At least once a week, I get a phone call about dog aggression when the dog is on his leash.
The caller will state that the dog is usually fine or indifferent toward people or other dogs unless leashed.
Once leashed, the caller’s dog takes on an entirely new persona. The dog may lunge, growl or even try to attack dogs or people that come too close. So what causes the dog aggression?
On-leash dog aggression
Off-leash — no problem. On-leash — a whole different story. The caller will then say that the dog most likely protects the owner.
A dog that is protecting its owner would be protective off-leash and on-leash. The leash wouldn’t matter. Dog aggression while on-leash is usually caused by one of two reasons: either the dog is fearful of people and other dogs or the dog feels the owner is back up and wants to show aggression to let off steam.
One of the worst things we can do to our dogs is to isolate them from others, confine them without social interaction and adequate exercise, give them little or no training and then expect them to be well-behaved when something exciting occurs, like meeting another dog or new person while out on a walk.
Teach leash etiquette
We wouldn’t expect a human child to know social etiquette if the child was kept in a closet 23 hours a day. Yet this is what we expect from our dogs.
The average dog out on a walk gets an intense thrill when it sees another person or dog approaching. Your dog is wound up tighter than the inside of a golf ball after being bored and left alone all day. Your dog is ready to go berserk at the first person or dog it sees.
Sometimes the dog is a friendly berserker — jumping all over the new dog or person in ecstasy. If the dog is the average dog, however, that frenetic energy will come out as either fear-related dog aggression or territorial dog aggression. If there are children and dogs in your neighborhood and you’re worried about hurting someone during your walks, you can get a little help from CBD products.
Giving your dog a CBD treat about 30 minutes before the walk can help alleviate anxiety and provide comfort, so they’re not as reactive. It’s crucial that you choose the right products, though, so we always recommend doing some research first. You can find a wealth of information at Nature and Bloom, which is an excellent source for all things CBD and THC.
Correct dog aggression
Fear-related dog aggression is when the dog sees the leash as a restraint preventing him from escaping. Territorial dog aggression is when the dog is an extrovert, seeing its owner as a packmate who has his back should the dog need backup in a fight to let off steam.
Work with a reputable dog trainer or behaviorist to correct dog aggression. However, you will accomplish little if you don’t give your dog social interaction and adequate exercise.
Dogs need companionship, exercise, training, and affection.
Most of us who have dogs find the affection part the easiest to give. However, it isn’t enough. If people truly love their dogs, they’ll also provide the companionship, exercise, and training all dogs need and deserve.
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners.” Connect with Terry on her website.