Leash Biting

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There are several reasons why dogs bite their leash.  Some do it out of boredom, some out of play, and some out of control.  Regardless of the reason, the result will be that your dog will control an interaction with you.  An interaction that could lead to problems when you really need your dog to listen to you.

Leash biting can be an annoying habit.  Not only is it annoying, but it allows your dog to control the interaction.  If your dog is controlling this interaction it will be much less likely, if not impossible, for you to control your dog’s behavior on a walk when you need to.  Here are some tips on how to stop this habit.

#1  Allow your dog to carry a toy in his mouth

#2  Teach the “drop it” command and reward dropping of the leash

#3  Use a Gentle Leader.  When you apply some tension on the leash it will automatically close your dogs mouth, gently of course.

#4  Abruptly change directions.

#5  Step on the leash approximately 6 inches below the point that he is holding in.  He will likely not want him muzzle that close to the ground.  Hold this position, while being silent, until he releases, then resume the walk.

#6  Walk fast, like you’re late for a very important appointment.  Do not allow your dog to “sniff & pee” the entire time.

#7  Use a chain leash.  Be careful with this one.  Most dogs do not like to chew on metal, but some do.  In a battle between enamel and metal, metal will win.

#8  Never pull back.  This can turn into a game of tug of war.

What tricks do you use to combat leash biting?  Let me know!

14 thoughts on “Leash Biting

  1. we have a malinois cross and he is 1yr and a bit old, very high energy and his breed is known for being a clown, he does bite the lead for play and control, we usually tell him to drop and he listens most of the time, if he doesnt listen we usually just stop and he gets the message! we have trained him ourselves from a very young age, he knows how to sit, lay down, both paws, stand and wait, stay, leave etc he knows a lot of tricks and it very obedient, but id like some answers on how to control him around people, when he was castrated the vest were too ruff with him and he was scared and he didnt understand y there were 5 vets trying to pin him down to put him out and he got viscous, they said he was the most viscous dog they’ve ever had, he is genrally a very nice non viscous dog! and after that he has been scared of people he doesnt know, his hair goes up on his back and he growls and barks and the people get very scared but after the initial greeting hes a normal playful puppy again, we would love to know a solution to stop this… could you help??
    holly

    • i also forgot to add he is well sociable with dogs and friends etc, just people he doesnt know he has a problem with… he has got so much better over the last couple of months but he still does it! he also has a problem with little children, he doesnt calm down after bout 5 minutes when children are around… its worrying! please help !!

    • Hello Holly,

      There are a few things you need to do in this situation. The first is going to be to try to get help from the people that he is apprehensive of. Most people approach a dog the wrong way. They will make eye contact while approaching the dog, speak with more volume than usual, reach out and over them while standing/hovering over them, and they may even try to hug and kiss the dog. These are all very rude greetings in the canine world. Some dogs do not mind, others do. Dogs greet one another with their noses, nose to butt, then nose to flank, then nose to nose. What happens when a dog puts his nose in a persons crotch? They get pushed away, yet this is NORMAL canine behavior. We are denying the dog it’s proper way of saying hello. So, have the person in question stand still while avoiding eye contact, being silent, and make no attempt to pet your dog until your dog has had the opportunity to properly say hello with his nose. If your dog relaxes around the person, have them call your dog over to them and ask him to sit. If he complies, the person can give a food reward. All petting should be done under the chin (not a pat on the top of the head) or chest. Having the person squat down and turn to the side (vs facing the dog square on) can also help to make the dog feel more comfortable. If your dog does not want to interact with someone, do not force him to. This usually just makes things worse. Patience is the key with fearful/apprehensive dogs. It’s important to go at their pace and not force anything. Force is likely what has triggered this behavior. Sedation would have been much more preferable to using brute force. Try these tips out. If they do not help, we can talk about a detailed desensitization and counter-conditioning program :-). Thanks for the question!

      • A special note about children… Use the techniques as stated above, but NEVER EVER leave a child unattended with any dog, especially one the is leery of kids. Kids don’t always make good decisions. Some like to poke eyes, pull ears and tails, they are unsteady on their feet, they try to hug and kiss the dog, and lots of them are at eye level and will naturally make eye contact. These are all a recipe for disaster.

  2. thank you, we will be sure to try these things out! i will let you know if they do not work, but i hope they do!! :) it all seems very easy to do when it is written down lol thanks again!
    holly

  3. hi again :)
    i keep forgetting to do anything when people come over about his behaviour because i an so used to doing it this way but someone just came over and he started to make his fuffing noises and my brother sent him to his bed and told him to lie down, he did do as he was told but he was very load about it and made sure that he made his point to us… and he was making a lot of sqeeky growny noises because we weren’t letting him growl and bark at the people who came by! it was much easier to control him this way because they didnt come in the house, my grandad went out to see them so they havent said hello to him , it was a much calmer situation that they didnt come in!!! we dont get many people come here so it takes ages to be able to try things out with him!!! lol
    holly

  4. a progress note!! :) we are currently looking after a dog from yesterday, and the owners knocked on the door, my dog went to the door and all he did was put his hair up on end but didnt make any noise at all!! i was very very pleased with that! and he gets on well with the dog too so that is an added bonus!!! i think before as he is going through his teenage stages, he went through a tantrum stage, and he seems to be going through at the moment quite a good patch, which i hope lasts a while!! lol :)

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