How to Stop Your Dog From Biting the Leash On Walks

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 5.13.43 PMA lot of us enjoy walking with our dogs. Something that I see happen frequently is the dog happily grabbing the leash and trying to turn the leisurely walk into a game of tug. This can lead to frustration and a sore arm. So how do we solve this problem?

The first thing you need to do is be proactive. What I mean by this is, don't wait until your dog grabs the leash to give direction. Prior to the leash grabbing you need to ask your dog to do behaviors you'd like instead. My favorite is asking the dog to look at me, or even just rewarding the dog heavily for walking with me and not going after the leash. As you'll see in the video below, my goal is to teach the dog to walk with me in small increments without biting the leash. The end goal is to be able to take lots of steps in between those food rewards. Ultimately it comes down to giving your dog direction. I like to mix in some sits, downs, "leave its" and as I mentioned above, making eye contact with me.

Most of the time, dogs are grabbing the leash because it's fun. Our job is to show them that more fun comes from doing what we ask. When you ask your dog to do something be sure to provide awesome rewards. These can come in the form of food or toy. (Food will probably be the easiest for most people in this situation.)

Lastly, it's a great idea to give your dog an appropriate outlet for playing tug. Get a rope toy and use that specifically for tug. Bring it out to play tug, and put it away when the game ends. Make sure you teach your dog to "drop" the rope toy as well like I demo in the video. By playing tug, it will help fulfill your dog's need to play tug which will help decrease the frequency of him trying to do it on walks.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Biting the Leash?


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Positively Expert: Kevin Duggan

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio , where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC.


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3 thoughts on “How to Stop Your Dog From Biting the Leash On Walks

  1. Elizabeth McEwen

    I have also noticed some of the more anxious or naturally oral dogs (like retrievers) like hold their leash as a "security blanket". For these dogs, giving them something else to carry helps. It can be as simple as a toy, or for a dog that benefits from more responsibility, the "task" of carrying a bag.

  2. Cristina Sulzener

    I took my puppy from a dog foster home about a year ago. I love him to bits; he has a great personality, and I feel that he loves our family so much. BUT, he bites and chews a lot. How to stop it?
    My husband and I were thinking about taking him to 'doggy school', but then again, it’s extremely expensive, and the nearest 'doggy school' is far away from us. Maybe you have some advice? THANK YOU!!!!

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