Aggression toward other dogs when on leash.
by Sam C.
I need advice about my dog. How do I get him to not pull, lunge, and or bark at other dogs when I am walking him? I need help too because I get nervous with him and other dogs. I also notice that when I grab his collar it only makes him more aggressive and at that point he makes all kinds of scary snarling noises.
He is a rescue and I don't know about his past life but he does have various scars on him. I am guessing that he fought because I notice they always pull their dogs to get them worked up. He is generally very friendly and easy going to other dogs. He and my other dog get on great.
Infrequently though she will give a slight growl and he goes straight in to the scary snarling noises. I calm him quickly and it is not usually a problem. Anyway, how to I stop those behaviors when we walk?
Quite some time ago, I had a question about leash aggression that was a bit different from yours. And, since that time I've found a resource I really like for dealing specifically with the situation you describe.
Check out the book Feisty Fido - Help for the Leash Reactive Dog by Patricia McConnell and Karen London.
The cornerstone of their method is to teach your dog the "Automatic Watch". That is your dog learns to automatically look at you (and away from the other dog) whenever he sees an approaching dog while you are out walking together.
The book outlines how to do this step-by-step. And it also shows you how to handle special situations--like when a dog seems to appear out of nowhere. At 60 pages it's a fairly quick read and the chapters are well organized so you can get started right away. (There's even an e-book version you can download immediately.)
You say that when you grab your dog's collar, he becomes even more reactive. It seems that something tightening around his neck is a trigger for him. You might want to try a body harness that fits him in such a way that the upper edge rides his chest and/or shoulders rather than his throat.
It goes without saying--but I'll say it anyway--no flexi-leads! You need a regular nylon or leather leash for walks.
Good luck Sam. Please let us know how things are going. Your dog is a cutie pie. What a face! Bless you for rescuing him. He's one lucky dog.
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