Signup for The Your Dog Flash

Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features June 2019 Issue

Leash Rage

What is it about leashes that makes normally docile dogs so reactive?

Leash Rage

Helping your dog get past the aggression she exhibits while attached to you.

“Imagine if we had to greet people by slapping them in the face, or by swearing at them before we said hello. It would get things off on the wrong foot,” says the head of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, Stephanie Borns-Weil, DVM, “and that’s how it is for dogs on leashes. Meeting on leash is not natural for dogs. On their own, they approach each other tentatively, in a wide arc from the side. They evaluate the other dog’s body language and determine whether to come forward or retreat. But on leash they’re forced to come face to face — with other dogs, with people. It’s considered impolite in the canine world to approach too head-on. And for some dogs that are fearful, the head-on greeting may trigger aggression. They can’t get away — they’re tethered to you, after all — so they feel they have no other choice. They need to guard their perimeter. It’s a very common problem that I work with.”

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Tufts Your Dog

Get the next 10 issues of TUFTS YOUR DOG for just $20. And access all of our online content - health and care information, training tips, and nutrition and food advice from the veterinarians and staff at Tufts University

Get Tufts Your Dog Digital

Get 10 months of TUFTS YOUR DOG DIGITAL for just $20. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including each monthly issue as a PDF.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.