Most dog owners would usually encounter problems regarding their puppy behavior– leash biting puppy behavior, to be exact. This is common especially for first time owners that have zero experience in taking care of puppies.
One complaint that most beginner dog owners grumble about is how to make their puppy stop biting their own leash. If you want to know some tips in dealing with dog biting on leash, you’ve come to the right place.
Leash Biting Puppy: More Normal Than You Think
Actually, there are two things that everyone should know about this behavior.
First, it is just normal for a puppy or even a slightly older dog biting on leash during walk.
Second, there are others that experience this! Puppies are just puppies, they have not experienced the world just yet. They are very eager to explore everything around them through their senses.
This curiousity, while generally encouraged, is sure to bring some issues regarding safety. This is why it’s important for dog owners to keep their puppies leashed to lessen the chances of accidents or running away and getting lost.
Of course, by having new restrictions, like that of a leash or collar, they would be very curious still about what is going on around them – including their leash. As they are young, they are full of energy and are usually excited to experience new things.
And by experiencing these things, they learn more about their environment. A leash is such a tempting thing to keep biting on, because one end of it is fixed and makes it very easy for the dog to just simply clamp its teeth down on it as a way of exploring it.
Just like how babies put stuff in their mouths, puppies learn by pretty much putting anything and everything in their own mouths. So whatever fits inside, they play with it. Just like leashes.
So if you see an excited puppy or dog biting leash and jumping, there is a big chance that it means he is at the moment learning more about this cord that is connected to him and within biting distance!
Other Reasons for Leash Biting
Apart from a natural curiosity, there are also other reasons as to why your puppy or dog may engage in leash biting.
1. Your dog is feeling frustrated at the fact that he is leashed.
Not all dogs like to be leashed. Some may feel bad about it, and will think that biting on it will make them free. There is a chance that your dog is feeling trapped because of the leash, and doesn’t know that it is on him for his own safety.
2. He does not have an outlet for his excess energy.
In line with excitement, a dog may bite on his leash if he feels that it is a good outlet to release pent up energy. Even if you are on a walk, it may not be enough to satisfy him – and the act of biting and tugging on a leash might feel better.
Training Your Puppy Not To Bite His Leash
You must now know that it is not surprising for puppies to bite their own leash. In order to train him, you should follow these simple guidelines for starters.
You wouldn’t have to worry about leash biting afterwards. Here are some easy steps on how to stop dog biting leash when walking.
If your puppy bites his leash, halt your walk. You should stay and stand still while pulling your hand that was holding the leash close to your hips or body.
Your focus should be on remaining upright and with enough firmness so as not to suddenly get tugged away when you have a dog biting leash on walks. This is to keep you stable and prevent falling.
Wait for your puppy to stop biting his leash before you walk again. There may be instances that your puppy will start to tug harder on the leash, but just ignore him and stay still.
The time it takes for each puppy or dog to stop biting will differ from to dog to dog. If you have several dogs, try to remember how long it takes each one on average to stop biting their respective leashes.
3. Walk again
If your puppy stops biting his leash, walk again. Repeating these steps will make your puppy understand that whenever the leash is not in his mouth, he is allowed to walk. If his leash is in his mouth, both of you will stop walking.
Over time, a dog biting leash on walks will understand what is the acceptable behavior if he is exposed to enough learning opportunities to establish the connection between the leash and his ability to refrain from biting it.
These simple steps seem too easy, but they are difficult in reality. However, the good news is that you can be successful in how to get a dog to stop biting leash through these techniques.
Consistency and repetition is one way that our dogs will learn from us. To jump start your puppy training, take note of these methods:
This might seem like a very simple solution but it is always worth a try! Take a chance on ignoring your dog when he bites his leash to see if he will eventually let go and resume normal walking behavior.
Ignoring your dog is a way to dismiss the biting behavior. There is a chance that your dog might be looking for affirmation through biting, and any reaction to it might reinforce the behavior.
If your dog persists even after steadily ignoring him, then you may go ahead and try the other suggestions mentioned here.
5. Drop the Leash
A leash is easy for a dog to bite on because it can get taut in an instant once there is distance between the dog and yourself.
You can also try dropping the leash on the ground and stepping on the end that you were holding for it to become slack. This stops the satisfaction your dog gets in gnawing it.
Just make sure you are firmly stepping on it so it doesn’t slip from under your feet should your dog decide to zoom or run away!
