growling on leash - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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growling on leash

hey everyone, i'm going through something very upsetting with my viszla, bode, and i dont know what to do. this started about a month ago...he is 15 months, so lets say this behavior didnt happen for his first 14 months. when he is on leash, and only then he starts to aggressively growl and bark at other dogs his size. he does not do it to little dogs or dogs he knows. it's very embarrassing because he's really strong and i actually have trouble holding him back and pulling him away. i refuse to be the person who says 'my dog's not friendly'. we go to the park every day and he hikes and plays off leash for over an hour. this never happens at the park when he's off leash. he has to be on leash when i take him out where i live. any suggestions?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 08:10 PM
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If he's doing it exclusively on lead, then it sounds like he's being protective of you. Once, someone mentioned as a "btw" that they were also pregnant (which explained it!), so I'll ask you if anything has changed (not necessarily related to your fecundity!). They are very sensitive to you and your needs, and if something has changed, expect your V to recognize it and react to it. If not, then you need to reassert your authority here, he somehow believes you are in need of protection...by keeping a tight lead, telling him "NO!" when he exhibits this, stand still with him until you reassert your position in the pack, and reinforce him settling down with a "Good calm, good boy!", and then proceed.

In spite of the so called "Fear period", which I never encountered btw...you'd need to still address this now so it doesn't flourish into a full blown case of fear or aggression growling.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 11:05 PM
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Another possibility is that he has fear and being on the leash, he does not have the "flight" option & is only left with "fight". Being on the leash he is more vulnerable.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 07:21 AM
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My 22-month male V went through a similar "fear" and/or "protective" period around the same time. He comes to work with me every day and when people would entire my office that he didn't quickly recognize he would lunge at them with aggression. Obviously very unwanted behavior.

This took some time, but I nipped in the bud over a month or so period. I gave him firm and loud NO's and would move him firmly with my leg, NOT hitting him but simply moving him to show that it's unwanted behavior and I'm not going to accept it. I was taught this moving trick during our 9-month group training sessions during his first year.

Another trick I was trained to do by a professional, especially on lead, is to get him behind you even it if it's just off to your side and slightly behind. This shows him that you're in command and you're protecting him. Again, it takes time but you have to take every moment like this as a training session. You have to be VERY consistent.

And never be afraid to tell other dog owners, during interactions, that you and your dog are going through a "period" and he's not friendly right now. They'll understand and actually appreciate your instructions.

It took a ton of time and patience, but now my male V is well adjusted in my office. People can knock without him barking, come in unannounced, etc. I still take every single event as a learning moment and still give him firm NO's went he even exhibits the least amount of fear and/or aggression. Consistency is critically important IMHO.

If this continues and you get completely frustrated, maybe a private lesson or two from a trained professional at the dog parks/walkers is in order. I did over 10-session from 8-14 months old at my place of work to get our V well adjusted to his day-to-day activities. It was a tad pricey but invaluable. You have to nip this in the bud now!

On a side note, I've noticed that our V is much easier to handle on a harness than walking him on the collar. Their necks are incredibly strong. With the harness his much easier to control fwiw.

HTH
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, you guys. i will keep working at it....i did want to say that he does it with my husband too
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-26-2019, 06:47 PM
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Barking, snarling, acting up on a leash at large dogs and not doing it off leash or small dogs when on a leash seem to indicate that he's afraid when confined and his acting up is mostly defensive. My current male had the same behavior. What I did was putting him on a 25 ft. rope/leash when we were in open fields with dogs he was friendly with but away from his friends to start with. The moment his friends approached, I released him. Did that several times until I kept him on the leash. Guess what.......?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ilovebjk6 View Post
thanks, you guys. i will keep working at it....i did want to say that he does it with my husband too
Hi ilovebjk6,

I’m sorry to hear of your problem but know you’re not alone. My wife and I have / are experienced the same problem with our 4 year old male V (neutered). It started around a year ago with occasional growling towards other dogs while on-leash and then became more frequent. When we could let him off-leash, he’s perfectly fine with other dogs. We were at a total loss of why he started behaving like this. We took him to obedience since he was a pup, literally took him everywhere (malls, outdoor dining, parks, hotels, etc) to socialize him while young. We were confused and frustrated. After research on the net, we saw “leash reactivity” as a common behavioral issue afflicting many dogs.

To remedy the issue, we’ve been working with a personal dog behaviorist the past several months on counter conditioning training techniques. While not 100% cured, he is getting better when leashed and seeing another passing dog on the other side of the street. I suggest doing research on leash reactivity, hiring a good dog behaviorist, and be patient. And stock up on lots of treats!

Good luck!
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