Feisty Fido While on Lead?

Here’s a common scenario – Fido is feisty while greeting other dogs on lead but perfectly happy to interact in a much friendlier way while off leash, leaving many owners scratching their head as to why this could be?lead greeting
 
Let’s first take a look at how dogs would greet each other if their movements weren’t restricted by a lead. They would perhaps glance at each other and then look away several times, and then if all looked okay would approach each other in an arc - never head on – and sniff each others rear ends for a second or two. Each dog would be free to break away at any time if tension started to rise.
 
On a lead however, many dogs are forced into an unnatural head to head greeting with their natural movements being restricted due to restraint! Add to this a tense owner who is transferring their anxiety down the lead with a splash of frustration from being tethered and you could have a recipe for fireworks.
 

Here’s a checklist to ensure a happy ending for on lead encounters:

  • When you spot another dog ask their owner – is it okay if my dog says hello? Remember, not all dogs like to greet strange dogs and you must respect this!
  • Avoid letting the dogs rush towards each other for a head to head greeting. This makes it very hard to read each dog and watch for signs of trouble and is also just plain rude dog behaviour.
  • Avoid standing just out of reach of the other dog so that your dog lunges and barks. This just builds frustration and the chance of a disastrous meeting is high.
  • When you are ready to let your dog say hello, ask them quietly to sit. This calms them down and ensures that you are still in control of the situation. Now give the command ‘Say Hello’ and walk towards the other dog on a loose lead. Remember, tight leads build tension.
  • Allow the dogs to sniff each other and circle while making sure you and the other owner don’t get the leashes tangled!
  • After several seconds say in a happy voice ‘Lets Go!’ and confidently walk away, rewarding your dog with a food treat when they come with you.
  • Don’t let on lead greetings descend into play – this only teaches your dog that other on lead encounters should be equally exciting when what you are aiming for is calm, polite exchanges. There is plenty of time for play while off lead!
  • Above all, stay relaxed, calm and confident. Dog’s are experts at reading your body language and will take cues from you if you are nervous.
If your dog has already had several bad encounters while on lead then avoid all on lead greetings until you seek advice from a trainer that uses positive methods. Practice makes perfect and this is not a behaviour any dog should be practicing repeatedly!
 

About us

The D’For Dog team goes further than just dog training - we teach you to recognise why your dog behaves the way he or she does. You’ll learn the skills and techniques to effectively communicate with your dog and change your dog's behaviour, so that you are able to mould your pooch into the dog you’ve always wanted. Contact us now and reap the benefits of a well trained dog!
 

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We stand by our training methods – if you follow our programme you will see your dog’s behaviour improve! However, if you aren’t convinced after your first session, you are under no obligation to embark on a D’For Dog programme.
 

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021 121 4293
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