Lead aggression? Or protecting us? - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Lead aggression? Or protecting us?

Redd started a new behavior about 6 months ago (he just turned 3). We were sitting outside at a restaurant and he was laying at our feet, seemed to be sleeping. We weren't paying any attention to him as we've done this many times and he is well socialized. Another patron walked past us with their dog and Redd went nuts! Aggressively barking at the dog and lunging on his lead. Of course the whole patio went silent and we got glares for our "bad" dog.

We thought maybe he was just startled. But unfortunately the behavior has continued, only when he is on a leash. We are now very careful on a patio or when we are walking in a busy area and will keep him away from other dogs. If a dog approaches him and we can't avoid it we drop his leash and step back. He doesn't growl or bark and nicely greets the other dog but if we hold the leash, he acts aggressively.

We mountain bike and hike off leash and he doesn't acknowledge other dogs half the time. So this is strictly an on-leash issue. Actually I take that back. He has started to bark furiously at other dogs sometimes as they walk by the house or if he is inside the car. But then he is playful and exhibits normal behavior when he is allowed to approach anther dog on "his terms".

So has he developed leash aggression? Or is he protecting us? I can't figure it out. I don't know how to correct the issue. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 12:28 PM
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Redd started a new behavior about 6 months ago (he just turned 3). We were sitting outside at a restaurant and he was laying at our feet, seemed to be sleeping. We weren't paying any attention to him as we've done this many times and he is well socialized. Another patron walked past us with their dog and Redd went nuts! Aggressively barking at the dog and lunging on his lead. Of course the whole patio went silent and we got glares for our "bad" dog.

We thought maybe he was just startled. But unfortunately the behavior has continued, only when he is on a leash. We are now very careful on a patio or when we are walking in a busy area and will keep him away from other dogs. If a dog approaches him and we can't avoid it we drop his leash and step back. He doesn't growl or bark and nicely greets the other dog but if we hold the leash, he acts aggressively.

We mountain bike and hike off leash and he doesn't acknowledge other dogs half the time. So this is strictly an on-leash issue. Actually I take that back. He has started to bark furiously at other dogs sometimes as they walk by the house or if he is inside the car. But then he is playful and exhibits normal behavior when he is allowed to approach anther dog on "his terms".

So has he developed leash aggression? Or is he protecting us? I can't figure it out. I don't know how to correct the issue. Thoughts?
It could be both (leash aggression and protecting you), really hard to tell without seeing first hand this issue.

You may try the following and this could take a while. Choose a word or words ("Here", "Look" or "Watch me") to get his attention and reward and praise whenever he looks at you and focuses all his attention. Try and practice this several times in different locations (inside your house, backyard, parking lot, etc.) with minimal to no distraction at all. Apply correction (tug on the leash) when he does not comply or may have to use a high value reward/treat.

When you think he's complying with you consistently then start introducing distraction (slowly), perhaps a friend with a dog from a distance or walking past another dog at a distance. Practice getting his attention (again may take several days) while getting the other dog closer to him. The goal is to desensitize him in the presence of other dogs.

I would also suggest to do some activities with your dog to build his confidence. Contact a hunting club local to your area and explore hunting/competition/tests. You can also look into agility.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 01:29 PM
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That is such good advice Riley455. In a dog agility/obedience class years ago "watch me" was the first command that we were told to use. In training our dog, Lincoln, I forgot about using it. I'll be putting it into practice as of now. Thanks for the sound advice.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:01 PM
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That's a neat idea -- I think the "watch me" has the added advantage of the dog being aware of your attitude (i.e. if you exude a cool, calm, collected vibe the V may be more likely to realize his aggression is inappropriate and unnecessary). Interesting!

Nico has gotten more protective this past year when we are inside and he hears a noise or something outside (he has just turned 3) but he mostly just barks a couple times then gets embarrassed about it because we give him a "hush" command (which he seems to know means "your barking is inappropriate"). It's really funny more than any thing so I don't have any further feedback. Good luck!

Nico boy (17/01/2014) & baby Sam (24/11/2016)
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