Help in dealing with on-leash aggression


New Member
I have a blue heeler 2.5 yr old male adopted last year. Gets highly aroused/anxious on-leash when walking. My dog and I have gone to training to address this issue but frankly Im still frustrated with the lack of progress we are making. He lunges at other dogs while on leash and becomes very agressive even with a dog across the street or behind a fence a block away. Its hard to train him when unexpected dogs pop up on a walk and he goes crazy. He does fine off leash but, boy, its a whole other issue on-leash. It really limits my ability to take him places when i cant trust his behavior on-leash. I have used the clicker training method to reward good behavior when we get somewhat near a dog but im just not making any progress. Im sure its his behavior is insecurity turned to agression. HELP. I dont know how we can ever bond on walks if he is always looking for trouble.



Experienced Member
My first question on these cases is always the same. Ignore the dog for a second - what do YOU do when you see a dog approaching? For many people, it becomes so ritualistic that they can't help but tense up when they see another dog on the horizon. They get embarrassed, their entire face reddens, they pull the leash in readiness, their entire back tightens as does their leash holding hand, their voice changes, and their entire body becomes much warmer because of the potential stress.

The dog, being far more sensitive to subtle changes than we ever will be, detects these things and wonders what is going wrong. Then he sees what he feels must be the problem - another dog. It must be that because it happens whenever he sees one - his leash tightens, your voice changes, and so forth.

The first thing you need to learn to do, if you are not already, is relax - completely. If you make an issue of something, you can bet your life that your dog will, and the reverse is invariably true. I know it's hard to do but you have to try and act as though you don't even see that other approaching dog. Cross the road the second you see it if you need to. Anything that will help to keep you calm.

As for why it's on-leash and not off-leash, this could be an indicator that your dog is actually fearful of the other dogs. When it is off-leash it can behave more reasonably because it has more options available to it - such as running away. Even if it never runs away, it does know that it has the option to, and that can make a huge difference as it reduces the stress to the dog. On leash, it has no choice but to act mean and tough in order to try to scare the other dog first, thus hiding its own fear.

I do feel for you because as you've rightly identified, even with the best will in the world, you can't control other dogs on your walks, and that is what makes this behaviour such a tough nut to crack, and one that can take such a long time.

Your best hope is to try and get some degree of controlled exposure to other dogs. Do you have a local shelter? If so, you might try asking them if you can walk your dog around one day a week or something like that to help get your dog acclimatised to the sounds of other dogs barking, which they invariably do plenty of in shelters. Or if there is a training class that specialises in dog aggression that would be better still. Our local training centre does such a class and it's very controlled so that the dogs learn to accept other dogs at their own pace.

I seem to remember that there is at least one other regular member here who has a similar problem to yours and so they may be able to offer more practical advice that you can try.


New Member
Yep... I know the problem well. My dog was also adopted (the black one in the pic), after spending 6 months in a shelter. Seems pretty common with rescued or adopted dogs, so you aren't alone.

First off, CollieMan is right. You've got to learn to try to keep a loose leash and relax. If you tense up when you catch sight of another dog, your own dog is going to think "Hey! If the Big Boss is getting all upset, then obviously there's something out there that I should be getting upset about, too!" And off we go with the big "song and dance act".

For now, just avoid the whole thing. As soon as you spot another dog, change direction and get away. No running, nothing stressful, just an easy move away. You can practice abrupt changes in direction when doing "heel" training. And if you keep changing direction at odd times even if there aren't any other dogs around, then your dog won't learn to associate the change as an alert signal but will just think the crazy boss is changing his mind again <grin>

Then I suggest you get a copy of Patricia McConnell's book FEISTY FIDO: HELP FOR THE LEASH AGGRESSIVE DOG. It will help you understand what's going on with your dog, and give some tips and tricks on how to deal with it.

