Help - Standard Schnauzer aggressive when on lead

The Standard Schnauzer is a working or utility dog and is the original breed of the three sizes. Standard Schnauzers are generally a robust, squarely built, medium-sized dog with aristocratic bearings.
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Joined: 30 Dec 2019, 12:06
First Name: Louise

Help - Standard Schnauzer aggressive when on lead

Post by Louisek1574 »

Hi -

We have an 11 month old male Standard, Oscar - who we are finding is really difficult when out walks, particularly when on the lead. We’ve had him since 4 months old, and have done all the basic puppy training and more recently tried a distraction training class. When no other dogs are around he is a star - but as soon as he sees another dog he starts growling and jumping at them in what appears to be an aggressive way. He’s also very boisterous when he is allowed to play and seems to spend a lot of time nipping other dogs. Does anyone have any experience of how to deal with this please???? We are desperate for some advice as we are getting lots of negative comments from other dog owners.

His recall around other dogs is also very poor but great when he’s on his own.


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Joined: 19 May 2011, 16:58
First Name: Leigh
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Re: Help - Standard Schnauzer aggressive when on lead

Post by zeta1454 »

Hello Louise and welcome to the Forum :-)

Standard schnauzers can be a much more challenging breed than mini schnauzers generally and at 11 months Oscar will still be in his adolescence with hormone surges and possibly even the "fear stage" of development affecting his behaviour.

If you are really struggling, it may be a good idea to try and find a local professional behaviourist making sure they are using kind positive methods and showing you how to work with Oscar to overcome his issues (not taking him away from you to "train" him out of your sight). There may be someone listed on this website who is near to you:

Generally speaking, if Oscar is going through an adolescent fear phase, he should pass through this is a matter of months if you are careful to not put him into situations where he feels threatened or wants to have too boisterous play with other dogs. Many dogs are more reactive when on lead and you need to try and get Oscar focused on you and particularly draw his attention when you know there are other dogs coming towards you on a walk. Use treats or a favourite toy as a reward for not lunging or barking at them. You will need to do lots of focus training at home and in other situations too so that you build up a routine for Oscar that he comes to you or focuses on you every time you ask for his attention. If he is already doing this in non-challenging situations, try doing it in a slightly more distracting environment before letting him off to play with other dogs.

If Oscar is really causing problems with nipping and / or aggression with dogs I would be inclined to stop his interactions until you can improve the situation as you don't want him getting a reputation with local dog owners which may affect his future play / socialising. If you have a park near you which you can rent for half an hour or more privately you could use this to exercise and train Oscar in the meantime. I do know of a standard schnauzer owner local to us who did this with her young adolescent female dog.

There are a couple of links here too: ... ar-periods
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

Magic - Silversocks Sharade at Darksprite
Trilby - Darksprite Rosa Bud ... 916994967/

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Re: Help - Standard Schnauzer aggressive when on lead

Post by Oscar 12345 »

Louise, Leigh's advice above is excellent. I also recommend a good trainer who can advise whether what looks like aggression is caused by fear or frustrated greeting or something else and then can put a plan together with you to help your boy become much calmer near dogs. Your post could well have been describing my boy who I am convinced is a standard in a mini body. So challenging where dogs are concerned. Whilst hopefully waiting for a good trainer I recommend 3 things. Firstly recognising what triggers the negative reactions, the distance at which the reaction first starts and finally very high value treats. Without the first two, the trigger (dog) and/or being too close, your boy is probably lovely on his walks so the key thing to remember is reward when you see a trigger and keep your boy outside of the distance where the reaction will start and you do this by using treats. Keep in your mind that the objective is for your boy to remain calm, over time this will become much more normal than the reacting. There is also something called trigger stacking where one sighting of a dog might not make your boy anxious but the next one might make him a little stressed and the one after that might make him lose it. Watch out for it as it can lead you to believe your dog is getting better and so tempt you to try greetings when actually the stress is building. It has taken a long time with Otto but we now manage sightings of dogs well and can pass a lot of them quite closely without him reacting but it takes work and I got a lot wrong in the early days. I recommend a great facebook group called Reactive Dogs UK, free advice from force free trainers and they can also recommend trainers in your area. I also recommend a great book called The Other End of the Leash by Janet Finlay (Janet is one of the trainers on RDUK) which is a brilliant read for us to understand leash reactive dogs and how we can help them. Good luck and don't blame yourself or try to analyse whether it is something you might have done or not done that has caused this, the truth is you will never know and you will learn to ignore the disapproving looks as you work hard to try to build confidence in your boy where dogs are concerned.
Man cannot survive with wine alone...
we also need a schnauzer.

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Re: Help - Standard Schnauzer aggressive when on lead

Post by Isabella »

Totally agree, Iz was exactly the same, when out on a lead I always had a treat in my hand, if I could see a potential problem I would distract her with a treat and position her so I could see it but she couldn't, then, reward her with the treat once the 'potential problem' had walked past. I do find that Iz even now checks my response to a situation and I know it sounds daft but if I yawn and relax my body posture she doesn't bother. When Iz was about the same age I found the forum to be an amazing group with great advice. I wouldn't have any other breed they are loyal and great fun.

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