I Don’t Want To Eat You, Just Meet You… How the leash can affect behavior!
This blog is going to in a general sense cover the increasing number of dogs that are reactive to people, dogs or any other distraction while on leash… In a sense this will be an oversimplification to a very frustrating and in some cases dangerous behavior. But the goal is to get you to look at not only the why I think it is happening but also a possible solution (upcoming blogs in this series) that will have a long-lasting effect on not only your dogs behavior but yours as well….
Freeze, Flight, Fight:
Any instance of anxiety, fear, over stimulation, frustration and even anger leads us to the age-old options we all learned in our Psych 101 class…
- I can Freeze and hope the thing doesn’t see me or goes away
- I can Flight… Try to get away or run from the thing
- I can Fight … In an attempt to scare or intimidate the scary thing away
Now think about how the leash affects these behaviors? In all reality Freeze and Flight are off the table (they won’t work or are pointless if restricted by a leash) So what is the only option…? Hopefully, this might help wrap your brain around Fido’s on leash snarkyness that never seems to manifest off leash…. This is just one option, lets look at a second scenario…
To Excited to Meet You
Your dog is on leash and sees a distraction (person, squirrel, dog, etc….) They get all excited because they want to go see this item… But they are on leash and you the handler won’t let them approach because they are so crazy….
Their excitement then becomes:
- Over stimulation, followed by
- Frustration , that is then followed by
- Anger, and that is the full-blown I want to eat you mode you might be experiencing
And that all occurs in just about 2.5 seconds with some dogs…. Fact is the original emotion was excited to see the distraction and the leash kept them from doing what they wanted….. Now you are thinking “OK so it does make sense, but what now?” Well this is going to be a 3-4 part blog series and we are going to talk about the “How’s and Why’s” as well as things we can do to help get back to a dog that pays attention to the owner vs. consistently scanning for something to “go after”
Lets just start with these possible reasons for why our dogs react negatively when they are on leash and come back next time for “What Should Come After socialization” blog 😉
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