When first walking a dog or pup, it can be frustrating. They aren’t used to the feel of a collar or harness and may strain against the leash. They might tug and pull, trying to dart off, or they might sit absolutely still, not knowing what sensation they are currently feeling.
More commonly, they’ll fight against the leash, biting and gnawing at it in an attempt to free themselves. To make sure they don’t actually get through, here are some tips for how to stop dog from biting leash.
Why Do Dogs Bite The Leash?
Should you have a particularly young dog or pup, they will end up biting and chewing just about anything. This is because they may still be in the later stages of teething, and their teeth might be sensitive.
They’ll want to sink their teeth into just about anything that moves, from your hands and fingers to your clothes and shoelaces, to the leash that you’re currently using to walk them.
If they aren’t particularly young, it could be out of frustration. Many dogs don’t like the feel of a collar around their neck or a leash pulling them back. The strange feeling that they aren’t used to might incite them to turn around and start “attacking” the leash. This can be especially bad with bigger dogs, as this aggression can be bad news for passersby.
If it isn’t out of frustration, it could be that they’re bored or overexcited. Your dog might have learned that it can easily get your attention by biting on the leash, causing you to pull back or try and get them off.
While this is an instinctive reaction, you must learn to stop pulling against your dog, because what you’ve essentially done is use the leash to create a game of tug-of-war.
Any dog owner can tell you that excited pups love tug-of-war, so while it may be fun to play it with them, the walks on the leash are not exactly the best time to do so.
Regardless of what causes the biting, though, there are a few tips and tricks you can implement that could help stop the biting.
One of the best ways to teach your pup to remain calm at the sight of the leash is to practice keeping them calm around it. A trick that many owners use is through a kind of Pavlovian response. To begin with, come up with a sound or word to act as a trigger or command.
This could be a simple word such as “Good!”, or you clicking your fingers or clucking your tongue. Whenever you make this noise, make sure your dog hears it clearly, and follow it up with affection and adoration, triggering a positive response.
The trick is to get them to remain calm so that you can reward this behavior. So when you make your sound, get them to sit calmly. Then give them their reward, to show that remaining calm is the right thing to do.
After a while of repeating this process, you should find that your dog immediately sits and calms down, eagerly waiting for their treat. Once you’ve reached this point, you’ve got the basis for what comes next.
Now that you’ve trained your dog to sit and calm down with a simple cue, you can bring out the leash. This might excite them and cause them to lose their control, but that is what you’re going to correct. Using the same cue, tell them to calm down for a reward.
It may take some time, but it is vital to have the leash out when you do this. This is so you can show them that the leash is actually part of their reward, and isn’t a menace to fear or attack. Once they are calm, give them their treat and affection while still holding the leash.
After a while, your dog should be warming up the leash, thanks to you involving it and associating it with treats and affection. At this time, you can try putting it on them and practice walking around with them in your yard. Should they start biting again, stop, and wait for them to stop.
Keep practicing having them be calm around the leash, and keep going. Your stopping also stops them thinking that the leash is a toy if you aren’t participating.
If, after all the conditioning, you still have problems with biting, perhaps the issue is just that they like having something in their mouth. In this case, bring along something else for them to chew, such as a toy or knuckles.
Read also: Best Retractable Dog Leash
Your dog will not like a leash at first, unless you’re lucky. To train your dog to have proper leash etiquette means walks will be far less of a hassle.
The most common form of training is to instill a Pavlovian response as a basis for calming your dog so that you can ease their excitement about the leash.
Once you get the leash on them so you can begin training them that the leash is not a toy or an enemy. With enough practice, you can eventually convince your dog to be nice and calm for walks.