How Leashes Influence Behaviour

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by Snowshoe, May 18, 2016.

  1. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Just a small example I thought I'd share. Most people walk their dogs off leash on our trail. But one couple insists their dog is too scared and leashes him up when they see another dog, or he's on the leash already. He's not that small, a Soft Coated Wheaten.

    A few years ago the man followed my suggestion to let the dog off and he and Oban had a great time running up and down the trail and through the mud puddles. The poor dog was not clipped at the time and he looked like he'd gotten into the gulf oil spill but he had fun. :)

    Last week I met the lady for the first time and as soon as she saw us she put the poor dog back on the leash. He was hiding from me and Oban and Oban wasn't even looking at him, all Oban did was walk by and this poor intimidated dog hid behind his owner when my dog passed on the other side of the trail. I told her, "They've met, they play together." and she let him off. Less than one minute later her dog was offering play bows to mine.

    Maybe a bit extreme and it's a good example. I do have another recent encounter where the leashed dog brought out the bully in the off leash dog. What about the rest of you? Any similar observations of the difference in behaviour leashed and off leash?
     
  2. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Juno has never been allowed to meet, greet and play with dogs at random. If we know the dog fine, if not she is called and clipped back on lead. Where I lived in France it was regarded as a common courtesy to have your dog on lead when passing another and we didn't have any problems (well apart from little beasties - but we'll not mention them!). Personally I get very annoyed with people who let their dog come charging over to mine, who is walking nicely on lead, with a call that they are friendly and want to play - all very well perhaps for them but not necessarily for me.
     
  3. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    I have to agree with Rosemary although I do believe that leads do influence behaviour. Unfortunately my dogs are very nervous of dogs off lead, (to be fair they are nervous of lots of things), because they were attacked from behind by two dogs on more than one occasion. Scout is still scared walking along that stretch of road. If a dog is coming towards us they will bark if one is coming up behind us they will bolt. We usually have these problems on our lane as it's very quiet so people think it's ok to let their dogs loose or, believe it or not, on our drive !!! It's a long farm drive and I've had a rotweiller come up towards us, a Doberman, a couple of terriers to name a few all a long way from their owners. Then the owners get annoyed when I complain and they accuse my dogs of being vicious !*!*! I don't mind Dogs with a good recall and an owner who has control and knows what they are doing being off lead but unfortunately near us they seem to be few and far between.
     
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  4. Raven12

    Raven12 Registered Users

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    I agree that leads do change a dogs behaviour, particularly where you have one dog on lead and one dog off lead, but I also have to agree with Rosemary, if I know the owners and dogs fine but otherwise I keep Jura at heel, and certainly if approaching another dog who is on the lead, then Jura is put back on the lead. I personally haven't had any problems with on lead dogs but have had far more problems with owners who think it is ok for off lead dogs charge up to all dogs, particularly groups of off lead dogs being being walked together who have mobbed her whether she has been on or off lead.
     
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  5. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Totally agree, unfortunately too often the dogs don't have good recall. My other problem is having gone through a long recovery period after Juno's operation and time before that when she was on restricted exercise, that people just think it's OK to let their dog run and start jumping over mine 'to play' and no it's not alright. Being honest how do these people know that my dog is 'friendly' and won't want to rip their dogs head off :), not that Juno would harm a fly, but that's really not the point.
     
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  6. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Leads definitely alter behaviour but that doesn't excuse people allowing their dogs to run up to your dog unless they know each other and I am fine with that. I was walking Hattie last year and coming towards us was a lady with two terriers, I went to clip Hattie's lead on when she called out "oh don't worry my dogs are friendly" I said "are you sure?", "yes" she replied so I didn't put her lead on, next thing at full pelt one of the terriers ran jumped up and attached itself to Hattie's face :eek:, now it's lucky for the little dog that Hattie is completely laid back and has a very good temperament so she just waited for the dog to release it's grip which it did and proceeded to bark non stop at her. The lady then said "oh you naughty dog I am going to beat you with a stick", I suggested maybe she should just put her dog on lead. About 30 minutes later the dog came towards us again OFF lead so I put Hattie on lead whilst she was still yelling at her little dog. Now I don't take anyone's word that their dog is "friendly" Hattie goes on lead.

