Leash Reactive Dog Training Guide

Let’s face it: not all dog behaviors are good behaviors. From barking to lunging and everything in in the middle of, leash reactivity in dogs is a common growing pain for pets and owners.

That’s why this week we’re going to look at the basics of how a leash reacts and how to handle it so that you and your four-legged best friend can get back to what you do best – snuggling up to each other!

What is the reactivity of the belt?

Leashed reactivity occurs when a leashed dog reacts undesirably to a given stimulus (e.g. other dogs, cars, people, loud noises). The most common types of reactive behavior with a leash include:

  • Barking, Grunting, Rattling
  • Bite/pinch
  • Moaning

The reactivity of the leash is isolated and refers only to the behavior that is displayed when the dog is leashed.

Since the behavior is inconsistent, unexpected episodes of reactivity with the leash can often make the pet’s parent feel embarrassed, inadequate and uncontrollable.

Corrective training to the reactivity of the belt

Don’t fall too low in the dumps if you have a reactive dog on a leash. Here are some simple leash reactivity training steps that owners can follow to mitigate bad behavior:

  • Determine the reason for the behavior.
  • Frustration: As dogs get older, owners tend to limit communication. This can lead to reactive behavior that has its origin in frustration with the desire to say hello.
  • Panic: Dogs that have been poorly socialized or have had a bad experience with another dog may become reactive due to panic. Their behavior may be because they are tied down and lose the ability to choose to “fly” in negative situations.
  • Conflict seeking – although not as common, in some dogs the “try me” attitude is rooted in uncertainty. Such an attitude tends to be confrontational, can be harmful and often requires professional help as soon as possible.

Prevention of reactive behavior with a leash

  • Don’t let your dog meet other dogs on a leash.
  • Avoid retractable leashes – It’s always best to keep dogs a few inches away from you.
  • Avoid corrective collars: Studies show that reactive behavior can develop when correcting in the presence of other dogs.

Practice with a leash indoors

  • Start by associating a word like “yes” with a positive behavior.
  • Practice being on a leash indoors and holding toys or other objects that can mimic external stimuli.
  • When your dog recognizes an object or looks into his eyes, reward him with a “yes” and a treat, teaching him that a calm and positive reaction to stimuli = a happy owner and a delicious snack.

Do some outdoor training

  • When you see a trigger or stimulus approaching, keep a decent distance.
  • When your dog notices the stimuli, reward him with the usual “yes” and treats.
  • If your dog ignores you or reacts negatively, stay away from irritants and try again.
  • Repeat this pattern, remaining motionless for several weeks until your dog starts asking for your approval and doesn’t manage on his own.
  • Once you feel confident, start the process by transferring stimuli during a walk or hike.

Know when to contact a professional

If, after several months of taking these measures, your four-legged friend is still showing signs of reactivity with a leash, it may be time to call a professional. The most important thing is that if a dog makes you or someone else feel that they are in peril, we recommend that you seek the help of a trainer as soon as possible.


By identifying the root cause of leash reactivity and using adaptive dog training to prevent it in the future, pet owners can get rid of the frustration of leash reactivity and turn it into a positive experience.

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