Another book I highly recommend is Ali Brown's SCAREDY DOG! UNDERSTANDING AND REHABILITATING YOUR REACTIVE DOG. Even though you don't say whether your dog reacts to other stuff or just dogs while on leash, Ali gives some really good info and training exercises that have helped me a lot.

Ask around if there are any reactive dog classes in your area, also sometimes called growly classes. Your dog probably can't handle a "normal" dog training class very well, and needs specialized help. But know that not all training and trainers are equal. Various dogs react better or worse to the same training methods, so you might have to try out a few different approaches to find out what works best for your dog.

Whatever you do, DO NOT provoke and then do leash corrections/jerks! That is guarranteed to simply make your dog worse and react more aggressively. I know because silly me followed the advice of a highly respected and very experienced dog trainer for three months, until my dog ended up biting someone. That was my wake-up call to stop all forms of punishment and switch to only positive reward-based training. Since then we've finally started making progress, but it is very slow.

Good Luck, and don't give up! As long as your dog isn't being aggressive to you or other family members, then there's lots of hope for a happy future. It will just take quite a bit of work, patience, learning, and training. You'll both end up better in the end. :dogsmile:


Experienced Member
In fairness, I don't think Bipa is saying the entire notion is wrong. She is saying that it is wrong for her dog, and that is the important thing. If there were blanket solutions that worked for all, then this particular part of the forum wouldn't be needed in the first place. :)

I think it important to remember that, where possible, DTA (Dog Trick Academy) is about promoting positive methods of living with, training, and working with your dog, first and foremost. Don't take it from that, that I am saying the method you suggest is cruel, I don't believe that it is. I do believe however, that if you can use other less stressful methods first, then surely it's better for all that you do?

Barring downright cruelty, all methods are good, for the right dog! :)


New Member
tx_cowgirl;1343 said:
Bipa, if the leash corrections/"jerks" did not work for you then something went wrong.
Not all methods work for all dogs. What went wrong is that it was the wrong training for the wrong dog.

And if that trainer encouraged you to intentionally provoke your dog, then he/she was not a good trainer anyway. I definitely agree that provoking the dog is not a good thing to do. I do not suggest intentionally provoking the behavior, then correcting it. I suggest correcting it when the event arises.
Might work, or might simply escalate the problem. Without knowing the dog's background and medical history, I would hesitate to immediately jump into using leash corrections and other forms of punishment-based training. First have the dog checked out with a vet to rule out any illness, injury, or even thyroid imbalance. Then I'd recommend getting an expert opinion from a good dog trainer, preferably a member of the APDT.

This does work, it's just a tricky thing to master.
Yes, it is tricky, and not something for a beginner to try without having expert help during the initial stages of learning.

It is NOT guaranteed to make the dog worse.
It is also not guaranteed to make the dog better. Different dogs react to different training methods in different ways. You have to find the best approach for your own dog.

It can help if done correctly. Forgive me, but I know it works.
Nope, even if done correctly it won't always work. Forgive me, but I know it DOESN'T always work. Sometimes - yes, always - no.

This method is very complex, and can easily be misused. It will work if done correctly.
Again, you are making a broad generalization that isn't correct. Not every method will work for every dog. For example, in their best-selling book How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend, The Monks of New Skene ask the question: "How hard should you hit your dog?" Their answer? "If she doesn't yelp in pain, you haven't hit her hard enough." And many people are following their training plan right now, with good results.

And avoiding the situation entirely solves nothing!
Where did you get the idea that I was advocating avoidance as the solution? Read my post again. I started that sentence with two very important words: "For now..." Before deciding on a training regime, you should first have a good idea of what you're dealing with. Get professional advice, read, check in with your vet, and THEN start behaviour modification. Meanwhile, try not to unduly stress out your dog.

First of all, it can be hard to find a place to walk your dog away from other dogs unless you live in the country.
Are there really all that many people walking their dogs at 4am? That's just one example of how you can ensure having at least one peaceful walk. Learn which routes are less likely to have loose dogs around. If necessary, drive to a larger park or go to an industrial area where there is less likelihood of other dog walkers.

