How to Stop Leash Aggression in Dogs?

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When a dog is off-leash, he or she may seem cool and calm, but when the leash is attached, the dog may lunge or pull. Training an aggressive dog is not only unpleasant but is also dangerous to you and your dog. Moreover, it is crucial to learn how to stop leash aggression.

Leash aggression is also known as leash reactivity. Dogs usually show such behavior when they are new to the leash or feel restrained in certain situations.

A leashed dog has limited movement and can feel frustrated as he wants to walk freely.

When under fright, dogs want to distance themselves from the fear source. However, when leashed they feel stuck, start to bark and lunge so that the fear source can go away. Once the distance increases or the fear source is gone, the dog calms down and starts to obey leash manners.

What is Leash Aggression?

When a dog lunges, barks, or pulls on a leash, this increases blood pressure and results in leash aggression.

It is a common problem faced by many dog owners. This undesirable behavior causes a dog to show excitement when on a leash.

If your dog is calm on a leash most of the time. Enjoys going on a walk and shows no signs of aggression when socializing with other pets then your dog is not leash aggressive. Moreover, if the polite pup becomes aggressive on a leash and dog walking becomes challenging, now it is time to reconsider.

Why My Dog is Aggressive on Leash?

There can be various reasons for a dog to start behaving aggressively on a leash. Most of the time the cause can be not socializing with other people or pets during puppyhood.

As a pup, the first few months are critical as the brain develops a sense of identification. This may build up fear for other people or dogs if not trained to socialize during these crucial times.

As a pup, if a dog develops a fear of other dogs, then this can progress to fearful behavior on a leash. Socializing with other pets and dogs is very important as by this they learn to gently sniff and meet other dogs.

Periodic leash aggression can be caused if a dog is hyper excited because they need to drain all the energy and have been detained by a leash. A frustrated dog releases his anxiety by barking, lunging, and pulling on the leash. This kind of leash aggression can be addressed by providing more opportunities for physical activities.

Dangers of Leash Aggression

Handling a leash aggressive dog is not easy. Aggression is never a good sign when it comes to teaching a dog leash manners. Maintaining this behavior for a long time may cause frequent misbehaving when a dog is leashed.

Here are some of the dangers that a leash aggressive dog can do.

  • Anxiety and fear are the root causes of leash aggression. In this scenario, a dog needs training in getting over such bad behavior. It is best to allow your dog to socialize with other dogs in a safe environment like a dog park so that they may experience the art of meeting and greeting. This neutralizes fear of other dogs, and your dog will become comfortable on leash in the presence of other pets.
  • Being aggressive on a leash can cause loneliness as no owner will allow their dog to play with a dog that is leash aggressive. Like any other species, dogs need friends of their own kind and a lack of socializing can affect the ability to make friends and nurture that friendship.
  • An aggressive dog is prone to get injured. It may seem like the dog is tough but aggression cause dog fights and results in serious injuries to both you and your dog. Teach your dog to stay calm on a leash so that you can control him.
  • There are laws in the US that abide dog owners to leash their dogs in public places and train them to feel calm and obedient when leashed. Leash aggression can lead to legal consequences as well, any property damage caused by your dog is your responsibility.

How to Stop Leash Aggression?

First thing first, patience is the key to stopping a dog to be aggressive on leash. It requires training or sometimes guidance from a dog trainer, teaching a dog to be calm on a leash takes time and practice.

Identify the cause of leash aggression and work on desensitizing that cause so that your dog will become an angel on a leash.

Stop Leash Aggression Caused by Fear

To prevent a dog from pulling on a leash, the first thing is to identify the reason for his distress. After that work on neutralizing the cause that is making your dog uncomfortable.

If a dog feels fear when he sees other dogs while walking on a leash, first train him to be comfortable in the presence of other pets. Use a slip lead leash, hold it a few inches from the collar, this puts the dog in a follower state as this state discourages pulling, gives more control, and does not give enough space for the dog to pull.

Now take him to a dog park and remember to be calm and relaxed as he sees other dogs. Do not show excitement when he starts to behave while passing other dogs. After the training ends, reward your dog with some treats and tell him that he has done a good job.

Continue this training until your dog feels comfortable in the presence of other dogs and will eventually stop leash aggression as fear was the cause.

Stop Leash Aggression Caused by Excitement

An excited dog is full of energy and aggression. If your dog does not get hostile as he sees other pets, then it is likely that the cause of leash aggression is excitement.

Pulling, lunging, and barking is a way to burn out all that energy caused by excitement. Engage in physical activities with your dog so that he can burst all that excitement while playing flyball or fetch. Start training your dog to be comfortable on a leash, teach him that lunging and barking will not do any good, and gentle behavior on-leash is rewarding.

Final Thoughts | Stop Leash Aggression in Dogs

All in all, don’t be demotivated if there are no immediate results or your dog discourages the way of training in the beginning.

Walking a leash aggressive dog is quite frightening as it can harm others as well as cause property damage. Teach your dog how to walk on a leash and stop leash aggression that stimulates when the dog gets frustrated on the leash.

Ryan Dahmer

Ryan provides in-home pet care services as a side gig. Even though he operates as a groomer, he is knowledgeable about dog and cat training. He currently works full-time as a contributor at BestDogLeash.Org, where he blogs or tests products by giving recommendations to share his knowledge and opinions.

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