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?