Leash reactive dog ques?

So many of you have dogs I’m hoping you have suggestions for me… The short story - my girl as gotten increasingly reactive to other dogs when she’s on a leash and I need it to stop, but how?

The long story - people in our neighborhood do not believe in leashing or otherwise containing their dogs so we have been chased and attacked for than I like to think about. I’ve been knocked over on top of my dog, she has been nipped, I have kicked, screamed etc. With multiple calls to animal control, cussing matches with owners, and multiple complaints to the HOA by myself and the few others that walk the situation is improving. I’m the first to admit I am not calm and confident when being run down by a barking and unknown dog and I’m sure my girl picks up on that. The compounding factor was a guy with a little yappy dog suprised us early one morning while we were walking and I jumped, the dog jumped, his dog barked and ran to the end of the leash and mine when into full defense mode. OYE A week later the same dog is out off leash and runs us down and is snapping at my dog as I push the little dog away and about strangle my dog to keep her from eating the little dog. Now walking in the neighborhood on leash she is terrible when we see another dog on leash. Off leash and outside the neighborhood she is fine - she goes to the park, dog park, doggie daycare etc.


You’re correct in that your dog is picking up on your emotions at the time.

As for the loose dogs, I ride a bicycle a lot and am always running across less than friendly dogs. I have two tools to use on them that work quite well.

The first is a very loud air horn that startles them momentarily and breaks their chase mode.

If that doesn’t work I also carry a squirt bottle filled with a water and ammonia mixture that will usually stop them in their tracks when sprayed in the face with it. It does no permanent harm to the dog but the odor, which resembles urine to them, is enough to make them stop the attack as their sense of smell is a great deal more sensitive than our own. I’ve never had a dog continue the chase after being sprayed with the ammonia mixture.

Pepper spray also works but I am loathe to use it on a dog unless they become a serious danger and consider it a last resort measure.

It’s very irresponsible of dog owners to allow their animals to roam the neighborhood unchecked. People like that do not deserve to own a dog in the first place. I don’t think they understand the serious legal liability they risk when they allow their animals to roam and possibly attack someone.

Oh my dear, do I feel your pain. And we live it pretty much everyday. We are the only people in this neighborhood who leash our pup, both in the yard as we have no fence and while we’re walking. It’s the walking part that is the worst since most people don’t leash their dogs in their yards so when they see us walking past, their dogs just tear off after our Bailey and it turns into a nightmare. For her and us.

I like Mason’s idea of the spray bottle and air horn, but when you’re trying to control your dog and trying to make sure the other dog doesn’t bite your dog, you don’t have too much time to be reaching for things to spray at them, unless you see it in enough time to grab it and stop them. But some dogs are too fast sometimes.

I do the same thing you do, scream at them, kick at them, man it’s awful. I feel so bad for my Bailey as I know she is terrified because I’m terrified. As far as how to stop it, you can’t. We’ve been dealing with this for years, stupid people just don’t care. All we’ve been able to do is try and keep the dog away as best we can from Bailey while screaming at the other dog and kicking when necessary.

A few times I’ve lowered my voice and yelled “NO!” at them as they are coming at us faster than lightning and it has worked now and then, but not always. All we can do it keep our dog safe as best we can and if there’s a bite, then we call the police. And pray for witnesses.

I know it sucks and it’s terribly scary. I usually yell at the owner and threaten to call the cops but I know it goes in one ear and out the other. I’m sorry I have no advice for you but wanted you to know you are not alone out there…:hug:

Have you ever watched “The Dog Whisperer?” Several of my friends in the L.A. area have taken their problem dogs to him with amazing results, and I’ve used his methods with good results in dealing with my older dog, and her attitude towards small dogs, i.e., “lunch?”.

If you click on the pull down, there is help with your problem, and very reasonable since you get 1:1 help.

I’ve read some people’s posts who scoff at his methods, but nobody who has actually used them has anything bad to say, that I have read. If it would help, I have one of his books that I can send along this week.