Don't be close-minded to methods that you've seen failure in.
Don't be close-minded to the dangers and possible negative side effects of methods that you've used successfully. Someone else's dog may react completely the opposite way.

Just because it failed to help one dog doesn't mean that it won't help any dogs.
Just because it did help one dog doesn't mean that it will also succeed with all other dogs.

There are many factors at play. For one, the dog. The handler. The environment. There are so many variables that effect these methods.

Don't immediately assume that it is a bad method to use.
Don't immediately assume that it is a good method to use, either.

By the way, your description of Alpha Dominance has been disproven completely over the years. For more info, see studies done by Dr. Frank Beach and Dr. L. David Mech. Much of their work is freely available for online reading. You might also find interesting an article called The History and Misconceptions of Dominance Theory.


Honored Member
Staff member
Well good I think we've misunderstood each other. ^^ I completely agree that different methods vary with different dogs. I have found success in this method, but of course most trainers do not follow another's method completely...all trainers add their own twist on methods at some time or another. I have not seen the articles about alpha dominance yet, until now. Until today that's what I had learned. You mentioned that the trainer you used actually provoked the dog. I do not like this...when the dog's handler is provoking the dog, and then immediately correcting the dog, he will easily become confused. I see how that will definitely not work, and it is asking for an accident. I do not like to provoke the dog...if the situation comes up, then I correct the dog---firmly, but not so much as to cause pain. I do not in any way support causing the animal pain as a means of punishment. Punishment, in my opinion, is not the answer for anything. Opening the dog's eyes to a much less stressful life by simply helping him/her to understand that they do not have to behave aggressively can often be much better than punishing the dog for a misbehavior. Of course, no two dogs are exactly alike. All dogs learn in different ways, and take training methods differently. I absolutely agree that the least stressful methods of training are the best solution to try first. I have had success with this method, and you have not. I'm sure there are people all over the place that have been on both ends of the spectrum. Really, it comes down to just understanding your dog and his needs. And many times, it is simply a matter of trial-and-error. I definitely agree that these things vary from dog to dog. Anyway, I do apologize for the misunderstanding. =)


New Member
I tend to agree with Bipa regarding methods to deal with aggression, I'm not having a go at you though Tx_Cowgirl, if you have had success with the methods you describe no one can argue with that. :)

I also recommend the books that Bipa suggested, I have those and found them very helpful. This approach is the "slowly, slowly" approach, meaning gradually reprogramming the dog's brain to feel less and less threatened by whatever triggers his aggressive display. Such over-writing of the dog's emotional responses is a slow and tedious process and gradual process, and avoiding situations that will setback this process is necessary. thus it may not give as quickly-noticeable results as "correcting" the dog as you describe, but there are other benefits.

In any case, many dogs display aggression on leash but not off leash, and I think whatever method is used, it's best to get one-on-one help from a professional.


Honored Member
Staff member
In the last few days I have read many posts about the methods you and Bipa describe, l_l_a. I have yet to find much on this, other than Bipa's links. Where else can I find information on this? I have had success with Cesar's methods, but I am always open to learning new things. I seek the most natural methods possible with both horses and dogs, and Cesar's is based largely on natural dog psychology. I haven't really heard much about what you two are describing, but it certainly peeks my interest, and I would like to know more.


New Member
hi Tx-Cowgirl

If you're interested to learn more about the methods Bipa and I are referring to, here are some introductory links. The general process is called "Desensitization and Classical Counter-Counditioning."

Desensitization means getting the dog used to the stimulus (for example being around other dogs or people) so that it doesn't bother him anymore and it becomes ho-hum to him. Desensitization can wear off over time if the dog stops getting exposed to the stimulus though.

Counter-Conditioning means actively re-programming the dog's brain to replace his emotional reaction to the stimulus from one that was negative, to one that is positive.

