While it’s cool and rewarding to have a dog, the fun stops when they exhibit irritating behaviors—and almost all dogs will test your patience—at least, for the time being. One of these annoyances is barking or reacting to anything that moves: be it a neighbor mowing his lawn, a passing car, children playing outside, or the sound of rain tapping on the window.
It’s common for your dog to be reactive while on a leash. It’s mostly because they want to go check on something or run towards another dog, and the leash is restricting him. So, their reactions was brought by their frustration to be free from their restraints, but we often think of it as a sign of aggression.
Although it’s typical for dogs to react that way, this is not ideal, and they should learn how to behave in certain situations.
You should be able to foster good communication between you and your dog, especially when they’re in a heightened state of mind, like being on a leash. Dogs don’t appreciate being restricted, and it’s pretty common with younger dogs, or those who just moved to a new family or household. They feel vulnerable or scared—that’s why they act a bit defensive.
Understand why your dog is behaving that way
Since you know your dog more than others do, you’re the best person to recognize why your dog is acting in such a way. Observe what triggers the reaction by testing them with different stimulus. Do not listen to other people who will advise you to use shock collars or choke chain. Those practices are unethical and barbaric and it will most likely lead to failure.
Distract their attention from what makes them highly reactive
Initially, you can use any form of dog treats, but this should not be done for long term. It’s only a means to get the dog’s attention, so he can focus on the training. However, don’t expect it to work on all dogs. When a piece of turkey meat fails to get their attention, you can think of other ways until it works. It could mean picking them up to calm them down or giving them chew toys.
Create a distance between the dog and the source of distraction
Go as far away as possible from whatever it is that distracts them. Do not stop to pacify them while you’re close to the source of distraction. The goal is to distract the dog before they become reactive rather than reprimanding them when they are already overstimulated.
When you know what makes your dog react excessively, immediately call their attention when they are about to bark at someone, give them a treat every time they listen. This will teach them that not barking or not reacting excessively to a stimulus gets them a reward.
This training should be given in small doses until you don’t need to give them treats when they behave. Replace treats with encouraging words in a pleasant tone of voice, such as “good job” or “good boy”. It takes practice, focus, and patience to succeed in this process. Remember not to overwhelm your dog by training for hours; always keep it short and fun.