Say for instance you have a generally well-behaved dog who is a complete angel in every setting and situation except when you take them on a walk. We get many calls a day from dog owners who are embarrassed or even afraid to take their dog for a walk due to their dog’s leash reactivity. Several dog owners describe walking their dog as a total nightmare. In fact, one of my past clients lived in an apartment and she had to walk several blocks from her house at a certain time of day when she knew none of her neighbors and their dogs would be out walking at the same time. She described her walks with her dog as endless match of tug-a-war.
The term “reactive” is commonly used in the dog training world, but few people are aware of its actual meaning. A leash reactive dog jumps, lunges, growls and barks while only the leash. This aggressive behavior could be towards other animals or sometimes even towards humans. Leash reactive dogs are generally fine off leash and their owners don’t notice any bad behavior.
I know you may be wondering why your otherwise laid back dog goes completely nuts whenever he/she is on the leash.
While working with a dog trainer Washington DC we talked about how there are several reasons that may explain why a dog is leash reactive. Many dogs feel nervous, uncomfortable, and afraid when they are on a leash. When a dog goes for a walk, you are taking them out of their comfort zone and restraining them on the leash where they loose a sense of control of their self and their surroundings. While leash walking may seem like a concept that should be second nature, many canines are often overwhelmed by the emotions of being in unfamiliar place with thousands of distractions.
When training a leash reactive dog, the key is to make them feel confident and secure in every situation and environment. Our in-home training program will help build your dog’s confidence. We will teach you as the owner proper leash handling techniques and ultimately work toward building a relationship of trust and respect between you and your dog.
In-home training is necessary when correcting leash reactivity. In order to eliminate this behavior, your dog needs one-on-one training that will begin in your home where your dog is most comfortable and not distracted by the triggers.
If you’re ready to take your dog on a stress-free walk, give us a call today! Our Marin County dog training programs will get your dog on track!
Lisa Caper has been training dogs for 15+ years. As former licensed psychotherapist, She understands the similarities AND difference between human’s emotional needs and dog’s emotional needs. Specializing in dog behavioral problems, she. helps owners build better relationships between dogs and their humans and fixing, rather than managing, behavioral issues.