However, these links are only an overview, more information on how to actually proceed if you have an aggressive dog is in the books Bipa listed. Some additional books on the subject are:
"Cautious canine" by Patricia McConnell (which is actually a booklet but is chock full of step-by-step instruction and explanations)
"Dogs are from Neptune" by Jean Donaldson
"Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons

A good place to get these books is

In these books they often refer to dogs as being "reactive", in addition to using the word "aggressive'. This is because a dog that is not snarling or growling but is barking his head off and lunging on leash, may not be considered 'agressive' by some, but this display is often just a few steps away from the snarling and baring teeth.

Also, a lot of aggression stems from fear. Yes there are different types of aggression like territorial aggression and predatory aggression like you have mentioned, but a lot of aggression is actually fear-based. So if a dog is displaying mild fear of mild anxiety about something, for example being around strangers, this is also something that MAY (not to say it always does) lead to aggression later on if not treated. So this approach treats aggression as being similar to treating fear and anxiety. In either case, this approach treats the dog's aggressive behavior as an outward symptom of a negative underlying emotional state and seeks to change that underlying emotional state. So it's not so much about "correcting" the dog for inappropriate behavior or telling him that lunging and snarling is not acceptable and thus to stop doing it, instead this approach tries to change how the dog feels about the trigger and to not feel negatively toward it anymore. If the emotional reaction is changed, if the dog no longer feels bothered by other dogs or other people, then the aggressive display goes away by itself.

It is a long and tedious process though, so it doesn't give quick results and thus I can understand why people would choose to use other methods, or else would get discouraged and declare that these methods "don't work." the truth is they do work, but very slowly and gradually, and can also be very demanding on the owner.

Also, I think it's important to mention that, as these books do say, not all dogs can be "completely cured" of aggression, regardless of what methods are used. It is simply too highly individual to each dog and situation. And especially if the aggressive traits are inherited and are part of the dog's genetic makeup (like in my dog's case). But even if a dog cannot be fully "cured', these methods can make a huge and noticeable and practical improvement. But at the same time, IME, from talking to many other "dog-people" about aggression issues, I know a lot of people don't realize that aggression can't always be fully "cured" or else don't accept that fact, and this may also lead them to declare that these methods don't work....

Also, here is a short video clip demonstrating part of this Desensitization and counterconditioning process. In this video, we never see the dog acting out aggressively (so one may be tempted to doubt if this dog is indeed aggressive), because a big part of the process is to always keep the dog below his threshold. So it may not seem impressive to watch, but at the beginning of this video, the dog's owner is interviewed and she says that the dog really was so afraid of being handled that he was biting the groomer, which is classic fear-aggressive behavior. The actual video shows a trainer desensitizing the dog to having his nails trimmed. At the end of the video, the dog is totally comfortable with having his nails trimmed and does not attempt to bite or snap.


New Member
tx_cowgirl;1372 said:
Well good I think we've misunderstood each other..... Anyway, I do apologize for the misunderstanding. =)
I not only accept, but also apologise back in turn for being a little too gruff in my answer. Sometimes I can be a real grumpy ole' ...err.... yeah... female dog :dogrolleyes:

I love your attitude and desire to learn more. Keep it up!
I've started a thread in the training area with recommended web sites for online reading. I think you'll find a few of the articles there interesting.



Honored Member
Staff member
Thank you both for the assistance; it is greatly appreciated. ^^ Well of course Bipa. If you didn't stand up for what you believe in, then you don't really support it enough to defend it. =) I understand. And apology accepted. :doghappy:
Yeah, my Border Collie/Blue Heeler Zeke came to me extremely timid as a pup and scared to death that even the tiniest of strange dogs was just going to eat him alive, and even with careful socialization he did develop some fear aggression. He's doing wonderful now. ^^
Unluckily for him, he's um...."losing his manhood" a couple weeks from now. :dogohmy: He doesn't need any extra testosterone floating around... Lol. Anyway, thank you both very much for your generosity and assistance. :dogbiggrin:


New Member
Jean recently put up a lesson called In her book, Patricia McConnell uses the command "Watch" for the same thing.

