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Take a quick jog or walk through any suburban neighborhood around dusk and you’ll likely see this common sight: Leash reactive dogs lunging at each other from opposite sides of the street, pulling and embarrassing the human walking with them.
What is Leash Reactivity?
Leash reactivity in dogs can manifest itself in many ways: Think lunging, jumping, snarling, rearing up like a stallion, growling, barking and overexcitement when walking on a leash. Simply put, a leash-reactive dog is one that is especially sensitive and reactive while on a leash. Leash reactive dogs aren’t bad dogs – many are well-behaved off-leash and even play well with other dogs at dog parks and at home.[img src="/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/leash-reactive.jpg"]
Here are 3 things you need to know about leash reactivity in dogs and what you can do to manage your dog’s behavior when walking on a leash.
When off-leash and in their own natural environment, dogs usually greet from the side and then sniff each other’s genitals. They don’t approach head-on and make hard eye contact unless a fight is about to start. Additionally, dogs generally only greet each other for a few seconds. Dogs who meet on a leash usually meet head first, and when neighbors stop and chat, tensions can rise. Dog owners need to be aware of how dogs behave on their own and need to create as natural interactions as possible, even during leashed walks.
Use Your Manners
Dog owners also don’t often recognize rude behavior from other dogs. If one leashed dog greets another leashed dog during a walk by running up and jumping on him, this isn’t cute or playful, it’s downright rude in dog society and could be the result of a poorly socialized dog.[img src="/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/pulling-leash.jpg"]
Leash reactivity can be corrected with positive reinforcement dog training. You can start curbing this unwanted behavior by teaching your dog to focus on you, not other dogs, during walks. You can start working on this lesson by starting leashed walks in areas without distractions, like in your living room or fenced yard.
For more information about curbing leash reactivity with positive reinforcement dog training, read about My Curious Canine's training style or schedule a free meet and greet or ask about our mastering the walk mini-course.