Leash aggression and what to do about it: Don’t just say NO!

leash aggression

Does your dog bark and lunge when you are out walking in the streets of New York City? How can you teach your dog to stop doing that?

First, notice what sets your dog off and keep a list of what she finds objectionable.
Is it all other dogs? What kind of dogs? Big, small, hairy, pointy- eared? Or maybe your dog hates skateboards or shopping carts? Is it runners? Bikers maybe?

These are a some of the common things that drive dogs crazy.

You will also want to make a mental note of where your dog is more likely to explode. She might be ok on a wide sidewalk but definitely not ok in a narrow alley.

Your goal is to avoid outbursts as best you can. Be vigilant! When you see a “known” trigger appear, keep your dog at a safe distance from whatever it is, and try to create a pleasant association instead. Offer your dog very yummy treats. Now she does not care about the annoyance anymore! If your dog prefers toys use a favorite squeaky toy instead. If your dog does “lose” it then your reward is not special enough or you have waited too long to offer your goodies.

Very soon you will have taught your dog that a rolling cart means, ”reward time”! Many dogs will start to look at you expectantly when they see something that used to cause them to bark and lunge. That is a sign of success. As always, proceed in tiny increments. Once your dog can look at a rolling cart 20 ft away easily, wait for the rolling cart to come 19 ft away. Observe your dog closely as you delay the reward and don’t get discouraged if you miscalculate or get surprised by your dog’s trigger appearing out of nowhere! That happens in a busy place like New York.

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Elisabeth Weiss is a highly certified, experienced dog trainer in Manhattan, NYC. To learn more about dog training services, contact us by phone at (917) 783-1473 or our contact form.

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