Leash reactive PLEASE HELP? San Diego, ca

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2014-08-15


i have Django, neutered 90lbs strong as an ox and once he has his mind set on something no treat in the world will break his concentration.

I have tried everything with him, every collar, harness everything. 

We currently use a prong collar


I have paid trainers to help and while I can walk him on a leash now If he sees a dog he flips out!! I mean rears up like a pony and cries and howls and barks and lunges.

(before he would pull me down the street) 


I dread taking him for walks, he loves to go out and he loves going for walks,  people give me the "you can't control your dog" look and they're right, I can't.

django is not aggressive towards people or dogs we even had a cat that he loved  when he's off the leash 

He has barked at children and baby carriages before, he doesn't like high pitched voices or laughter he will bark. 


I dont know know what to do anymore, I've spent thousands of dollars trying to work with him, and  I don't want him to have to live in a small backyard because I can't walk him, I can't take him out in public. I can't take it anymore.


django is the sweetest dog, when off leash he barely even looks at other dogs, his best friend is a 20lb french bulldog, he was socialized as a puppy 

 he freaked out recently and the leash caught my finger in a weird way and ripped off my fingernail. 


Ive be read posts about broken ankles and wrists from their dogs so I consider myself lucky.


im in a it's me or the dog situation, my boyfriend of 5years wants me to "fix" the dog or he is leaving.


I need serious help.




talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

I fully understand this situation, we have the same going on with our current rottweiler, he weighs in at 130 pounds so when he decides he is focused there is NOTHING we can do to change his mind, we have tried treats, and all the training ideas we can think of; he loves people, we just don't know about dogs cause we just adopted him back in May and where he immediately accepted our dog, he rushes the fence and hackles up and jumps up/down and spins in circles grumbling and then he gets still and his butt wiggles so we are confused as to what he is wanting, and not being able to hold him back on leash we can't even take him outside the fence to meet/greet.....

I wish I had the answer, the only answer we had was to not walk him or take him out and about, ours is an easier situation since he is 9 years old and a bit achy in the hips so he can't walk across the yard without sitting down, so that's in our favor, but not being able to take him outside the fence to even get in the car without checking for dogs walking by is annoying....

Your attempts at fixing the situation are admirable and your dedication to finding the answer.....since he does this on leash it seems to me you are correct in saying it's a leash issue....have you let him drag the leash around the house or played with him while on leash so he relates the leash to happy things....since walking is not a happy time while on leash there is something about the leash....is it the noise, is it the confinement he feels, I just don't know....have you played with him till he was super tired before walking him to see if his excitement is less on leash while tired?

Just hang in there and keep trying, when the weekend is over I am sure people will pop in with better advice....

andrew's picture
Joined: 2013-01-11

We share the same situation, I have had three trainers and all the equipment available.

I stopped accounting for it when it passed $3000. I have no solution for you, though I can tell you how we live with it.

1) We have a removable boundary that separates our front fence by 5mtr to reduce the proximity of dog to dog interaction (as advised by council)

2) I walk them in the bush at 5:30-6am and return before 7:30 to reduce the chance of meeting another dog walker.

3) We tracked down an old cricket field that is almost fully fenced, I take chainlink fencing with me and seal it up to let them off leash. Its the only place I can go to give them proper excersize.

yeah, this sucks and I have had many an argument with the wife about how our vision of walking with baby in pram along public walkways turning into just another chore for me.. and I say that because they pull like crazy. It is incredibly difficult to walk them and I'm a 35yo man. Dont get me wrong, they are well disciplined in all other areas, great recall off leash (as long as no other animal is visible.. any animal.) and will do just about anything with a treat in the hand... but any other animal, especially after we were attacked by a staffie will result in chaos.

Early on in the peace I think Talisin or someone said they could have my dogs walking quietly next to me in a jiffy and I had a serous discussion with my wife about flying them over because of the expense we had suffered already. Needless to say, when the baby came our funds were drained and the pups had to be delt the cards they were given.

I will record my next walk and upload it to my youtube channel and link it here later.



DobieWanKenobi's picture
Joined: 2011-08-28

Pet Profiles

Could you tell us what the trainers and you have tried? :)

Dogs reactive through over-excitement usually improve with repeated controlled interactions with the stimulus. In this case that would involve you with Django and an experienced handler with a controlled dog working on a "greeting when quiet" basis. 

tl;dr make sure the prong is fitted properly (snug at the top of the neck, just behind the ears) for correct use.


I think a lot of dobes are like this . Mina can be quite reactive on lead , so now I stick her in the car & take her to the park where she ignores dogs & doesn't bother at all about them . It's huge excitement on lead & it sounds awful ... Yes training & exposing him to the situation will help , but you would need to do it daily for a good while . I walked my old dog for 16 years , it's the most normal thing in the world to do , so I totally understand what you mean . Could you drive to park or area he can run.  ? Even try walking him when he is tired ? He sounds lovely dog xx don't give up x

Joined: 2014-08-15

Just to clarify, Django only freaks out when we are out and about on walks and he sees another dog. when I pick up the leash he gets really excited, he loves going on walks.


the trainers have told me it's because he is excited and wants to go up to them and say hello, not because he is afraid or wants to hurt them. Not being able to go up to another dog bothers him so much he basically throws a giant temper tantrum, but do to his size and being a doberman it looks scarier than if a chihuahua was doing it.


