At the beginning of the month we set out to solve Linus’ dog leash aggression over the next 30 days. Although the process will most likely take longer than 30 days we hope to create habits that will lead to better behavior out of Linus.
If you didn’t read our initial post with our strategy for working on Linus dog leash aggression then check out our post at the beginning of the month:
Check out our day by day progress report in Linus’ Journal!
The Linus Journal – Working on Dog Leash Aggression
Day #1 – New Years Day! It was a busy day! I got my first workout of the year in at 24 Hour Fitness. I rushed home to cut up some salmon treats for the boys. I grabbed my treat pouch and off we went on day 1 of our 30 day challenge. It was about 4pm and we didn’t see any other dogs on our walk :( Stetson just wanted to sniff all the trees and bushes. Linus did find a distraction as he saw a squirrel scurry up the tree. I quickly grabbed a treat and called out “Linus!” No response as he whined and pulled on his leash. I put the treat in front of his nose and called “Linus” again…still no response. I think we need stinkier treats in order for this to work. Dog Leash Aggression persists! GRADE: F
Day #2 – We got off to a late start today. We didn’t go on our walk until 10:20pm at nigh! I didn’t think we’d see any other dogs so I walked the boys over to an open parking lot and worked on basic obedience. “Sit”, “Down”, “Wait”, “Sit-Stay”, and “Down-Stay”. The boys were perfect! Of course there were no real distractions until…at the end of our walk there was another dog out on a walk. It looked like a Norwegian Elk Hound and he was walking on the far side of the street…Perfect! As we walked past Linus could hear, but not really make out the other dog. I called out “Linus” and he looked back at me so I gave him a treat. I did this 2 more times until we were passed the Elk Hound. Linus was perfect on this little test. GRADE: A
Day #3 - Another night walk for us, but we got out a little bit earlier leaving the house around 8pm. Once again we did a little bit of obedience work to start things off so I could get Linus and Stetson used to listening for their name with a treat reward. We encountered 3 dogs tonight! Once again the dogs were on the other side of the street and Linus and Stetson barely noticed them. They could hear jingling of collars, but I kept their attention on me and the treats. Towards the end of our walk I saw a black Labrador Retriever on our side of the street. I tried to keep Linus’ attention on me as we moved forward, but once he saw the big Lab he jerked forward and let out a couple of barks. I quickly said his name and he turned back towards me, quickly grabbed a treat then moved back to the end of his leash. I called out “Linus!” again and he once again turned to me. The bad news is Linus still acted dog aggressive when on his leash, but the good news is he responded to my voice commands which I consider one GIANT paw forward. GRADE: C
Day #4 – Almost missed our walk today. I didn’t get home from hockey till about 1am and the boys and I went on a late 1:30am walk. I wasn’t counting on seeing any dogs, squirrels, or rabbits, but there was a chance we’d see coyotes :( Luckily we didn’t see any coyotes so we just worked on obedience in the cold night air. GRADE: INCOMPLETE
Day #5 – We got out to an earlier walk today starting right around dusk at 4:30pm. I was sure we’d see at least a half dozen dogs out on our walk, but instead we only saw 1 dog! And the boys didn’t even notice him. They were very focused on their heeling and never looked over their shoulders. Hmmm…I guess that’s a good thing that they were focusing on our walk instead of the dogs, but it really didn’t give me a chance to test Linus and see if he was improving on his leash aggression. Oh well, no barking or pulling I’ll give the boys a GRADE: B
Day #6 - We started our walk around 4pm in the afternoon. It was a little drizzly out and had rained more heavily earlier in the day. We crossed paths with 5 other dogs on our walk today. The first one, a Golden Retriever started barking at us before any of us saw him. Linus promptly replied with a few barks of his own and Stetson started barking in response to Linus. I called Linus by his name and offered a treat. He turned towards me then redirected back towards the Golden. I did the same thing 3 times until eventually Linus’ attention firmly focused on me.
We came across a group of ducks while walking the golf course. Linus lunged forward, but not too aggressively more like he wanted to see what all the fuss was about. He didn’t bark and responded to my voice…GOOD BOY LINUS!
The boys didn’t even notice one dog that came up behind us. The other 3 dogs were walking together and we were coming up from behind. I could hear Linus’ breathing change as he became a little agitated. I said his name and offered a treat. Linus reached back grabbed the treat and focused back on the 3. We did this several times and even though Linus was focused on the dogs up front he never barked and eventually the dogs were out of our sight. I’d say an above average day even though Linus barked at the Golden that was barking at him first. GRADE: B-
Day #7 – We got out for a slightly earlier walk today leaving the house at 2pm. We only saw 2 dogs on today’s walk, but there was a little twist. One of the dogs was running with his owner. They streaked by us on the far side of the street. Linus took notice and focused on the runners. I captured Linus’ attention a couple times, but he still focused in on the runners. However, no barking, leash pulling or aggression. Good for Linus! GRADE: B+
Linus Leash Aggression Recap
Overall not a bad week! We got in all of our walks and Linus did okay. Stetson was a rock and is very attentive when it comes to treats so I’m not really worried too much about leash aggression with him even though he does follow Linus’ lead once in a while and barks and pulls.
We’re going to try some different things in week 2. We’re going to take a page out of Lulu The Beagle’s book (I mean blog) who’s been working on a similar project, but Lulu is wearing her Thundershirt when out on walks. So next week Linus is going to wear his Thundershirt when we go on our 30 minute walks. Hopefully we see some more improvement.
How about you guys? Are you working on your dog’s leash aggression issues? How’s it going? Tell us about it in the comment section below.