This is one of the most important tools you need when working with a dog that lunges and barks at other dogs when on leash. The end result we want is a dog that will focus his attention on the owner whenever another dog comes along. Instead of barking and lunging and acting all frantic, the dog will stay calm and ignore the other dog. Sound too good to be true? No, it just takes lots of practice and patience.

First start off training at home without any distractions at all. At the very beginning, you'll be rewarding your dog for any glance at your face, no matter how short. Don't worry if the dog seems to be focusing more on the treat that you're holding up to your face rather than your face itself. With time and practice he'll learn to glance into your eyes. This can be really difficult for some dogs. But with repetition and lots of rewards and praise, your dog will soon realise that focusing on your face and looking you in the eye is a good thing that brings yummie treats.

Gradually increase the length of time that the dog can look in your face at one go. To start, you may want to do 7-10 repetitions at a time, then break and play and take it easy before doing another session. Less is more with this exercise, since you don't want to stress out your dog.

Gradually.... very gradually... increase the distractions. Go out into the back yard during a quiet time of the day when there is nothing else around. Keep training in quiet places until the dog is comfortably focusing on your face when you give the command - either Look at Me or Watch... whichever you prefer. And don't get discouraged if a squirrel runs by and you can't get your dog to focus on you - squirrels are a really advanced level of distraction! Don't repeat the command when you know for sure that the dog won't or can't respond. That goes for anything you're training since you don't want him to learn to ignore you. Instead, just stop the training and have some play time. You can always do another training session later.

When you are walking your dog and you see another dog way far out in the distance, check and see if your dog has spotted it yet. Hopefully your dog isn't all wound up yet and will respond if you stop and ask for a "look at me". When the dog is focused on you and the treat he's about to get, then he can't focus on the strange dog. A key idea is to never go past your dog's comfort zone and try to keep him from reacting. No need for yanking and punishment if the dog doesn't even get to the point of misbehaving. Gradually the dog's reactive radius will start to decrease, until finally his barking and lunging will be a thing of the past. And it is as simple as that. You're going to distract your dog whenever a strange dog comes around. Your dog will learn that the sight of a strange dog brings good things. Then you'll just turn around and get away from the other dog so as not to get too close for your dog's comfort. Eventually you'll be able to walk right by the strange dog with your own dog focusing on you and staying calm, but that will take a lot of time and practice.

Our ultimate goal is to get our dog to associate seeing strange dogs with "look at me" and treats. The dog will start to offer the behaviour, which we definitely will be encouraging with praise and occasional jackpots (lots of treats all at once, more than usual). Owners of reactive dogs should never go out for a walk without pockets bulging with high quality treats. If you aren't certain about what I mean, then here's a short article that might help, called Lessons Learned by a Newbie.

Also, I highly recommend that anyone with a leash-reactive dog read the article called Desensitizing Dogs to Other Dogs. The article gives lots of tips on how to work with your dog once you're ready to get out and try "normal" walking again.

Cheers and Good Luck!


Honored Member
Staff member
That's all very good and helpful Bipa. Thank you for posting it!
I personally like to use the command "Pay attention." Not sure why, that's just what I've always used for as long as I can remember... :doghuh: Anywho, any of these commands are good to use.


