Why is my dog aggressive on leash?

One of my friend's dogs is the nicest dog ever … off leash.  On leash he takes exception to just about every male dog out there.  If your dog is more aggressive on leash, it's possible that he feels trapped.  Off leash, he can meet other dogs how he wants to – when he wants to, where he wants to, how he wants to and he's free to take off running or to fight.  On leash, his only option is to meet them head on and to stand and fight.  He probably feels trapped and that's why he gets aggressive. When you yell at him for growling or barking, he thinks you are agreeing with him that the other dog or person is bad.

One technique for changing this aggressive behavior is to take your dog on leash to a place where you will find the people or dogs that upset him. (But a place where you can still have space to move away from them and keep everyone safe.) Every time he growls, give him a treat and say good dog! Reassure him that there is nothing scary or threatening. If you do this long enough, he will come to see the threatening dogs or people as a sign that he's going to get rewarded! This worked for my friend. (She took her dog to Home Depot to practice. She got a few strange looks but she kept at it. Just make sure you pick a place where you can keep everyone safe.)

4 comments for “Why is my dog aggressive on leash?

  1. guan
    April 1, 2015 at 8:04 am

    My dog like to escape from home and she also try to escape from the leash when I try bring her out
    and she keep barking at night
    I have no idea how to solve this kind of problems
    Can suggest me the way ?

  2. stormy
    April 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    It sounds like you have several things going on. I would suggest signing up for a good, local dog training class.

    I’d also make sure she comes when you call and practice walking on a loose leash. Use treats as incentives! So for the walking on leash, you could hold a bunch of treats and say something like “walk close” and whenever she is walking next to you, give her a treat.

    Where is she when she’s barking at night?

  3. sharon
    September 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    My dog won’t let anyone near the house whether we are opening the door to visitors or coming back in from a walk and someone is at the door If I let them in she sits growling at them and suddenly jumps up and barks at them. How can I stop this behaviour. she does it to adults for children

  4. Darleen perez-lavin
    May 26, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    We just got a shy dog from the shelter. He is around 5 years old. When he gets around other dogs that are sniffing him, he starts to growl and attacks them. We are planning on bring another dog on board and have friends that also have dogs. I would like them to feel comfortable to bring the dog over. Is there a proper way to introduce him to other dogs? I thought maybe walking him more and bringing him out in public will make it better long term. Do you have any suggestions on what to do? I would greatly appreciate your help.

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