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Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16507
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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My 1 year old american eskimo is very aggressive when on

Customer Question

my 1 year old american eskimo is very aggressive when on leash. Dogs he has been playing with off leash are now targets for a fight while on leash. He is also agressive to people while on leash and has attempted to chase a car while both on and off leash.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible...

Is he neutered?

Do you use a traditional leash and collar?

Has he ever gone to obedience classes at all?

What is his name?

What do you do when he acts aggressively?

Is this a new behavior, or has he always done it?

Is he aggressive when he's off leash?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he is neutered
I have used a martingale collar and traditional leash
prong collar and traditional leash
adding a training collar does seem to work but not my best choice
has been to obedience class - sits, drops and stands on command - comes on command (80% of the time)
is placed in timeout until I release him, so drop stay for extended period of time but does mess up and has to be replaced occasionally.
His name is***** either turn and go another way or, if he does not settle, I flip him upside down until he calms, relaxes and licks his lips. If he is wearing a training collar, he is given a short mid range correction (setting 3 or 4), sometimes a couple of times.
He is a very bold character and is not afraid to try anything. He has engaged a bear and pushed him away from the house but is afraid of bunny rabbits. Loves to chase birds, swim and run. Prefers to play with large northern breed dogs in a very big manner. This is a behavior that I have always tried to squash. The car chasing is new. When we play I spend time with my head over his back and cuddle him upside down. I appreciate that he warns me when something feels not right but I want to be able to call him off at my discretion. I understand that he is young but that is my goal and I don't feel like we are moving in the right direction.
Sometimes when he is off leash but only around his house. Not at the dogpark etc.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

I'm assuming you learned to roll your dog watching Cesar Milan?

Have you had Eskies in the past?

Did he act aggressively towards other dogs in training classes?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I learned to flip dogs on their backs years ago. Before Cesar Milan but I know he uses this technique as well.
I adopted an old abandoned Eskie. He was 90% blind, 100% deaf and had skeletal defects that caused him to be much slower moving. This guy has none of the afflictions and is quite full of himself but is still somewhat timid of new sights and experiences.
Gabriel DID act agressively in training class but not in after class recess time.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

First and is completely understandable that your dog is acting up at this point... the alpha roll is very much the wrong thing to do on many, many levels. The 'alpha roll' is NOT something that should ever be done to a dog by a person. First, if you're dealing with a fearful or reactive dog (which you may be at this point), then that's going to make things worse because this is essentially a bullying tactic. Humans never, never, never get the timing of the roll correctly because a dog reacts in less than 5 seconds. Next, it's a good way for a person to get I implore to you to please stop using this tactic with your dog.

To me, it absolutely sounds like you have the perfect example of a head-strong arctic breed on your hands. This breed of dog, possibly more than any other breed, is infamous for their energy, hyperactivity and habit of getting themselves into trouble. Although it will be a great deal of work, this behavior CAN be changed.

The first thing you're going to need to do is get him on a strict regimen of exercise. I understand that you may have a busy life and things to do, and may be worried about taking him out, but these working dogs NEED to be exercised every single day, and I'm talking more than a quick walk around the block. A high energy dog like this needs a couple miles a day to drain his energy and keep him from getting into trouble because he's too wound up. If you are unable to walk him, you may want to consider hiring a pet walker. In my neighborhood, I live close enough to the colleges that I put up fliers at the schools and hired some of the track runners to take my dogs for a run on the days I can't. I pay them $10-$15 bucks a day, and it really, REALLY works. The dogs get the exercise they crave, and the students get a couple bucks in their pockets for doing something they would have done anyway (the running). Several of my runners say that they feel safer running some of the woodsy trails around here because the dogs 'look' scary enough to ward off anybody who might bother them (luckily the strangers don't know that my dogs are all big marshmallows!!).

Additionally, he should be walked with a Gentle Leader. I guarantee that he will eventually get used to it, and it will make him easier to control in the walking. The general rule of thumb is that if you control the head, you control the dog, so putting the leader on and leaving it on during the walk, regardless of how much of a temper tantrum he throws is key. When he starts pawing at the Leader, simply give the leash a tug, say "Leave it!" and continue walking, even if it means you have to pull him along for a minute or so. Physics tells us that the dog can't paw at his face and walk at the same time...if you keep him moving forward, he'll have no choice but to leave the Gentle Leader alone.

Secondly, you might want to consider clicker training this dog. This involves buying a 'clicker' which has a little metal plate in it. You press the plate and the thing clicks, then you give the dog a treat immediately. Soon, the dog learns that the click brings a treat and will usually drop whatever they're doing, which includes trying to get into altercations with other dogs on the walk, and even will help him focus on you during the walk. .

If you feel like he may be too anxious to wear the Gentle Leader or do the clicker training, you may also want to look into trying an over-the-counter product to help him with his anxiety.

A couple things you could try would be:

Melantonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs. The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here: , which includes risks, warning signs to watch out for and other bits of useful information.

Try a DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's can also find them online at places like and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.

I definitely think that with a combination of the Gentle Leader and longer walks you can get him in line and get him to stop being so leash reactive.

I hope this helps.

Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.
Hi Linda,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

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