Daisy is actually well trained all evidence to the contrary. She has passed every obedience class available to her with flying colors and is current working on running agility - which she loves and is good at. It just seems like when we see another dog while we are on leash a flip switches in her brain and there is nothing I can do to calm her down - she reminds me of an autistic child. It’s like she’s going to attack them before they attack her…
I am trying to go back to her gentle leader halti to see if keeping her closer to me will help her confindence level as we walk by other dogs. May even head to Sam’s club for those nasty frozen meatballs…our agility trainer uses them and Daisy will about stand on her head for them. The big thing I struggle with is when we see another dog do I treat her for being good and then turn her around and not pass them, walk up someone’s driveway and let the other dog pass at a greater distance from us, or just plow through?

Our Bailey is the same way, it’s like she’s so terrified of being bitten first that she wants to bite them before they get her so then she’ll know if they are a nice dog or a mean dog. It is soooo bizzare.

We take along almonds as treats on our walks. She loves them beyond words. If we see another dog that we know is nothing but trouble then we just turn around and go a different way to avoid a negative situation. It’s not worth the risk and terror that goes through her (and me!) to try and walk through a negative situation. If the other dog is on a leash and can’t get to her, we distract her with the treat and keep walking past the other dog. As for when to reward, no, you can’t praise her unless she’s listening to you and ignoring the other dog. Which, trust me I get it, it’s a [I]very[/I] hard thing to do. And if we do pass and she gets upset but doesn’t react too terribly, we reward her [B]after[/B] she’s calmed down. Basically you can’t reward until she’s behaving how you want her to behave. Calm & Submissive.

I’m a Cesar believer also. I think his methods are great, but with our little girl, staying calm & assertive is a very hard thing to do when another dog is chasing us down! If we could find another owner that’s willing to work with us, god that would be fantastic, but that has yet to happen since we’re the only dog owners within a 5 block radius that actually walks our dog twice a day. Sad, isn’t it?

[SIZE=1]Let me just add this for those who think we’re doing something wrong: I’m not saying my way is the right way, it’s just what works for us. It’s by no means perfect, but we learn every time we go out and face a situation[/SIZE].

I think I would not plow through, simply because YOU cannot stay calm and confident. When I know that I am the one leading the anxiety, I have to do what I need to keep me calm, and that helps my dogs. In the case of off leash dogs, you can carry a big walking stick, or the ammonia spray bottle (a tried and true cyclists tool for dogs!) but if neither of those things are helping you feel confident, then you need to alter your route and just stay away from the other dogs for awhile.

Perhaps someone in an agility or training class with you will work on helping you both out, though? Set up some scenarios where you will have your dog on leash and a dog that you trust and know is allowed to approach, while under control of their owner. I’d build up slowly, to ensure neither dog is ever at risk of being bit. Just let the known dog appraoch to within, say, 20ft, then run through sit/stand commands with your dog, then walk away, then repeat, and if your girl is ok, get within 10 ft, etc. Until you and your leashed dog can pass the loose dog without flinching. I’d expect it to take weeks, honestly, and only if you prevent any setbacks, which means the ONLY time your dogs sees another while on leash is during these safe encounters.

Good luck!!

Oh, and ftr, I like the BOOK the dog whisperer, by another author, but Cesar and his tv show bug me for some reason.

You need to call your city hall and see if there is a leash law, most cities have them. My small town has one and if your animal is caught, it’s a $30 fine AND another $30 for the pound. Don’t bother calling animal control, if it’s anything like we have here, it’s a bored college kid who knows nothing about what his job actually is supposed to be. Call the police and tell them exactly what’s going on. If you can find out who the owners are, you can file a formal complaint against them.

I firmly believe kids that bully aren’t being parented well and that includes furbabies!

If your area has no leash law, go to the city council and push for one! They will tell you how to get it done. Like I said, most places have them now since that woman in San Fransisco was mauled to death in her own apartment building.

You need to reassure your dog when you are out on walks and nothing wrong is happening. Praise her and give her a few treats. When you see a another dog running about, turn and walk the other way.

I wish you luck hun!