Since that article ran in June, three dogs who have graduated from my Growly Dog class have been attacked by off-leash dogs. My clients work hard to calm their dog’s anxiety when they see other dogs (which often stems from being attacked the very first time by a rude, off-leash dog!). We help these over-anxious dogs learn to trust their handler, and we rebuild their faith that they can walk safely in their own neighborhood. We make significant progress in keeping these dogs calm and focused on their owners instead of hyper-vigilantly scanning for dangers . . . such as an off-leash dog. In some of these cases, the unleashed dog owner was held responsible and now must pay fines in addition to medical bills; one of my clients ended up having an $8,000 hand surgery after breaking up a dog fight. I have enough stories like that to fill up a very long, pathetic book.
Leash walking outside may be more frustrating because there are numerous distractions for you to compete with for your puppy’s attention. Understand, from his point of view, how much more difficult this task has now become, and whatever you do, don’t lose your patience; don’t drag him or allow him to drag you! Walk slowly and click and treat if he stays at your side. If he begins to pull, stop or change your direction, then click and treat when he reaches your side again!
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As the unleashed dog comes at you, push the button and unleash the umbrella. We aren’t trying to hurt the dog – we are trying to but a barrier between your leashed dog and the outlaw dog. Be aware that if you use an umbrella, throw meat at the oncoming off-leash dog, or use a citronella spray, you are in a way escalating a bad situation. Or, it’s more accurate to say that you are being put in a position that may escalate because of the other owner’s irresponsibility. I’ve had two clients get into fistfights with other owners after spraying an oncoming dog with citronella. On the other hand, we have to protect our dogs. If you use a defensive move, do so carefully cautiously and as a last resort and understand that it might cause more human strife.
Consider why puppies pull when they are walking; there are many things that tempt your dog when you’re out for a walk, like children playing in the yard across the street, you neighbor grilling some hot dogs and that squirrel in the tree at the park. Your pup will try to get where he wants to go, even if that means pulling you along with him! If he pulls on the leash and you allow him to, you’ve reinforced that pulling gets him what he wants. Once you’ve allowed him to do this, he’ll do it again and again:
Daily exercise is a must for dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. Finding a well made, durable leash that’s comfortable for both you and your pet is key to keeping your dog active and happy. Even if you have a large, fenced-in backyard, walking your pup around new places gives him a chance to explore and helps to socialize him to other humans and other dogs. While you may consider a leash a simple purchase, finding a leash that best suits your dog’s needs can be a tall order. Whether he’s a puller or a runner, we’ve sifted through the options and found the best products for every type of dog. 

The truth is: If it is the law and you allow your dog off leash, you are breaking a law. In a civilized society, members do not simply pick and choose which laws apply to them. I repeat this mantra: It does not matter that you perceive your dog to “be friendly” or that “he loves other dogs.” It does not matter because the dog you have no voice control over is hurling himself into the faces of dogs who very well may NOT be friendly to other dogs. Your dog galloping right up to a leashed dog is rude canine behavior, even if you are running behind your dog screaming: “Don’t worry! He’s friendly!!” You endanger your own dog and all those you allow him to terrorize or bother.


With a padded glove-like handle, the EzyDog offers ultimate comfort for every pet owner. It’s a great choice for runners and joggers who don’t want to focus on gripping a standard leash. It has a shock-reducing bungee that takes some of the strain away if a dog lunges or pulls incessantly. The EzyDog is adjustable from 36" to 48" and the glove fits any size hand. It’s also a great choice for dog owners who suffer from arthritis or other hand conditions, as it reduces the need to grip tightly around a thin nylon leash.
Get a different leash for every day of the week and then some with this pick from Blueberry. Available in 19 colors, you'll find one for every event at an affordable price. The brand also makes patterned choices and a whole slew of collars to match, so you can stroll in style. They're also machine-washable so you can keep them looking great, even after heavy use. 

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