Lunging on a Leash: How to Put Leisure Back in Your Walks

In June we talked about some of the reasons why dogs lunge at others when on a leash.  We thought we’d revisit this topic since it was so popular.  So, if your canine walking buddy has this problem, here are some techniques you can use to restore your walks to peaceful strolls.

  1. Only move toward the other dog when your dog is behaving.  When it comes time to approach another dog, if your dog jumps and lunges, turn around and go back in the opposite direction, away from the other dog.  When your dog settles down, turn and approach the other dog again.  You may need to repeat this multiple times, so choose one of your more patient friends to help you.  This could take a while, so in the beginning you’ll need to set aside time to make this a designated training session.
  2. Use a “sit and watch” technique.  By now, you’ve taught your dog a sit-stay.  As soon as you see another dog approaching, move your dog some distance away and instruct him to sit.  You can praise your dog for sitting.  As soon as the other dog passes, you can go on your way, but do not allow your dog to drag you as if to chase after the other dog.  When your dog can sit and watch another dog go by, you can graduate to having him stand and watch.  Eventually, you’ll be able to have your dog walking as the other dog approaches.  Start a good distance away when your dog first does the “sit and watch” procedure and gradually get closer.

Have you tried either of these techniques with your dog?  How did they work for you?  Share your lunging tips and suggestions in the comments.

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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