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Sorry for the long post and for any spelling/grammer mistakes since English is not my first language.
I just adopted a rescue puppy (Beagle Mix) two weeks ago. He is now just over two months old. He is sweetheart and real lap dog when inside the house (he will come and lay on my laps when I'm sitting on the couch or the bed and stay be my feet at all time when I'm in the house). There is no problem with his behavior inside. Of course because he is a puppy he has some occasional nipping when playing but that's it. He is playful but NOT aggressive when inside.
At home we have also worked on some basic training with positive reinforcement and he is doing very well with the command sit, lay and stay. When outside (and not "going crazy") he listens to the sit and lay behavior.
The problem comes when we are going on walk. Note that we tried to use both an harness and collar but have now settled for the harness to avoid putting too much pressure on his throat. (I did think that maybe the collar or harness was frustrating t him but he display the behavior regardless and does not mind wearing either when inside the home).
On every single walk he start displaying aggressive behavior toward me, the person holding the leash (not toward other people or dogs at all). If my fiancee is the one walking him then he will attack him. If we are walking h A few minutes within the walk he will start running/zooming left and right. Eventually he will start barking and growling at me and start attacking my legs. These are not gentle nipping but full on biting. The bites have drawn blood more than once now. He will also use any opportunity he can get (eg: me accidentally dropping the leash after I was bitten) to take off. To prevent the running off, I've invested in one of those belt leash, meaning that even if I don't hold the leash in my hands he can't run far away from me as he is attached to my waist (I don't want him to get hit by a car).
I have tried everything I can think of.
First I though he wasn't getting enough exercise so I started taking him out more often on long walk, playing fetch with him to get his energy out but even after spending a full morning playing outside as soon as he goes on his afternoon walk the same thing happens. (He also has severely puzzle type of game, and we do daily basic training to engage him mentally) This leads me to believe this is not a question of physical / mental activity. I've tried different leash size (I have a medium length one and a short one, to see if maybe having more length will make him feel less frustrated but haven't notice any positive changes (he actually his more well behave on the short leash in the sense that he can't be running left and right and he is easier to calm down). I thought he could be frustrated from not being to smell as many things as he wanted so I've made sure to slow down my walking pace allowing him to sniff the different smells, look at wild animals, people etc.. (while still stopping him from eating anything of the ground or attacking squirrels and so on.) I've been following where he wanted to go as I know Beagle at picking up smells and good at following trails, even then he will seemingly randomly start to go crazy. I thought it could be basic leash-reactivity, but (1) when in the front yard, or in the house he couldn't care less about having a leash and harness on, and (2) he doesn't display this behavior against the leash, or other dogs, or other people only against me. So I don't know if that would be basic leash reactivity. I've tried to ignore him when he does it, he doesn't care and will just keep chewing on me; I've tried to redirect his attention with treats (ask him to sit for instance which is a command he otherwise understand and follows really well) but he couldn't care less about food at that point; I've tried to hold him away from until he calmed down but that just made it worse as he was getting really really frustrated; I even tried to picked him up GENTLY to calm him down (something that he always ask for in the house) but he started screaming like I just broke his legs or something! Nothing works. He is 100% aiming for my legs. I don't think it should be necessary to point out but: I am not ok with hitting pets so I've not been physical with him when he acts like that.
My current solution is to redirect his behavior toward a wooden stick or something of the sort. What I means is that as soon as he start zooming and/or aiming for me, I will place a wooden stick between him and I. He will usually take the stick and start chewing on that, making him calm down and allowing us to keep going on our walk quite normally.
My only issue is that I am not sure if this is the best solution however as I don't want him to start thinking that he will get a toy stick if he display aggressive behavior.
To be fair I might be overreacting, as I'm right in that puppy blues phase. It is a very frustrating situation and renders walks very stressful. I've had puppies before (not mine technically but my families) and have never seen a dog display such behavior on walks, I've actually never seen a dog display aggressivity toward me.
For obvious reasons, this is a behavior I want to train out of him: I just really really don't want him to get in a habit of showing signs of aggressivity toward anyone or anything. That he bites Meis one thing but I'm terrified that he might someday start showing sign of aggressivity or worse toward stangers.
What are your thoughts on his behavior and how do you think I should handle it?
Thank you for any help you can give me!
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