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Leash aggression and reactivity in dog’s is not only very annoying and embarrassing for the owners it can be very, very dangerous as well! That is the reason why it’s important to stop that kind of behavior as soon as possible.
But how do you do that?
There are actually several tactics to help you overcome leash reactivity in your dog so that you can both enjoy walks again. This is not such a difficult task, however, the key to success is being patient and having a positive attitude. So let’s dive in!
Start out of sight of the other dog. Slowly move closer, rewarding your dog whenever they look at you. As soon as your dog notices the other dog in the distance get their attention. Reward enthusiastically when your dog redirects their attention from the other dog to you. Keep progressing closer, continuing to give treats for looking at you. Go further away from the other dog and try again if you get a negative reaction or if your dog loses interest in the treats.
Put yourself somewhere where leashed dogs are moving by frequently. Make sure you can vary the distance between yourself and other dogs. It is a good idea to put a vest on your dog at this time that says something like, “In training please approach slowly”. Reward your dog for looking at you in between allowing her to watch the other dogs. You should see signs of curiosity like your dog sniffing the air. If you see any negative reaction or if your dog refuses to redirect her attention, move further back from. When your dog is relaxed with other dogs going by you may be ready for the next step.
The first greeting should be controlled, with a friendly dog. Start at a distance and walk parallel with the other dog. Move closer and closer to the other dog until you and the other handler are walking side-by-side with the dogs on the outside.