Leash reactivity occurs when a dog reacts negatively to a particular stimulus when on a leash. Amongst the most apparent instances is a leashed dog who barks or growls when another canine approaches but when a leash does not restrain that dog it usually behaves.
One of the prevalent behaviors amongst dogs is leash reactivity, which is very problematic for pet owners and their pets. When on a leash, reactivity is how dogs behave to external stimuli (other dogs, cars, people, loud noises). Some prevalent behaviors are barking, growling, lunging, biting/nipping, and whining. But, there is nothing to be worried about because reactive leash behavior can be fixed with proper training.
There are many ways to fix leash reactive behavior, but the few mentioned below are the most effective:
- To fix the problems of leash reactivity, one needs to find out the triggers of leash reactivity. There are three primary triggers of leash reactivity: frustration, fear, and conflict seeking. Dogs can start showing frustration if their pet owners have reduced their socialization. Suddenly, when taken out, they can show leash reactivity that arises from the need to say hello to the immediate surroundings. So if the dog shows leash reactivity, take help from a professional dog trainer.
- Second, some preventive measures should also be taken to avoid leash reactivity. Many trainers believe, and some studies have shown, that reactive behaviors can develop from receiving curative instruction in the presence of other dogs. So, it would help if you let your dog meet other dogs when on leash. Another thing that you may need to avoid during this time is retractable leashes and corrective collars.
- Before putting your dog on a leash and taking them outside, you must get them adapted to the leash idea. Whenever your furry friend enacts a positive behavior, associate the word yes with it. Also, you can practice leashing indoors and holding up toys or other objects that can mimic outdoor stimuli.
- When you see a trigger or stimuli approaching, keep a good amount of distance. When your dog notices the stimuli, reward them with the familiar “yes” and a treat. Suppose your dog ignores you or negatively reacts, back further away from the triggers, and try again. Repeat this pattern by standing stationary for a few weeks until your dog seeks your approval and reacts independently. Once you feel confident, start the process while passing stimuli on a walk or hike.
So these are some of the parameters that need to be considered to reduce leash reactivity. Sometimes leash reactivity on roads can lead to dangerous accidents, and as a loving, caring dog parent, that is the last thing you want for your pet.
But, accidents are unpredictable, and one big thing that can help everything wrong return to normal is immediate medical attention. But, medical treatments in case of accidents are costly; it is highly recommended to have cheap pet insurance. Having cheap pet insurance will help the pet owner focus on the pet’s recovery process and not worry about the money. So if you are a dog parent and still do not have pet insurance and your dog shows a lot of leash reactivity, then it is a sign to get the best pet insurance as soon as possible.