Leash Reactivity: It’s More Common Than You Might Think

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CHARLOTTE – Almost everyone has encountered a dog that barks, lunges, and pulls towards other people, or dogs while out on walks. Is that dog yours? The most frequent comment I’ve heard from owners of reactive dogs is, “It’s embarrassing! She’s a terrific dog, but on a walk, she sounds like Cujo!” I’m here to tell you it’s very common!

Dogs have lots of different reasons for their reactivity including fear, anxiety, and even happiness. A leash is definitely a man-made construct, a way to secure your dog for his safety and the safety of others. Leashes are a great idea and, by the way, the law in our area. Your dog, however, may not think the leash is so great. Here are some reasons for dog reactivity:

  • The leash is a barrier between the dog and what they want, much like a door, window, or fence. This often causes frustration.
  • The leash limits your dog’s ability to perform body language cues telling another dog he’s no trouble.
  • The leash will not let your fearful dog go the other way, to escape the scary situation.

What looks like “aggression” is often simply your dog not knowing what to do in the situation. Instead of yelling or punishing, making the situation worse, help your dog by training him.


  • increase the distance between your dog and his trigger
  • carry high-value treats (think stinky!)
  • Practice emergency u-turns

Does your dog look like this? We’re here to help!

Sit, Stay, Play Dog Training & Behavior  (704) 641-1042

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