How To Fix Leash Aggression and Introduce Dogs


Hey, everyone, it’s Dr. Mike. A bunch of you have asked me how to deal with leash reactive dogs. The ones that go crazy! And today I’m going to tell you how to fix it. There are two ways that I handle leash aggression or leash reactivity in dogs. The first one is management. The second one is treating. So for management the main thing that you wanna do is make sure your dog doesn’t have any of those big freak outs. And you can do that by making sure your dog is not likely to come in contact with another dog. So, going for walks in places where there aren’t a lot of dogs. Or going at times when there aren’t a lot of other dogs around. Other management tools include making sure there is a visual barrier between you and the other dog. That could be a car that you could walk around or behind. or a plant. or a walk way. And then the last thing you can do is just put distance between you and another dog. If you want to fix the problem. Fixing it takes a lot of work but it can be done. Essentially, what you want to do here is teach your dog to react in a different way. Instead of your dog going, “There’s another dog there! Another dog there! Another dog there!” You make it sit and calmly look at you. So there’s two things your dog need to know to be able to change its behavior. One is to be able to sit and the second is to be able to focus. Focus is just stop and watch me. Make eye contact. You want to practice this at home when it’s very very quiet and make sure your dog can do it in a situation where there are no other dogs. The next part of fixing a dog that freaks out on leash, is to find out where the threshold is. In other words, how close can you be to another dog before your dog just starts to lose it and can’t do that focus. When you find out what that distance is you need to go back a little ways. Think of this as a video game So, you have to be far enough away at level one the dogs has to be able to do it. In the house is level one. That’s your training level. Then level two, out in front of the house with a few distractions Level three is, maybe there’s a dog but it’s far enough away that your dog doesn’t care. That’s level three. Level four is then you start getting closer, and closer, and closer. Dogs being reactive or aggressive on leash is very common and a lot of those dogs are fine when they’re off leash, which I hear all the time. “My dog’s great at the dog park but when they’re on leash they’re just crazy!” And a big part of that is because when dogs meet on a leash they’re pulling and they’re excited to see each other and they’re just going nose-to-nose and that’s like the most aggressive way for dogs to meet. It’s like right in your face. If your dog is going to meet another dog, cuz you come around a corner and they’re right there. If you can’t just walk away then let that leash go loose so they aren’t pulling and they can do their nice circle thing. “I’m gonna smell your butt you smell my butt. Nice to meet you. I’m John. I’m Fluffy.” And they’re going to be much more relaxed. Last thing I would say about this is It’s super important for you to be as calm as possible. Dogs will pick up, if you see another dog coming and you tense up on the leash a dog is going to know that. Don’t get into the kung-fu stance, there’s another dog! You’ve got this. You can handle this. I hope that helps you deal with your dog’s leash reactivity Thanks for watching and please subscribe.