A brief look into causes of leash aggression

by k9perceptionblog

We get a lot of dogs for leash aggression. In this brief article I would like to take you through some potential causes and ways to prevent the development of this aggression. 

  1. Lack of social skills
  2. No leash obedience
  3. Excess energy
  4. No impulse control

So number one is what I believe everyone jumps to as a conclusion. Yes it is one of the reasons your dog may be developing some issues on the leash but keep in mind the leash can obstruct what would be normal socialization and cause frustration and aggression to develop. This doesn’t mean I’m recommending taking the leash off and hoping for the best when your dog meets some one. I am recommending you looking limit interaction with other dogs until you do have leash control. Many times the bad behavior will snowball progressively getting worse and worse.

This brings me to my next point. Obedience is so important to your dog’s life and their ability to go and do with you. With leash obedience two things you should practice is teaching the dog not to pull and to sit when you stop. Once you have this control you can then walk up to people and other dogs with much more confidence and calm control.

So the third and probably the biggest reason dogs develop leash aggression is excessive energy. The poor behavior on leash really puts owners in a pickle when trying to exercise them though since they struggle to walk they get less exercise. Again this reiterates how important control and obedience is. Sometimes a fast run or bike ride is great to keep your dog moving forward and wearing them out but I get it we’re all not athletes and sometimes just prefer to go on a relaxing walk. In that case your dog still needs to let out some energy so parks may be an option but then we come back to the circle of poor social skills and manners at the park. High impact play such as fetch, tug-a-war (in control play), frisbee, hid-n-seek, etc. can all be ways of taking a little edge off your dog before training or a walk.

The final reason for leash aggression I want to touch briefly on is impulse control. Impulse control or the lack of it is the root issue with most dog behavior problems we see and we see a lot of behavior issues throughout the course of a year. Impulse control is a combination of things that causes the dog to be hyper reactive and not focus. It’s not necessarily their fault either. They have no reason to not want to pay attention of go to what ever is competing most for their attention. This is something that must be taught. You teach impulse control by taking the dog through obedience and stay training then slowly introducing a repeatable distraction in a very controlled in environment. Repeat this over and over with ever increasing distractions until your dog stays focused on you the entire session.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly at caleb@k9perceptions.com for more dog training advice or call us at 904-237-2044 and our account manager can assist you in setting up a free initial consult with one of our trainers.