Virginia Simpson and Chance

Ask The Trainer

Leash Aggression


I have a 2 yr old Peek-a-Poo that I got from a shelter.  He had always been kept in a cage and used for breeding.   He walks well on a leash, until we see another dog - and then he absolutely goes crazy!  Barking, trying to get to the dog - big or small doesn't matter.  I'm afraid he will get away from me and be attacked.   Any suggestions?    ~ Doris



Hi Doris,

Thank you for your inquiry!

You have a situation here that trainers call leash aggression or leash frustration.  Frustrating for you and frustrating for your dog no doubt!

There could be a number of reasons why your pup is responding this way.  One reason could be that he is actually afraid of other dogs, a fight or flight response happens when he sees another dog moving towards him, and because he is on the leash he feels he has to fight.  And what he has learned is that if he barks and growls enough either the other dog is removed or he is removed or both.  So, his barking and growling removes the problem for him.  Another reason could simply be that because he wasn’t socialized properly, he doesn’t know how to communicate properly.  He could also be very excited and just want to play with the other dog.  It is difficult to say without seeing his response.  But regardless of why he is doing it, it is possible to teach him to “follow” you instead of checking out with you and consequently, getting out of control when he sees another dog.

Teaching your dog to walk loosely on a leash regardless of the distractions is an important skill to teach.  It is part of good leadership and is a spatial control exercise.  A lot of general obedience cues and spatial commands (sit-stay, etc.) will also work to help you gain control of the walk.  The more good leadership you exhibit for your dog, the more your dog will defer to you in situations like that.

Because you are dealing with something that could potentially cause him or others harm, you might want to seek out some professional training to help get you started in the right direction.   A lot of the specific handling skills you will need can be easier to teach and to learn working in a hands on environment.

Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding the loose leash walking.

Thank you for contacting Unleashed Canine Obedience at Cincinnati Dog Pages!

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Virginia L. Simpson, CDT
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
4955 Creek Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242