meet head-on. This, coupled with the urge to meet and greet, can lead Fido to yank on his leash.

What To Do

There are a few options for how to correct this behavior. Reconditioning is one good method. When you are out and about, walking your furry pal, sooner or later you’ll spot another dog. Immediately speak your dog’s name in a cheerful tone. When he gives you that cute little ‘What?’ look, hand over a treat or a toy. Continue giving him treats as you pass the other dog. Since dogs are so perceptive to our moods, it’s important that you stay relaxed and happy. When the other dog has gone by, put away the treats. In order for this method to work, you have to make it worth his while to look at you, rather than the other dog. As his behavior improves, you can slowly decrease the number of treats you hand over.

Helpful Tips

If your canine pal is small, you can simply pick him up and walk in another direction. This of course isn’t a good option with larger canines, so if Fido is too big to easily pick up, teach him how to do a U-turn. It may also help to play with your dog for a few minutes before leaving for a walk, so he isn’t quite as energetic. Specialized doggy gear, such as head halters, may also help.

Is Fido due for shots or an examination? Please contact us any time. As your local Hancock County vet clinic, we always strive to provide the best veterinary service possible. We are here to help!

Comments are closed.

Website Designed & Developed by DVMelite | All Rights Reserved | Login