Well-Known Member
Hi guys,

I'd like to tell you about my 8 months old sheltie and I'm curious about what you think, because I have to say I'm a bit confused and I'm not sure what would be the best approach for him. He's loveable dog, doing all I ask him, loving people, children, dogs, but... it's alright when he's off-leash. Once he's on the leash, he's going crazy - well, not always. When I let him go to the dog, he's all friendly and wags his tail and bows like he wants to play. BUT once I pull the leash towards me and don't want him to go and meet dogs face to face, he seems to be mad, because leash won't let him go where he wants and starts growling.... Sometimes when dog goes away, the growling transfers into squealing. I've read that some dogs can be frustrated on the leash, because they can't get to other dogs and therefore they growl. Just few days ago, thinking about this issue, I remembered that when he was a pup, he saw another dog and went crazy on the leash, jumping, twitching, wanting to run to that dog. It happened only few times and I thought it's nothing worth worrying... Do you think it could have some connection? Because I remember even breeder telling us that he wasn't doing too well while walking on the leash. Tho, when we got home he seemed to be quite ok, except those few moments. So that's my first theory.
The second thing is that sadly he was attacked by german shepherd when he was about 5 months old. GS was behind the fence one second and another running straight to us :dogwacko: It everything happened so fast and we didn't know that there was a hole in the fence or something. Anyways, dog didn't bite our pup, but he ran after him for awhile and Ajsí seemed little shocked.Tho, I think I was doing worse than my puppy. So my second possible theory is that he's scared, feeling trapped on the leash and wants to be free and have an option to run. Tho, he usually hurries and pulls me to other dogs and if I let him meet them, he's ok. BUT yep, sometimes I'd say that he growls out of fear... And maybe it's mix of both of those. I'm so sorry he feels like growling. When off- leash he's such a happy, friendly dog. Maybe trying to be a bit dominant, sometimes jumping on other dog's back, but I think it's quite common at this age. Usually he's rather submisive.

so now I'd welcome any opinion or advice. I've read this and similar threads on this topic, but still I can't make it work...

Also, I highly recommend that anyone with a leash-reactive dog read the article called Desensitizing Dogs to Other Dogs. The article gives lots of tips on how to work with your dog once you're ready to get out and try "normal" walking again.
I've read also this article and yep, it sounds so easy, but nope.... Once my dog spots another dog, he's not listening, paying attention etc. He's too occupied by watching dog. I've read I should make him look at my face, I should be yawning and stuff, but it seems unreal with my pup. :dogsad: I know we should start from the distance at which he's able to look at me, but sometimes I really don't plan that and dogs walk right into us. In that case, it's following scenario - I'm nervous (yea, i know it's my fault,too), hold leash tight, puppy is pulling towards another dog. If owner seems like he's not interested in letting our dogs sniff, i hold pup and once dog's passing us, he growls... So now I really don't know what to do or think.
Thanks for reading this&for any opinion, advice, reply. &sorry for my sucky english :dogsmile:


Well-Known Member
Hi there.
Oh I know I haven't replied, but somehow I totally forgot that I even posted in this thread since RL was so busy last few months. During those months it was once up and then down. There were days when I guess we were lucky and he wouldn't growl or snarl at another dog on leash, but then there were days when he was being very nervous.I loved Calming signals and thought it could help us, but he really doesn't care much if I'm yawning, so it was rather pointless. Also watch me clue was not that important, because we rather focused on heel command and he's supposed to watch me while being in heel position, so ....
Last few days have been fantastic, no growling or pulling towards other dogs. I decided to follow your advice to teach him walk on the leash properly. I mean like really no pulling at all. When he gets too far and pulls, I say "ow" or something and he goes right back to me, I click&treat. He got this really quickly and now if he gets too far away he's automatically coming back to me instead of pulling. Also I realized that he might have understood that the leash=a trap, because I'm ashamed to admit, I realized I used to put him on the leash usually when I glanced another dog. So in order to make whole leash thing more comfortable for him and more ... natural, I'd say, ... I put him on the leash every now and then during the walk. At first few tries, I could see he was really lookin' ahead, searching for some dog/human/anything dangerous when he was being put on the leash. Now he's way more relaxed and doesn't seem to bother anymore. Still, we've just started this, but he's making great progress w/ pulling and meeting other dogs on leash. Just today we walked on the narrow sidewalk, big ridgeback right in front of us, but there was no place to go (unless I would go back, but I needed to meet my friend, so...), so I told him to heel and he was so great. He walked around him -there was like 1m between us- like it was totally alright, watching me and yea, I of course C&T like crazy. Also, the other day, we've met one scary pair - pitbull pulling behind him little girl/young woman. She totally didn't have any control over her dog, so I told puppy to heel and he was awesome. Again looked at me whole time and I was so proud of my little boy.
Today, we've walked around few other dogs w/o any problems, I just mentioned two cases when I really was worried, because after being attacked by german shepherd, I think he's scared more of those big dogs. Anyways, I'll keep you updated, but it seems I found the way how to make it work.


