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On Leash Greetings

Many otherwise social dogs will behave aggressively toward other dogs while on leash with their owners.

Many dogs are less social than your own.

If your dog is straining at the leash as he approaches another dog, the other dog may perceive your dog’s body language as confrontational or intimidating, and vice versa.

A tight leash may telegraph stress to your dog, and cause him to be more on guard.

Safe and successful introductions between adult dogs are most likely when the following conditions are met:

a.  Both dogs are regularly socialized and have no history of aggression

b.  Both owners have voice control (at minimum) over their dogs in stimulating situations (i.e. there is a balance between stimulation and control)

c.  Both owners know their dogs well and are able to read canine signals

d.  Both dogs are able to approach on slack leashes with relaxed body language

e.  Both owners are relaxed and confident

f.   Owners have good communication with one another

g.  Neither dog is wearing any training equipment that might cause unintended corrections or inhibit natural body language

h.  Neither dog is on a taught leash or a retractable leash

i.   Both dogs have the freedom to walk away

j.   Owners have good communication with one another

Allowing unwelcome or uncontrolled introductions may undermine your leadership with your dog, who may trust your judgment less after being subjected to an introduction that goes badly.

If you are not certain your dog (or the other dog) is adequately prepared for a successful greeting, try walking in parallel with the other dog and owner at a safe distance, to see if both dogs relax a bit, to give them each an opportunity to take in the other dog’s body language, and to gauge your control over your dog (and the other owner’s control over his) in each other’s presence.

Holding the leash can cause the following issues:
– inhibits body language of the dog
– feed off of human emotions because of tension in the leash
– resource guarding of owner
– fearful dogs can’t escape
– frustrates playful dogs who may redirect on owner
– leashes tangle causing potential injury dogs/humans

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