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Solve Your Dog Leash Aggression Problems In 30 Days!

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I plan on solving Linus’ dog leash aggression problem in the next 30 days.  Yep, in case you didn’t know Linus has a bit of a dog-to-dog leash aggression behavior problem.  He was always a reserved little puppy, but more recently he’s been developing an aggression problem especially when on leash in our neighborhood.

At a recent trip to Yappy Hour at the Ritz Carlton Linus actually did really well.  He was a bit cautious, but the only dogs he barked at were his two pals Mocha and Cici.  It’s in neighborhoods and familiar places that he’s most aggressive.

At the beginning of 2013 I decided to start each month off by putting together a blog post presenting one of my dog training problems.  My plan is to:

  • Identify the dog training/behavior/grooming problem and put together a blog post on the 1st of the month.
  • Put together a strategy that I can work on with my dog every day for the next 30 days.
  • After 30 days I will form a habit and continue to consistently work on that problem.
  • Report my results on the last day of the month.

For more information check out: How To Solve Your Dog Training Problems In 30 Days

Linus’ Dog Leash Aggression Problem


So what exactly am I talking about when I say dog leash aggression.  When your dog is on leash and he see’s another dog he may display many different behaviors including fear, frustration, anxiety, excitement and of course aggression.

While your instinct might be to ignore your dog leash aggression problems it’s a better idea to simply work on the issue by exposing your dog to other dogs while on leash.

As we mentioned Linus has a bit of a leash aggression problem.  In general when Linus is on leash he does a great job with 3 exceptions

  • When he see’s familiar people he pulls on his leash so he can go say hello.
  • When he see’s small animals (squirrels, rabbits, etc.) he likes to chase them.
  • When he see’s other dogs he becomes aggressive, pulls, and barks at them.  This is most prevalent with him in our neighborhood and places he is familiar with like my sisters and parents houses.

When we go out on a walk and he doesn’t see any of these three things he’s a perfect gentleman and does a great heel.  However, if he see’s any of these three things on his walk he could literally pull you off your feet.


So what am I going to try with my buddy Linus?  My goal is to make Linus understand that it is no big deal when another dog walks by and there is no reason for him to be fearful, excited, or aggressive.  There are a few things I’d like to work on during his walks around the neighborhood.  When a dog is walking by I want to get Linus to focus his attention on me rather than the other dog.

Over the next 30 days I plan on doing several things:

  • Every day for the next 30 days we are going to take Linus and Stetson on a 30 minute (or longer) walk through the neighborhood.
  • Bring some high value treats (stinky salmon treats) in our treat pouch when out on our walks.
  • Randomly on the walk I will call Linus’ name and when he looks up at me reward him with a treat and a “good boy!”
  • When out on a walk make sure that other neighborhood dogs are not too close by (on the other side of our residential street).  Before Linus see’s the other dog say his name and have him focus his attention on me rather than the other dog.  Give him his treat and tell him “good boy”.  Keep doing this until we have successfully passed the other dog.  Give him a jackpot (lots of treats) if he keeps his focus on me the entire time we walk past the other dog.
  • There are a few areas in our neighborhood where dogs are behind fences and like to bark.  This should be a good practice area.  I’m going to work these spots, but keep my distance until Linus becomes comfortable.

As Linus becomes more comfortable walking by dogs on the other side of the street I’ll inch closer and closer until eventually he becomes comfortable walking past other dogs on the same sidewalk.  Well, that’s the goal anyways.

I’m sure there will be modifications to this training over time, but for now this is my 30 day goal.

GOAL: Walk Linus and Stetson 30 minutes a day for 30 days starting on New Years day and work on their dog leash aggression problems.

So what do you think?  Does your dog have leash aggression?  How do you handle your dog when you’re out on walks?  Any tips or hints would be much appreciated.

By the way, if your dog has leash aggression problems then we’d love to have you join us on this months 30 day challenge of fixing our dog’s leash aggression problems.  Tell us about your progress and goals in the comment section below.

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  1. Our biggest problem with our 18 mon Pit Bull. She spent all Fall chasing squirrels from our windows all day long. When she goes out on leash she immediately hunkers down and drags us around the hard. Now they are in hiding but Marvel is still fixated on the smells in the yard. She’s so distracted she can’t focus on doing her business. Sometimes she comes back in and poops in the house. I’m desperate to solve this problem.

  2. Awesome job! One of the cue’s we use with our service dog puppies is “Watch Me” That’s something you might start working on with your dog when grabbing his attention with treats. Good luck and let me know how things progress.

  3. Inspired by your method! Just started using it on Teddy our Mini Schnauzer who is growly at some dogs (not all) when he is on the lead. I took some tiny pieces of roast beef and that kept his attention while passing 4 other dogs. I’m so impressed! The question I have is this (already stepping ahead of myself): are we eventually working up to going out without a treat and if so, how will I pull Teddy’s focus back to me when we see a dog and I don’t have that treat?

  4. Cool! Let me know how it goes. We worked with Linus quite a bit and it has helped with his leash aggression. Hopefully it helps Teddy too. Good luck with your training!

  5. Hi Jenny,

    Dorian sounds like Stetson. He doesn’t eat things of the ground, but he does glue his nose to the ground when he find something he likes. The good news with Stetson is that he’s extremely food motivated so I can draw him back by saying his name and rewarding him with a treat. It sounds like things are getting better with Dorian. Thanks for sharing your story. Please keep us updated!

    Take care,

  6. We’re doing some walk training this month too. Dorian’s leash walk problem is not other dogs so much as it is smell and food distractions, where he freezes in his tracks with his nose rooted to the ground or pulls sideways to eat something. I want him to turn towards me when I call his name and keep on walking with me. He is rewarded with a treat. So far, the walks are improving, with less and shorter interruptions. Also when he starts pulling hard ahead of me, same idea of calling his name, then rewarding. He is staying closer and is more focused on me, tho we’re not there yet!

  7. Awesome! We’re going to post some updates each week with our daily journal and progress reports. So far, I’d say Linus is doing average. He responds to the treats, but he’s still quite reactive to our neighborhood dogs. We’re going to try a few different things in the coming weeks. Keep us updated on how things go with Riddick and let us know if you try anything that works well with him.

  8. I’m doing the work you suggest here with my 9 month old Riddick (Labrador) and we seem to be making progress.

  9. Happy New Year Snoopy! Linus definitely has a squirrel chasing problem and our first outing did not go well. It’s a work in progress. We’re going to post a few details about his squirrel failure next week.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hi Colby,

    I’m looking forward to reading how it goes with Linus – when we’re out Cosmo has the uncontrollable butt wiggle when he sees another dog, but I’m cool and just ignore them! Tee Hee

    I think my Mum would be interested to hear how it goes with the Squirrel chasing, she says I’m not allowed to do that as she’s trying to make me less interested in Cats so I can do the READ program where there are some Cats and thinks I’m wanting to chase them, so all animal chasing is out…. sigh!

    Happy New Year to you all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

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