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How To Fix Leash Reactivity

Hi everyone!

If you are struggling with leash reactivity in Portland Oregon or anywhere for that matter I am available for consultations and lessons. Leash reactivity can be a little tricky to “fix.” But let me break it down for you a bit.

There are a few theories as to why this happens in dogs. I would say about 95% of dogs are uncomfortable with the leash itself and here are a few possible reasons:

  • It makes them nervous because they can’t greet dogs in the way they could without a leash
  • Dogs and people make them nervous in general

So leash reactivity in dogs is really about them trying to “push” things away from them. Like, “please leave us alone – I am so scary.”

A possible theory to consider: If your dog really trusted you to make decisions for the pack because you have a good track record, they could defer to you to deal with the scary things like dogs and people. Getting a dog to buy into you as a pack leader is about your relationship with them, how much you ask of them in day to day activities and how you can hold them accountable for their behavior, meaning, if they blow off your “ask” there is a consequence that they would rather avoid.

I’ve been a dog trainer in Portland Oregon for several years now and have worked with many leash reactive dogs. I think the magic combo is asking a lot more of them in daily life and then working on your leash handling skills with a prong collar or head halter and an e-collar.

How to Improve Pack Leadership:

  • Claim your space in your house.
  • Kick them off of couches, beds and out of rooms like the kitchen… just because, like, for no reason other than that’s what you decide on a whim.
  • Make them stop at thresholds like the crate door, car door and front door before going through it.
  • Wait for eye contact before you give them food.
  • Don’t let them jump up on you or anyone else.
  • Teach them how to hold commands like a down with an e-collar as reinforcement.

I recommend checking out Cheri Lucas’ website for more ideas: https://cheriwulfflucas.com

These are just some ideas that really really help them to buy into you as a leader. Dog training shouldn’t be something you just do for a period and then stop, it’s something you have to constantly be working on. I help people with dog obedience training in Portland and see that the clients I work with that really adopt the mindset that its a lifelong process, have the best results.

The second part of the magic combo to stop leash reactivity is leash handling skills with the right collars. This is something you may need help from a professional dog trainer. E-collar training is a game changer for stopping leash reactivity. And no, an e-collar will not mess up your dog unless you blast them unfairly with is constantly on a level that is ridiculously high. I’ve never had a client do that. Most people are afraid of messing up their dogs so they use the e-collar on levels that are way too low, often not getting the best results from it.

If you are looking for a leash reactivity dog trainer in Portland Oregon, check out my website at www.balancedpackk9training.com and my services page.