Honored Member
Ha, i made this same mistake, i was leashing Buddy *only* for oncoming creatures...and i too, noticed Buddy glancing around, like, "Where IS this creature? that i am getting leashed up?"
so i too, now leash him randomly, just to help unplug that notion, that leashing is only for creatures.
I'm surprised the yawn is not helping your dog, wow, my dog totally gets it! I do fake it til i make it, causing my self to actually truly yawn. For added noticiability, i make a yawning noise, too.

I also make him stop, sit, and look at me, prior to yawn. I doubt my yawing while he is walking along would help Buddy much, but, when i make him watch me yawn, he often YAWNS BACK AT ME!! I also use slow blinks, too. He always slowly blinks right back at me.

doesn't work 100% of time, maybe 50% to 70% effective. But, compared to evvvvvvvvvverything else i've ever tried for over 2 years, this yawn thing is like gold to me.

For wht it's worth, as far as turning around and heading opposite direction----my Buddy has made it very clear, he doesn't mind to FOLLOW enemydog down the street, (i actually do this regularly, if we spot a dog that Buddy reacts to, i tend to follow that dog about a block behind, so Buddy can observe it, smell it's peemails, etc) but NO WAY does Buddy like to be the one in front, nope.
so if i DO turn around, and Buddy is now in front of enemy dog, i try to turn off soon as i can, cuz Buddy feels stressed about enemy dog being behind him.


Well-Known Member

I also make him stop, sit, and look at me, prior to yawn. I doubt my yawing while he is walking along would help Buddy much, but, when i make him watch me yawn, he often YAWNS BACK AT ME!! I also use slow blinks, too. He always slowly blinks right back at me.
LOL. I think that was the problem. I didn't make him sit or watch me and when he watches me during heel as he is a little dog, it seems he's not looking straigtly at my face. I suspect him that he's rather keeping an eye on my pocket full of treats
But I'll add yawn thing to our list of things, I can do to make him feel more comfortable. Though, at this point he's able to walk around the dog, so I usually walk, instead of stopping him. (well, few days ago I told him to sit in the heel position, because it felt more safe because road in the forest was really narrow and woman walking towards us had some mix of stafordshire bulterier, so I thought it'd be better). But I guess, I'll try it out somewhere in peace and will see how he reacts to that. Generally I really liked DVD Calming signals and I believe it's helpful. It just wasn't the main thing. I think for my pup it's important to understand that leah isn't there to trap him or anything.. Especially because he's high-energy dog, maybe sometimes he might feel trapped when hitting the end of the leash. But yep, we're working on that. And thanks for yawn thingie. I'll try it out again.

I also noticed that my pup isn't comfortable w/ other dogs walking close behind him. He keeps turning at them when we walk. Though, it's not very often, but I've noticed that,too. It's a very interesting idea to follow "enemy" dog around so dog can see he's nothing horrible. Just one question - you pass that dog first, then turn around and follow him? I mean, if he's walking towards you.


Honored Member
Yes, if i 'have to' pass the dog,EDIT---
Yes, if i 'have to' pass a dog that Buddy is obviously reacting to---- i do and will. Sometimes i have no options.
(otherwise, it sounds like i never pass any dogs unless i 'have to'....

then i do loop around and walk along BEHIND enemydog, at a distance both dogs seem comfy with.

