On Leash Aggression, Part II

My pup, who is now 6 months and getting quite big is barking wildly and pulling on the leash to see the other dogs. It doesn’t seem to be in a friendly way any more and this concerns me. The more often it happens the more I don’t want to walk my dog on a leash. Last night on a walk she looked like she wanted to say hi to a 12 week old puppy, her tail was wagging and she was pulling me towards it and wasn’t scared this time. But once we got to the puppy she jumped on it and growled, I thought she was going to hurt it. So now when I take her out I avoid all dogs since I don’t know who she will go after, but I do take her to the dog park where she is wonderful off leash. I don’t know why this is but I am more relaxed in this environment. Now if I could just teach her to come…

On leash aggression is taught unintentionally as this story showed.

I am very lucky and get an opportunity to teach puppy classes weekly, one of the first things that we discuss is: what is and how to avoid rude puppy behaviour. Setting boundaries, teaching self control and being consistent are all topics worked on to prevent on leash aggression. Teaching your puppy to sit first before greeting a human or another dog is one way to avoid putting your puppy in harms way and teaches self control. This gives you an opportunity to say hello to the other person and ask if their dog likes puppies, if you see tension in the other dog then encourage your puppy to follow you and avoid any conflict. Some people will tell you immediately that their dog doesn’t like puppies and any contact should be avoided. Distract your dog and get its attention somewhere else, show him a leaf on the side walk, skip and sing a song, get him to sit and look at you, then reward him calmly and walk away.

Donna Hall

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