Lead Aggression

Posted by suecousins
Sep 29, 2007
My 2 year old northern inuit is getting quite aggressive when she is on the lead. This has been happening since she was speyed 12 months ago (maybe just coincidence) She likes all the dogs she has known since she was a pup and some of the new ones,the others are a real problem. I have her on a head collar , I think I am making things worse now as I start to dread passing dogs we dont know. Any advice would be welcome.
Posted by ncolby
Sep 29, 2007
Hi There,

It sounds like your Northern is feeling a little insecure and is trying to do what she thinks she can to protect you from what she interprets as a threat. She is most likely picking up on your tension when passing other dogs. My St. Bernard pulls and gets aggressive as well, and I can see the difference in her reaction when I tense up (ex: when the other dog is not on leash) and when I stay calm. She reacts to me, not the other dog, so I have to make a great effort to remain calm.

Dogs are the masters of picking up on our emotions, but they don't have the logic and reasoning to figure out what it is that is making us tense, so they assume it is the other dog and react instinctually to protect us (their pack). Have you read the secrets to becoming Alpha? If not, I suggest you do so. This will teach you ways to establish yourself as the Alpha so your dog will look to you to determine what is a threat and what is not. The "dog whispering" section might well be useful in teaching you how to read your dog's emotions, it has helped me a ton in being able to address a potential situation before it occurs.

I am still working on getting Ruby (St. Bernard) to remain calm. One thing to try in a pinch that has worked well for me is; when you are walking and another dog comes in to view and your dogs reacts, turn your body and use your legs to gently turn your dog's head and block her view of the other dog. When she stops barking, praise her and make her do a sit/stay.

It may also be helpful to enlist the help of a friend/neighbor who also has a dog, and do some desensitizing exercizes with the two dogs. Eyeluvdogs has some great suggestions posted on this forum about dog aggression, one in particular involves the above mentioned idea of enlisting a buddy.

The head halti is a great tool and gives you much greater control. You should feel more confident using this collar. When the dog acts up, simply pull straight up (not too hard) and this will force the dog's mouth to close. Make sure the halti is fitted properly and that you know how to use it so as not to hurt your dog.

Good luck and stay calm!