Whenever i can, if i see oncoming dog, i do make Buddy stop, sit, look at me, (not my pocket, me) and i yawn, big noisy-ish yawn.......and SLOWLY BLINK,:dogwub: too. Then we pass by enemydog, i almost always find something to say to the other human, in a calm happy voice, "What a cute dog, how old is your dog?" so Buddy can hear *i* am not afraid.

(not sure that helps, but, it certainly doesn't hurt).

If Buddy reacts, i tend to body block him, putting myself between him and enemydog, again, look at me, yawn, slow blink, and then i squat down next to him, and give him a party in his mouth, if he can watch enemydog go by without further barking...someitmes i am speed treating to prevent a bark, which might not be right thing to do, not sure.
treattreattreattreattreattreattreat, like no chance to brk, really, he is being speed fed treats while looking at monsterdog. doing it this way, with some tension still palpable in buddy======= is not my goal, but, i've done it now and then, when i can not escape, not get him calm.

My goal is to get him CALM and treat that. BUT I can not always get Buddy calm. Sometimes, yes, yes i do!!! But, nope, not all the time. That is when i speed treat, massage slowly, til enemy dog has gone by...but, sometimes that is the only option i have. I loathe to allow Buddy spend any time barking away at enemydogs.

also while massaging his back, telling him a slow calm voice, still yawning now and then, telling him how he does not have to worry about that dog, is all good. Treating for looking AT the dog,
Ideally treating while *CALMLY* looking at enemy dog.

against common sense, when i make Buddy lie down
, for him, this helps *him* tolerate enemy dog going by from across the street, when we have no other option, but to speed-treat and wait it out. Wouldn't you think asking Bud to lie down (across the street) would be 'ASKING TOO MUCH'???:oops: Ha, go figure, for MY dog, this helps him, he sometimes even gets himself calm, watching enemydog go by, when i tell him lie down. This might not help another dog, but, it helps my dog. Go figure.

I keep my hands free, always hooking his leash to my belt. I use extenda leash, so i can have him up close on short leash, or 16 feet away, and both my hands are free. If he is offleash, at some other portion of our walk, i unhook leash from his collar.

I actually enjoy working on this with Buddy, more and more each time. I try hard not to let setbacks get me as bad as they used to, i try hard not to let everyone's claims if the dog was just handled properly, he'd be "fine" get to me anymore.
LIke Tx and me were recently discussing, we humans are always learning to be able to reach out to our dogs, to teach our dogs, to understand our dogs, WE have to keep learning things.

Maybe someday, Buddy will advance along to get comfy being dog in front, but that time is not yet.

ONce, or twice, i've told the ppl i am following---if they seemed aware we are back there---- i am working to get my dog used to other dogs from back here, so i did not come off as a stalker, etc, ha ha. They understood and didn't mind.

also, anytime Buddy reacts, full blown reaction:dogmad:, i mean, he will also react to ANY dog he sees for next 20 minutes, no exceptions, even his beloved pal will get hollered out, if he sees his best pal in next 20 somewhere this is cuz his adrenaline is still coursing through and making him still feel freaky.


Honored Member
But yeah, leashes interfere with dogs natural communications skills, Buddy too, was most obviously MORE likely to react HARDER on leash, way back when. Now, i am not certain the leash is as much of a barrier/issue to him as it once was.

mess up Buddy's ability to not react negatively to a dog, as do doorways,

I NEVER EVER ALLOW Buddy to meet a dog in a doorway, be it a house doorway, a room doorway, a fencing gate, ANY form of a doorway just ruin it for Buddy....(for now anyway, maybe someday, we'll get to that one, too) ANY dog he meets in doorways become enemies.
SAme dog in a field, who knows, Buddy might like him.

(surprising how often that tends to almost happen, the door way thing..)

small narrow hallways, and any of his beloved toys being around where enemy dog can get the toys, causes add'l problem for my lil messed up dog.

guess eveyr dog has their own triggers. Doorways are huge to buddy, but, as i type this up, i am becoming aware, i do think the leash thing is much less for Buddy NOW...hadn't realized it til this minute....