    I think it's unfair to put any dog or owner in a tricky situation as it might have had surgery, be nervous of dogs, aggressive or people shy you just don't know. All owners should be respectful of other owners and dogs :)
     
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  7. Jen

    Jen Registered Users

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    I've always thought the same Rosemary. Although Scott and Scout will do a good impression of wanting to rip the other dogs head off even though they are stood behind me. ;)
     
  8. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    That's the clue though, they're letting you face the nasty monster first - they're just the back up crew ;)

    Wouldn't life be wonderful then :)
     
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  9. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    One day, maybe, we just need to keep spreading the word :) x
     
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  10. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Well in my OP Oban ignored the SCW and he still tried to hide, till. And in my other encounter Oban was on lead, the nasty two were off. We met on the corner of a building we were both going around in opposite directions. I'm not sure I can attribute the leash entirely though as a couple of weeks later we met the same nasty two and I leashed Oban. All was fine. The next time I left Oban off and the three met, again all fine. The biggest factor with them, I think, is they are fine if the man walks them, not with the lady. Still, it wasn't till we met the lady and Oban was leashed that we had a problem. Better if one is off leash that they all are off leash, in my experience.

    When my dog is on restricted exercise or getting old and feeble I avoid places with loose dogs. I know other people cannot control their dogs. I can do this, I know some people don't have the opportunity to walk different places.

    Nobody else has such a striking example as our SCW? Of the change in behaviour?
     
  11. Ski-Patroller

    Ski-Patroller Cooper, Terminally Cute

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    We have a good friend with a Samoyed, which often acts very aggressive to other dogs when he is on lead, but is fine with other dogs when he is off lead at a doggie day care or dog park. From being around him a lot, I believe he is all bark and no bite, but it can make walking him less pleasant. I think it is actually fear due to being on a leash, but I'm just guessing. Unfortunately his recall is poor, so she can't let him off lead just anywhere. When there are more dogs around, his behavior is better. He is the slightly smaller Sammy in my Tilly and Cooper do the Doggie Dash picture.
     
  12. MF

    MF Registered Users

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    In my limited experience, I have found that dogs that act aggressively behave the same whether on or off leash. The only difference is that they can act on their aggression when off leash! I think this is different to frightened dogs who feel they cannot escape, so they "act" aggressively (bark, growl) if stuck on the leash and can't escape.

    I've had an experience when a known aggressive dog (although I didn't know this was well known at the time) approached my dog who was on leash. I didn't like the way it skulked towards us and stared at my dog, so I asked the owner to call her dog away. Her response: let your dog off leash, keeping your dog on a leash is making my dog aggressive. Really?!

    One thing I have noticed is that an owner, using the leash, can influence how their dog will behave. There's a woman who has three pugs. Every time she sees us, she yanks her dogs towards her on the leash, which I think makes them feel frightened of us -- and thereafter they bark non-stop.
     
  13. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    I don't know, I think sometimes it depends on the other dog. Three different people where we walk warned me about a big black dog they'd had trouble with, they said it was aggressive with their dog and he tried to hump them. I know all of them and all of their dogs so I was worried. Finally we met him and he was fine with Oban but as we chatted, the owner and I, another couple with two Boxers approached and that big black dog did try to hump one and was, not aggressive maybe, but not exactly nice to the other one. It can be hard to tell what the main influence is.

    Absolutely and I have to think some of my experiences with the same dog behaving differently with different owners has something to do with that. Off leash too.
     
  14. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I have limited experience too, but I disagree that dogs behave the same on or off lead. A dog that is lead reactive isn't necessarily aggressive, it can be fearful or nervous. I know dogs that are lead reactive and are completely fine off lead because they have the ability of 'flight'.
     
