Blazing Trails K9 Academy
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HELP! My dog is aggressive when on the leash, what do I do?!

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In our last post on this topic, we talked about reasons WHY a dog can be more aggressive towards other dogs when on the leash. Here we will give just a few tips on things to do to handle this problem. We of course have more tricks up our sleeves to deal with this annoying problem, after all, where would we be without a job? But these are some things to think about and do to lessen the behavior while you’re trying t find a trainer to come and help you with this problem.

1. hire a trainer or behaviorist. Look for someone that has experience with dealing with this problem, and ask to speak to people who they’ve worked with on it. Ask how those dogs are doing now. This is an important step (hiring a trainer) since all dogs are different and a professional is able to see things from a different light. Plus, a good trainer will be able to act according to what your individual dog is doing. 

2. Maintain your cool! All too often I see owners who feel embarrassed by their dogs aggressive behavior on leash, or they’re scared that the dog is going to hurt another dog or something. These owners often over react or under react. If you tense up at all, the dog can tell and is more likely to increase the aggressive behavior. Be aware of your body language, and even your breathing patterns. Do whatever it takes to maintain your cool. Focus on working with the dog, or escape routes as necessary, and not on what others are thinking about your dog. 

3. Be aware of your surroundings. It is better to notice a dog coming from a distance and to start working with your dog, then it is to wait for that dog to be upon you and then try to CALM your dog. 

4. Do not reinforce the behavior. Oftentimes I see owners that are nervous, stop and pat their dogs… saying “it’s ok” in a singsong fashion. This simply teaches a dog that you approve of the behavior. After all, he’s not doing anything but behaving reactively, and you’re patting him and cooing at him over it! 

5. give the dog something to do. Do not just require a sit stay, but work the dog in a sequence. You want to keep his brain engaged. 

6. prevent problems by reading the warning signals ahead of time, and keep a muzzle handy if you must. Do not be afraid or embarrassed of using a muzzle if it means everyone remains safe! Preferably a basket muzzle to avoid overheating the dog. 

These are just some very basic tips for handling a dog that is aggressive towards other dogs on a leash. It is still best to contact a trainer experienced in handling the problem, but we hope these will help until that can be arranged.

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