Strolling With a Leash Plus Staying: Two Authoritative Commands

by Brad Morgan
What makes good dogs turn aggressive the second you put a leash on them? Having a dog that pulls and lunges at dogs and people presents a danger to others and a roadblock to your training efforts.

However, there are some ways to deal with leash aggression so you can both get some good quality time and exercise outdoors.

Learn to anticipate your dog’s behavior before he acts aggressively. If you see something that will trigger him, divert his attention. Tell him to sit or lie down. This will keep his mind off the trigger until it has passed.

Dogs often become very aggressive when they meet other dogs. If your dog does this, it is important that you not physically react when you see a dog on your route. Your dog can pick up on your body signals and will be much more apt to act up. Stay calm and keep the leash firmly in hand without pulling or tensing.

Muzzles and gentle leader harnesses can be useful training tools for dogs who lunge. Gentle leaders are designed to keep a dog from lunging, and muzzles will prevent biting. If you use them, make sure to train your dog at the same time. Don’t plan on relying on these tools indefinitely.

Some dogs will persist at lunging despite your best efforts. If this is the case with your dog, consult with a professional trainer. You don’t want to let the behavior go unchecked; your dog will become a danger to your neighborhood. as well as to himself.

Many dogs pull and lunge when on a leash. If your dog displays this very natural reaction to being on a leash, it is vital that you take action as soon as possible so it doesn’t become either an irritating habit or a dangerous one.

The stay command is one of the most useful for your dog. While indicative of a well-trained dog, the stay command can also keep your dog safe in different settings. To help facilitate teaching this command, use treats and praise liberally.

First, tell your dog to sit or lie. When he does, put your hand, palm towards the dog, and say, “Stay.” Use a firm voice.

As soon as your dog obeys, say, “Good.” Even if the dog only stays for a brief second, it is a great start. Praising can only help him learn more.

Also teach him the release command so he learns when it is time to get up. “Ok” or “Come” are often used. Again, praise and treats make training easier.

Gradually work on the length of time that your dog sits and stays before you give the release command. Make him work for that treat!

You don’t want to practice for an hour though. Keep your training sessions short and sweet. Make them fun for your dog, provide lots of praise and rewards, and you’ll get results. Five to ten minutes is a great amount of time for each training session, and you can do it several times a day.

Any longer and your dog will feel like he’s in a marathon ? he’ll get tired, cranky, and won’t want to listen. At first, you may have to repeat, “Stay,” often to remind your dog, especially if they’re excited about their treat.

If you keep working, your dog will be able to stay for longer periods. You’ll be impressed when he stays even when you leave the room. Treats will become unnecessary after training, but praise is never obsolete. Let your dog know when he is doing a good job.

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