Trainers told me I need to put him in the situation to be able to correct the problem, 

but it's like he knows it's a bait dog and doesn't react the same way,  the trainers recommended the ecollar for correction, it didn't work even on the highest level he would just continue to have the tantrum.


high value treats, feeding him tons of treats when he sees a dog, doesn't work.

collar corrections don't work. Backing up and giving space so he knows that when he acts like that he is further away from what he wants, one trainer said to grab him by his scruff and force him down so he knows I'm alpha , doesn't work, can of coins to scare him doesn't work, squirt bottle doesn't work. 


The other thing is that my dog doesn't respond to  verbal praise, he doesn't care how happy I am with him.


my dog is smart I believe in him, he was potty trained in 1week and hasn't had an accident in the house since I got him at  8weeks,  he sleeps through the night, he can tell when someone is supposed to be in our yard and when someone isn't, he knows my friends and family and loves them.

he knows sit down high five stay and come

django does great at the dog park, he runs like a horse, never been in a dog fight and when a dog has challenged him, he walks away.

he freaks out at the park and beach  until the leash is off, and he just runs and plays and has a great time. The looks on peoples faces, basically scared for their dogs lives since the crazy doberman is here and then you hear them say how beautiful he is and gentle 

I just don't know what to do.

I hate walking my dog, that's the worst feeling in the world.


Joined: 2012-10-28

Pet Profiles

Dear Django, 

 Very Happy to annouce that the SEARCH Function on gentle doberman is working again. It was very helpful to me and I hope lots of people will start using it again:)

 Below is a thread I started about leash aggresion Bella was almost 2 ....:

Hi All, 

 Bella has leash aggression. When walking in a populated area where she meets other dogs, which is not often, it happens as a lunge from a sit or down position, to up on her hind legs. You would think she is defending Michael, or hates others of her kind.

Due to this, she tried to attack a motorcycle, and my hand is still not better after 70 days and has cost over 5k in doctor bills:(((((

However when at the dog sitters off leash, she will greet and play very happily and well with dogs of all kinds, even newly met dogs.

We are at a loss and need some advice what to do. Michael keeps thinking an electric zap collar would help. We are willing to invest in a trainer. My idea is (when my hand is better) to take her alot more often down the hill to new places, people and dogs to meet in a civilized manner and/or walk by. Desensitization.


Any thoughts or comments very much appreciated. Or training techniques that have worked for you.


Thanks very much, 

 Julia, Michael and Bella,


Well Bella did eventually get much better. She now has very little leash aggresion.

When you go out on leash be prepared to walk in the street cross it or far enough away that your dog will behave. Don't try to walk right by the other dog, don't let them get in a staring match, this is an aggressive signal between dogs. Eventually you can move closer.

I think it is partly because of the doggie playdates and because I took her out and played with her where there are lots of doggie smells and sometimes dogs to meet. there is a proper way to introduce dogs and getting them both into a relaxed and at least sitting position is ver important/ before they get to sniff. 

Learn as much as possible about dog body language, you must know by watching them if you should let the dogs meet. It helps to have another dog owner willing to let your dog meet his.

If your dog has a pal that you can have a 'pack walk' with ( after tiring out excercise,) then maybe they can play as a reward for being on a well behaved walk. We have a 20 ft leash and that helped to give her a little more freedom but you do have to be so careful about NEVER looping the leash. I hope your finger is healed. 

We also took her heeling and sitting when stopping very seriously and made her do it consistently. If she lunged or howled we yelled that she was "BAD" she hates being yelled at negatively so her sensitivity to that helped us.

Good luck. Persevere. You have a beautiful dog.

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

hahahaha Thanks for the vote of confidence Andrew but I assure you that wasn't me who said I could have your dogs sitting with you in a jiffy, I did have to chuckle to myself on that one.....however a free trip might be worth a try hahahaha......

we actually tried Sampson today outside our fence on leash and he did great, however it is obvious that if another dog went by that he didn't like he would just be dragging my husband down the pavement behind him....at least till Sampson's 9 year old rickety rottie hips gave out.....

I have yet to figure out how to keep my dogs from being reactive to other dogs outside our fence or across the street while on a walk, my collies did marvelous, our other rottie did ok, the chihuahua did great until his eyesight went to zero now that he's blind he is NOT tolerant of smelling another dog anywhere in the vicinity.....and all it takes is one lunge and someone can get hurt so it's risky to take a reactive dog out in public

I hope you can find a solution, I know our resident Kevin who's been very quiet lately always has some great ideas for training.....as do Gunny and RND maybe some of them will pop in with advice, I would love to hear their suggestions so I could incorporate them too since I suffer along with you....sorry it wasn't me that had the answer......but wait I'm Gemini maybe it was my other self.....(my friends kid me on that one)

PS. a possible solution if it's just exercise you are worried about there are those doggie treadmills and you could install a pool.....