Book Review of Feisty Fido, Help For the Leash-Reactive Dog



The Feisty Fido

My dog, Sephi is very leash-reactive when it comes to other dogs. What does leash-reactive mean? It means that when we are going for a walk, Sephi barks and lunges at other dogs she sees on the way. This is very problematic as she has taught my other dog, Maya, to do it too. So whenever I take them for a walk, I have to try to control two big dogs when we see another dog. It is not at all easy. And the situation could be very bad if either of them gets away from me.
 Due to this issue, I usually only take them on walks during the times of day when fewer people and their dogs are out. And if I see another dog, I try to walk as far away from them as possible before Sephi and Maya see them too. But this is only one solution to the problem. To try to find other remedies, I purchased a book titled, Feisty Fido, Help For the Leash-Reactive Dog, by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen B. London, Ph.D.
The book has been very informative and helpful. I must warn you, however, that the process is a long one. There is no immediate miracle cure and it takes a lot of time, patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency. (See our post, But it is worth it and it works.

The first tip they taught is called the “Watch”. This cue works just like it sounds. You teach your dog to look at and focus on you. You start in areas with no distractions and tell your dog to watch. When they look at you, give them praise, a treat, or whatever reward motivates your dog to learn. As you prefect this cue in non-distracting areas, slowly introduce mild distractions and work your way up to bigger distractions. Over time, your dog will learn that whenever they see another dog, it is better to watch you than to pay attention to them.

The second tip they teach is the “U-Turn”. This cue also works just like it sounds. Whenever you see another dog, turn and go the other way. The trick to this cue is to encourage your dog to follow you without having to jerk on their leash. Leash jerking can make the leash-reactive problem worse rather than better. Again, you have to start this cue with no distractions and work your way up to higher levels of distractions.

We have given a very simple overview of two of the tips indicated in “Feisty Fido”. We highly recommend reading the book for more important details and additional tips. Visit the author’s website at for more information and other great books.  The book is also available at our affiliate site titled Dog Lover’s Book Store.


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