Dog owners who experience aggression problems with their dogs often have a hard time identifying the cause of the aggressive behavior. While desperately needing help, this dog owner cannot address the problem and correct the behavior unless she has an in-depth understanding of her dog's fears.

Dog Displaying Aggression To Protect Owner

By Daniel Stevens

Dear Daniel,

Our Dog Boris who is neutered and turned one this month has a problem that is not covered in your book.

When he was a puppy he was afraid of everything and everyone and would not venture off for a walk even while on the leash. He just plopped his behind down and would not move. He's a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, they are notorious for plopping habits.

Anyway he now enjoys going for walks but anytime he sees a stranger, jogger, walker, someone riding a bike or another dog walking he goes absolutely nuts! He barks and barks and lunges to the point that he is standing on his hind legs using the leash as an anchor to help him stand. I am not sure if this is a response out of fear, if it's territorial or protectiveness.

He only does this while on the leash. He is fine at the dog park when off leash and even lets strangers touch and pet him. On occasion he's been outside off leash and ignores what's going on around him and just stays close to us although on our property.

I have tried the squirt bottle and coin can technique to get his attention to give him a command but nothing will stop his behavior until the person is out of site.

This only happens when he on a leash and I have tried a nylon collar and choke collar, the gentle lead and the prong collars with no improvement. Otherwise he's a very good and obedient dog.

Please help, our neighbors think he's a rabid dog!

Thank You,



Secrets To Dog Training Reply:

Hi Marie,

Thanks for your email. Being on a leash while out walking restricts a dog's natural need to approach and inspect other dogs. This restriction causes frustration, which in turn leads to more excitement and agitation. The dog owner will further restrict the dog, reprimand him, or become tense upon approach of strange dogs. The dog then begins to associate strange dogs with frustration, tension, and punishment, which is the cause of heightened aggression on leash.

If you know that your dog reacts to the sight of strange dogs, it's likely that you will become tense upon their approach. Your dog easily notices a change in your mood, and sensing your tension, will become tense himself. His assumption is that you are afraid of this approaching dog, and he becomes aggressive in order to protect you and himself.

So, you need to remain calm at all times, and you might even like to talk to Boris in a happy voice, and praise him upon sighting another dog, so that he begins to associate strange dogs with a more positive experience. Step in between him and the other dog (if possible) and ask Boris to follow some commands, praising and rewarding him for his obedience.

Ensure that your dog knows that you are the Alpha Dog (please read the bonus Alpha book if you have not already) and that you do not need his protection.

Allow your dog to safely meet other dogs while on his leash. If you are at all concerned, you might like to muzzle him initially.

Do you have any friends with dogs that could help you? Have them meet you in the park, and allow the dogs to greet each other, and give Boris a treat for remaining calm. Practice this as much as you can for best results.

Good luck Marie.  Please let me know how you progress.

Daniel Stevens and the Secrets To Dog Training Team

Secrets To Dog Training - STOP Your Dog's Behavior Problems!




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