How to handle your dog's leash aggression


Encourage Kindness to Animals!

Highly-acclaimed children's books for your child or organization

Dear Cathy: I have a 3-year-old terrier mix that loves to go for walks. She is usually friendly with other dogs, but not when she is on a leash. When she meets a dog face-to-face on a leash, there is usually some ugly growling exchanged. Her ears go back and her hackles go up. How can I make these encounters go better? – Robyn

Dear Robyn: If she is good with other dogs normally, then this first-impression canine aggression may be the result of one of two things. First, she may be a little protective/territorial of you and doesn’t want another dog or person approaching. I am having this problem with my 7-month-old puppy, Archie, right now. My dog trainer recommended I tether Archie to the door, stand next to him, and have friends and neighbors approach me. If he growls, I am to ignore him and leave the room immediately. If he doesn’t growl, I am to reward and praise him. The trainer says once he gets used to people coming toward me, then he should adjust to the dogs approaching, too. I will keep you posted.

The second reason for this aggression may actually be caused by you (or the person walking the other dog). If you are apprehensive about these encounters, your dog may sense your tension through the leash. When another dog approaches, you probably unconsciously gather the leash close to you or tug on the leash to pull her back. Pulling on the leash often inadvertently lifts the dog’s head and upper body into a more aggressive position from the approaching dog’s point of view and can lead to a bad first encounter. Let the leash hang loose and low to the ground. Giving your dog some extra slack may enable her to make a better first impression.

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Cathy’s advice column runs every Sunday. She also writes another blog, Animals Matter, for the San Antonio Express News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

Dogs as smart as two to three year olds

The Border Collie is ranked as the smartest dog among breeds because of its ability to understand language and human signals in working environments. (Source: ...
Read More

Why do dogs like squeaky things?

Does your dog go crazy every time you bring home a squeaky toy. Does he grab it and shake his head back and forth as ...
Read More

Report sheds light on pit bull attacks, a national dog bite victims’ group, released their 2008 report on pit bulls shot for public safety reasons. The 20-page report documents 373 incidences ...
Read More