By: Laurie Brzostowski
At Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care in Round Lake we walk A LOT of dogs. A couple of our pet clients are really hard on a leash. They bite the leash, they tug on the leash and all of that takes away from focusing on the actual walk. Here is some information to help if you have dogs that bite or tug on a leash.
Dogs can have a hard time controlling their excitement during walks and sometimes act out towards the leash. The main reasons for leash biting include excitement, frustration, or boredom. Quick behavioural correction is they key to changing unwanted leash biting habits.
1. Begin the walk in a calm manner
Excited dogs are more likely to get distracted and start biting the leash. Try to keep the preparation for a walk calm and controlled. Ask your dog to ‘sit and wait’ and do not make a big deal of bringing out the leash. Speak in soft, soothing tones.
If dog starts to bite the leash, you should immediately remove the leash from the vicinity. Wait several minutes until your dog has calmed down before approaching with the leash again. This exercise should be repeated until your dog accepts the leash in a calm manner. Dogs will quickly learn that leash biting prolongs walk time.
2. Redirect your dog’s attention
Another technique is to redirect your dog’s attention onto something else when they bite the leash. The best way is with a basic obedience command such as ‘sit’. Provide positive reinforcement for each successful command to keep them focused on you instead of their leash.
Some dog’s will feel calmer if they have an object to carry during walking. If this is the case, it can be helpful to provide a stick or toy for them to carry instead of the leash.
3. Deter your dog from biting the leash
Directly hitting or punishing your dog may cause them to associate the punishment with you personally. Indirect punishment tactics, however, can work well in some cases. Indirect punishment refers to the use of a deterrent such as a spray bottle of water or shaking a can of stones (for dogs that don’t like the noise) whenever your dog bites the leash.
Another option is to make the leash undesirable for your dog. Consider trailing a different type of leash, such as chain, which generally does not feel comfortable in a dog’s mouth. A bitter tasting chewing deterrent can also be applied to the leash.
Walk time can be frustrating when you have a dog that bites the leash. Though once the behaviour has been successfully corrected, you can look forward to many stress free and enjoyable walks with your dog.