6. Give a Command
Teach your dog the “Drop It” command, which he can very well apply to any leash-biting situation. If your dog has a toy or any other object in his mouth, look at him directly in the eyes and tell him to “drop it”.
Use those exact words, along with a waving hand gesture for emphasis. Make sure your voice is cheerful and not scary or chastising, so he will be more agreeable in following your command. When he follows your command, give him a snack reward.
Keep doing this until it is an automatic response to any “Drop it” situation, and then eventually remove the reward. And when you notice your dog biting on his leash, then employ the command to that as well.
More Tips You Can Try
Here are some more things you can try with your dog in order to get him to stop biting his leash:
Did your dog notice the cue to stop biting the leash? Great! Give your puppy a reward like a tasty treat for his little steps and learning to stop biting the leash.
This will make your puppy interpret that ‘not biting’ the leash is a good thing that should be rewarded.
Even if it took him some time or it was just for a little while, this positive behavior must be reinforced so that the next time your dog grabs leash while walking he will respond even faster.
And what you can look forward to after several instances of that is your dog learning not to bite the leash altogether.
Apart from food rewards, there are also other ways that you can motivate your dog to stop biting his leash or to redirect the behavior. You might also want to give your dog his favorite toy while walking.
What object or plaything makes your dog undeniably happy that you know he will let go of his leash in a heartbeat when you dangle the said object in front of him?
Dogs would often hold them in their mouth and of course, this would surely prevent your dog from biting the leash while you are on a walk. Squeaky toys are a good start and there are also bone-shaped, cow hide bone toys that are usually liked by dogs.
Get an irresistible toy for more effectivity. Something that is durable is also preferable, so it will last longer. If it is also something that is cheap, that is even better! Toys get worn out over time and it’s best if you don’t have to spend so much to replace it.
3. Practice inside
If you have your puppy indoors or you have a back yard, you might want to practice walking your puppy first indoors.
This would give you a chance to observe his behavior towards collars and leashes, so you can adjust and envision what to do to prevent your puppy from biting his leash outside while walking.
A contained area is best for this because you can put all your focus on your dog’s behavior rather than worrying about his safety or the possibility of running away.
4. Don’t punish
Is your dog biting leash and growling? Do not punish your dog for biting his leash. It may result to misunderstanding for your dog and it might even give him the idea to be aggressive.
Puppy age is a very sensitive time for training, so you should not screw up this opportunity by giving your little puppy a few hits of the stick. Reward your dog for good behavior instead of punishing him for a bad one.
While we want to address the leash biting behavior, we also do not want your dog to have socioemotional consequences as a result.
Some dog owners feel that punitive actions like hitting will yield faster results; however the trauma that it may bring can be very deep, long lasting, and a lot harder to heal from, if at all.
However, what you can do instead is to withhold any rewards or incentives if your dog does not follow your commands. This means no snacks, no petting, and no words of praise. This is especially effective for younger pups, who are eager for these.
If you withhold any and all, they will wonder why and hopefully make the connection between the undesirable behavior of biting the leash and the lack of rewards.
Although remembering these methods are enough, there are still some few reminders regarding accessories to be used for this. There are various items that give promising results about puppy leash biting. Here are some things to consider for training.
5. Don’t Yell
Apart from physical punishment, it is important to refrain from yelling at your dog when he demonstrates biting behavior. Yelling can make your dog feel nervous, which is never a healthy feeling for them.
Instead, simply remain calm and talk in a firm voice if you need to use words with him. Show him that you are not a force to be reckoned with, but also ensure that he has trust in you not to do anything that will harm or stress him out.
6. Have Two Leashes
Some people resort to this nifty trick of having two leashes attached to the dog’s collar while on a walk. If your dog suddenly bites on the leash that you are holding, transfer your grip onto the second leash and let go of the first one.
This will make the first leash go slack, which your dog won’t like. Resume the walk, and if your dog bites on the second leash then simply do the same thing with the first one.
The important thing here is to not make it seem like a game, otherwise your dog will end up being motivated to keep biting the leash! Don’t smile or say anything to your dog when its mouth is on either of the leashes.
If he drops the leash (consider using the “Drop It” move discussed earlier), then go ahead and give a verbal praise or even a food treat to acknowledge the good behavior.
This video discusses and demonstrates different ways to stop your dog from biting the leash.