  15. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    I'm always reluctant to call any dog 'aggressive', aggression is an extreme expression of fear; unfortunately some dogs react the same whether on or off lead as we discovered this evening with a certain whippet :(
     
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  16. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I think there are a few dogs that can behave the same on or off lead. In our village it is a failed working Border Collie which used to be muzzled and now isn't but this girl is so fearful she can't even be near another dog, sadly her owners have done nothing to help her. :( I don't think I have ever met a truly aggressive dog.
     
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  17. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Leads definitely make a difference. My dog Obi is most comfortable when everyone is off lead. I think leads are frustrating and/or induce anxiety because the dog knows they can't move freely to get where they feel they need to get (whether that's to say hello or to get away). I don't have dramatic examples though....
     
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  18. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I agree that leads absolutely make a difference. I never let my two meet other dogs when they, or the other dog, are on lead. It's a recipe for disaster. The way we walk straight towards other people, rather than taking an arc; the removal of the flight option for the dog; the changes of body language from being connected to a lead - these all add up to potential problems. I think it adds in frustration, too; Shadow is perfectly delightful when meeting girl dogs, and I can generally keep him close to me off lead until I'm happy for him to say hello, but if we suddenly come across a girl dog when on lead, he behaves very differently, whining and barking from frustration and pulling to get to her. If we have enough time on an approach, this isn't an issue because I can pre-empt the behaviour; it's more when someone steps round a corner or through a doorway etc right by us that there's the issue. Having a dog straining to get to you and barking in their direction, even if it's simply because he wants to say hi, certainly can put the other dog on edge.
     
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  19. Newbie Lab Owner

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    I hate it when owners let their off lead dogs run up to Dexter without even trying to stop them. I know Dexter has done this but I've really been working hard with him to learn that it's not the right choice to make and always appologise if I've not managed to stop him. If I see a dog on a lead, I'll put Dexter on lead, if I see a dog I don't know I'll put him on lead. If it's a dog friend and I know the owner is ok with them meeting and playing or greeting then I'll call Dexter to me and then reward him by saying 'ok go play'.
    The other week a spaniel was heading towards us and Dexter was on lead, I called the owner and asked if her dog was alright to meet mine, she said yes he's fine so I unclipped Dexter's lead after reading posts about greeting off lead is better. Well the spaniel ran up to Dexter and had a good sniff of him but as soon as Dexter went to sniff the spaniel, the spaniel was snarling and growling, Dexter tried to get away but the spaniel was on top of him and wouldn't back off. The owner grabbed her dog pronto and I grabbed Dexter (it was a noisy few seconds that seemed longer than it was), we got them both on lead and the spaniel owner was really apologetic. Once on lead it calmed down, they both had a little greeting after me and the owner chatted for a couple of seconds as she looked genuinely shocked that her dog had done this. Both are entire males, hers 4 years mine 11 months. I was right near to them both when it happened and as far as I could tell Dexter was very polite and not OTT, I wonder if 11 month old entire males have a stronger testosterone smell and the 4 year old didn't like it although if Dexter is unsure he will usually lay down and roll on his back to let them sniff him.
    Or was it that this owner didn't have control over her dog in the first place?
    I don't know if I should have kept Dexter on lead or if he would have been worse off if I had.
    It was a lot of noise but no actual bite, luckily.
     
  20. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    You could be right because a young male just into puberty CAN have 7 times the testosterone as an adult male. This phenomenon in dogs is not as well know as it should be. In my readings 11 months is when testosterone is at it's highest level. The link below has some information on it at the Puppy License to Misbehave section.

    Yours is a good example of how different factors can be at play and it's hard to point to the leash as the sole culprit. When we encountered this Oban too seemed oblivious of the effect he had on some other dogs and likewise most other dogs' owners didn't know about it either.

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/dog-communication
     
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