How to stop aggression towards other dogs during walks?

asked 2020-09-28 20:05:17 -0600

I have a 1 year old rat terrier/ chihuahua mix puppy. He is very sweet and shows no aggression nor ever barks while at home. However, on our daily walks around the neighborhood, whenever he sees a dog, he barks and growls while lunging forward. This only occurs when we walk in our neighborhood. When we go for walks elsewhere like the beach, he does not act aggressive towards other dogs at all. At the dog park, he is not aggressive or barks at the other dogs. He only acts this way on our walks around the neighborhood. I have tried to stop it by tugging at the leash when he starts being aggressive towards other dogs and firmly saying no, however this usually doesn't work and I result to simply picking him up and carrying him home as he will not stop otherwise. We hope to find a way to solve his behavior as it makes our daily walks stressful and embarrassing as none of the other neighborhood dogs act this way on their walks. Any helpful feedback is greatly appreciated.

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When out for a walk and he starts up, say "No" and turn around and walk in the opposite direction quickly so he doesn't have the time to react and needs to keep up with you. When he calms down start over and try again. This will take many tries, but he will learn!

Katie D.'s profile image Katie D.  ( 2020-10-26 20:31:00 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2020-09-29 16:37:22 -0600

This is a common issue that can occur. The natural human reaction of tugging or adding any tension to the leash yields counter productive results as then the reactive dog receives that as a cue that the other dog, person or object is something to be concerned about and the barking, growling, lunging is likely your dog's way of asserting himself & claiming its personal space, as if to communicate "hey, back off".

It may take practice, but I've found it's helpful to before the dog observes & reacts to the other dog, cheerily lead the dog I'm walking in a different direction with a "let's go or this way" and change course, even if it's only temporarily side stepping in order to give more personal space between the dog I'm with and another dog walking (the goal is to avoid walking into the other dog's path in what would be like a head-to-head collision).

Some use the "look at me" command to get your dog's eye contact and then use treats as a distraction. ideally, the dog will totally focus on you and not the other dog and with repeatition will view it like "oh yeah, I'm going to get treats" and after time may even associate it with "strange dog+eye contact with my human=SCORE! Yay!"

I'm going to post some links from others on this topic: https://www.rover.com/community/questio…

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