Products That Can Help
- Chew proof dog leash
The reality is, there are no true “chew proof” leashes out there in the market. There are products that claim to be very durable, but there is no 100% chew-proof item that won’t yield or break down over years or instances of uses.
Especially if the material components of a leash are fabric or leather. The natural fibers used in making leashes are sure to break down even when they are tightly bound.
There are even some made of paracords but still, they tend to give in to the bites of a playful puppy.
What you can do is to review a wide variety of leashes and identify which ones are preferred for their durability by more dog owners.
There are many good reviews online on reputable sites, and you can easily order the best one and have it shipped to your doorstep.
Are you thinking of substituting harder materials like metal? Using chains as leashes may be “bite proof” but still, they are mostly too heavy for a puppy.
Also, they tend to get hot because of the metal components plus your puppy’s fur may get snagged on it and damage it.
In addition, you will really feel its heft compared to fabric or leather cords – which would probably make you tired from your walk a lot faster than you should be. Having a metal chain is a good “non-chew” leash but there are downsides to it as well.
Try to choose and be a member of a store that offers leash replacements. These stores are usually trustworthy and are worth trying to buy from. They may even have toys that could help you draw your puppy’s attention from the leash.
Nevertheless, this is your best bet to provide a comfortable leash without the worry of being bitten down to shreds.
- Chew Restraint
Chew restraints are usually chemicals that are marketed to prevent your dog from chewing or nibbling on surfaces.
Most come in the form of sprays, while some in the form of powder. All you have to do is spray and apply the formula to the surface that you don’t want to be chewed on.
Although a lot of people claim that this worked for them, you might want to check the ingredients of the products themselves. Safety of your dog is an important factor, so the ingredients should be safe as well.
This is ideal for adult dogs because they have matured bodies which may be more resilient to medicine and any other chemicals out there.
It might be best for you to note the brand and the product’s active ingredients, then consult your trusted veterinary to see if they will give you the go signal to use the chew restraint product.
And even if they do, you must remain vigilant and observe your dog for any changes following the use of the product. If there are any, then you might need to shelve it and consider other ways to keep him from chewing the leash.
Just apply the formula to the leash before walking. But for puppies, this might not be recommended since they are still young and there might be chemicals that could cause latent health problems.
- No Pull Harness
You can also look for a no-pull harness for your dog, which is a leash that goes all the way around his body and one end on his back. This would make it impossible to chew, because he will not be able to bend or look back far enough to bite the leash.
Putting it on is not as easy as clipping the leash on a collar, however. But if leash training has been difficult for you, then this type of apparatus might be godsend.
It is called a no-pull harness because it is helpful in training your dog to stop pulling – which is a common item in many dog training protocols.
If your dog demonstrates better behavior after using the no-pull harness then maybe you can test out a conventional leash to see if the original biting behavior has been eliminated.
- Choke Chain
This is a bad choice, even for adult dogs. This is a desperate move that could very much harm your dog in every way.
But if you are really dead set on using one, pick a very thin choke chain. This should be applied on special cases like adult dogs with a very long history of leash chewing.
Most dog owners do not go for this option straightaway, preferring to use other ways and finding success with them.
The danger that this brings is very high, and you can put your dog in a bad predicament if anything untoward happens while in a choke chain.
Think twice before getting your dog choke chains, because your dog, especially puppies, might hurt their teeth and have their neck always strained while walking.
The injury that they can get can be extensive and long lasting. Puppies that get them may be in a position to suffer the consequences well into their adult life.
Whatever reason your dog might have for wanting to bite on its leash, trust that it is not something he will want to do all day or for the whole time you are out. He will eventually get tired of it.
Your goal is not just to prevent the behavior from happening but also to help your dog satisfy the urge to chew. When that need is met, there will be no reason for him to bite or continue biting the leash.
Focus on addressing the mouthiness of your dog, and you will end up with a pooch that has enough energy to go for a brisk walk or run without the need to put the leash in his mouth.
Walking your puppy should now be easy, and it is now less challenging to deal with leash biting puppy behavior when you know everything you should about it. Just always check before every walk if your leash is damaged or compromised for a bit.
You never know that your dog might have chewed it on before on your way home. Always put your dog’s health at mind first.
What other ways have you tried to teach your dog to avoid biting their leash? Share them in the comments section down below!