Best 2 Tips to Avoid Leash Excitement and Reactivity

leash training, leash manners, leash etiquette, leash reactivity

The majority of today’s dogs have, literally, no leash manners.

Forget the “heel” position (the dog walking calmly with his right shoulder parallel to your right leg), most dogs can’t even compose themselves well enough to walk without almost choking themselves out!

A number of people even buy harnesses, so that their dogs can pull harder without causing injury to their neck.

I have mixed emotions about that ^^^^^

The vet tech in me knows that constant and consistent pulling can cause the trachea to collapse.

Yet, the dog trainer in me knows that harnesses actually ENCOURAGE pulling!

Unless it is an “anti-pull” harness (which I am not a huge fan of either), your dog can still use his WHOLE BODY to pull forward.

Heck, I use a harness, when I want my dog to pull my recumbent trike and get exercise!

But I don’t use it for walking! That would be like trying to fight a Dragon with a toothpick.

I like a dog that walks nicely on leash and on a buckle collar, and if you teach the dog using proper leash training techniques, this isn’t a tall order.

You don’t need a “training collar” if you actually train your dog!

But there are a couple of tricks that will help get you started on the right paw!

Here's How To Avoid Leash Excitement And Reactivity:

Work on Obedience At Home

leash training, leash manners, leash etiquette, leash reactivityYou can’t expect your dog to listen to you when you leave the house, if he can’t even listen to you IN your house!

People are sometimes under the grand delusion that most dog training happens while they are on a walk with their dog…

Nothing is further from the truth.

Dogs should learn their basic obedience in a fairly sterile and neutral (boring) environment like your home.

You wouldn’t take your child to Chuck E. Cheese's or the amusement park and try and teach him math, would you?

Why then, do we expect to teach our dogs new commands or cues during the most exciting time of their day?

You will be so much better off with your training if you work on your dog obedience at home and give him the skills that he needs when you begin taking him outside.

Use Your Leash Inside

I know, it sounds crazy, right?

A leash is for taking your dog outside for walks.

The problem is, that is what most dogs think too!leash training, leash manners, leash etiquette, leash reactivity

People touch the leash and the over excitement and reactivity begins.

So, in some ways, you are setting your dog up for failure from the beginning.

It is like the doorbell usually equals people being at the door, so the dog goes crazy.

If we condition the dog that these exciting things don’t always equal “exciting things” they learn to better control their emotions and responses.

For Instance

My dogs barely blink when I touch the leash.

Because I often put them on leash inside the house to tighten up their obedience.

I remember when I was younger, before I was a dog trainer, with my first dog.  She would go berserk when I touched the leash… because I, like most people, only leashed her when I took her for a walk or did something exciting.

Then I spent the initial 10 minutes or more fighting her excitement level and overstimulation.

The more time I spent with my dogs on leash in the house (especially when I trained Service Dogs), the more I realized that they were desensitized to the “excitement” of the leash.

So, when I took them out, I didn’t have to spend that time dealing with an overexcited dog!

It is really amazing how easy it can be to just change the relationship you and your dog have with his leash, and how much easier it is to take him places when you don’t have to spend those first 10 minutes with a spastic dog!

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  1. Linda Fulbright says:

    Leaving the leash on on the house worked wonders

    Thank you


  2. Joanie Walsh says:

    Hi ,what about service dogs they use a harness and they dont pull so you must be able to teach a dog not to pull on a harness?


    Minette Reply:

    Actually, most service dogs use a harness TO pull their person in a wheelchair


  3. Heidi says:

    I’m confused, so out the leash on the dog in the house and walk them around the house for 10 mins before actually leaving the house for the walk? I have a dog that is insanely reactive and puller on walks and have tried/used every training device short of shock collar to get her to walk nice and ignore dogs but nothing works. And it’s not to say I haven’t worked with each device and commands for weeks on end. Treats, she doesn’t care either.


  4. Raymund says:

    I will try that trick of putting the leash on while my dog is in the house. That will minimize my dog’s excitement. I love that!


  5. Catherine says:

    What do you suggest! I do! if a dog have redirected aggression and when walking him with either a leash with collar or harnasse or both he just goes mal, he pulls you of your feet and attack the leash shaking it uncontrollably, that is difficult to hold on to that leash


  6. Colleen says:

    My one year old dog loves going out but as soon as I pick up the leash and collar she runs away. Acts like she doesn’t want to go out. Once it’s on her she’s ready to go.
    Any ideas what that can be about? The collar fits fine


  7. Pamela says:

    We have a two year old miniature Australian Shepherd. He is smart and we have paid a trainer to help with impulse barking when doorbell rings ?? We or he did learn some commands but not doorbell control or jumping on people?? He will get excited and whines, cry’s talks, so much more HELP !!! We can’t have anyone over or let me say nobody wants to come over!! He is very protective of myself and Husband which can be good?!! I need help with controlling him when I say it is ok I want him to know the difference between ok and not ok??? Generally confused?!!!


    Minette Reply:

    He should really only bark on command and be quiet on command.


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