It is quite common to notice that some dogs bite when walking. Many times, it is usually a behavior that occurs in puppies, but if we do not provide the appropriate guide to our furry during this stage, most likely, it will continue to do so as an adult. This behavior can be very unpleasant, since if your dog bites the leash, it means that you have probably had to buy more than one because it ends up breaking easily.
For this reason, if you are interested in knowing why your dog bites the leash and you want to solve it, we invite you to read this article by Animal Expert, in which we can help you.
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- Why does my dog bite the leash when walking?
- Is it good for my dog to bite the leash?
- What to do if my dog bites the leash?
Why does my dog bite the leash when walking?
This behavior usually begins at younger ages, that is, it is possible that your puppy bites the leash or that it has done it during this stage and you have not been able to solve it effectively, so that now your adult dog is still doing this behavior . Let’s see then, what are the most common causes in both puppies and adults:
Game and instinct
The puppy tends to bite due to his unstoppable desire to play with everything that moves and his curiosity and need to interact with the environment. This game is part of his instinct, that is, the strap is perceived as a prey to catch. It is also common that we observe how it plays by shaking it from side to side and trialling it, movements associated with this hunting instinct. In adults, this instinct is also present, but through proper education the behavior of trying to catch the leash can be corrected. If it is not done, it is possible to observe that the dog jumps and bites the leash to catch it, especially when it is in movement.
Similarly, it is possible to see this behavior in adult dogs who are bored . The lack of stimulation generates a nervous state of mind and the need to entertain yourself with what you see interesting, in this case, the strap. Normally, dogs with this problem tend to be quite destructive in general, not only will they break the leash, but other household objects as well.
You may also have felt threatened if your dog ever chews on a leash and growls at you . The explanation for rejecting you is usually due to several factors, but mainly it is because for your furry it is necessary to protect the strap . Therefore, he is afraid that you will take away and cut off his entertainment, and that, instinctively, he wants to prevent you from stealing his prey. This situation tends to worsen more if you have ever fought him, since as a consequence you have become a threat to him. Protecting resources with objects such as a leash or necklace is unusual, but can occur. Therefore, we recommend you consult this article if it is the case of your dog: “ The possessive dog – Protection of resources ”.
Puppies during the teething period have the need to calm the pain that the growth of the teeth produces, biting various objects around them. For this reason, your puppy can bite the leash if it is within reach, just like the collar.
For more information on how to teach a puppy not to bite, we recommend reading: “ How to teach a puppy not to bite? ”
He doesn’t like the strap
In the event that you have not been properly taught or accustomed to walking tied as a puppy, it is natural to observe that your dog bites the leash with rage. In a way, we can understand it as a “rebellion”, since for your dog it is really frustrating not to have the freedom of movement that they would have without being tied and, on top of that, they must be supporting a constant pressure on the neck or the whole body (depending whether you are wearing a collar or harness). If your dog has not learned to walk calmly and without pulling on the leash, which can cause pain, it is totally normal to bite the leash when putting it on and during the walk. This state of confusion and discomfort creates a state of stress in the dog that redirects by biting the leash.
Is it good for my dog to bite the leash?
This behavior can pose a risk to the physical health of your dog, since if your puppy bites the leash while you are not watching him, he could accidentally swallow a piece and could hurt himself and even drown.
If your dog bites the leash when walking, it is also a risk because he could be in an accident if he breaks it and runs away. You could run away and cross the road, or you could even pose a risk to others if, for example, you approach a fearful dog or inadvertently throw someone down.
What to do if my dog bites the leash?
As we have seen, this behavior could be an inconvenience in the day to day with our dog, especially at the time of the walk. Fortunately, whatever the reason your dog is biting the leash, it has a solution.
Prevent your puppy from biting the leash
First of all, if your dog is still a puppy, you should redirect this behavior as soon as possible to avoid future problems. For this reason, when you notice that your furry plays with the strap or bites it to relieve the pain of dental growth, you will have to stop the game in a friendly way . To do this, follow these steps:
- Grab the leash so you can’t continue playing with it.
- Encourage him to play with a similar toy, for example, by shaking a suitable rope by his side.
- Once you bite down on the right object, reward it byplaying with it on the string, with candy, or sweet words.
If you are consistent with this habit, your puppy will come to understand that the leash is not fun, but that it has other more interesting and rewarding alternatives. Conversely, if you remove the leash from your puppy without giving him any alternative, scolding him, etc., you will only achieve the opposite effect, that he growls at you when you want to remove the leash from his mouth, that he tries to hide … These steps and tips are also applicable to newly adopted adult dogs that exhibit this behavior.
Cover all your needs
Another cause, related to the previous one, is the fact that the dog is bored . If your dog does not have toys at home or does physical and mental exercises that keep him busy, in the end, he will end up looking for his way of entertaining himself, among them, biting what is within his reach. As guardians, we must understand that each dog has its specific needs in order to guarantee adequate well-being, there are more active dogs than others and, therefore, knowing the physical exercise that our dog needs per day will be essential. In addition, environmental enrichment in the home will also be relevant, so you must provide cognitively demanding activities.
Desensitization and counterconditioning
Last but not least, when this behavior is due to the fact that there has been a bad learning of the use of the leash and, during the walk, the animal develops an aversion to it, you will have to gradually teach your dog that the leash is not punishment through procedures called “desensitization and counterconditioning”. This process will consist of putting the collar and the leash on your dog for a short time and rewarding him at the moment, so that you will achieve that he associates the fact of wearing a leash as something positive . Little by little, you will increase the time in which your dog wears the leash, as you see that he is not bothered.
In turn, you must teach him to walk properlyin order to get him to understand what the walk is about and to avoid constantly pulling the strap, which generates stress and pain in the long term. To teach him this routine, first practice indoors, moving around with your furry on a leash and successively rewarding him to stay by your side. When the leash tightens, because it will have gone too far, stay still and call your dog to reward him again when he talks to you. As you learn this behavior, you can increase the difficulty by adding interesting elements for him outside his range (like someone else). In this way, when you want to go to that element, you must call it (with patience) and reward it when it goes to you.
As you dominate the situation, you should practice this activity outside the home in places where there are not many distractions to make sure that your dog will be watching you. To learn more about how to teach him to walk on a leash, you may want to read: ” Teach an adult dog on a leash to walk .”
Go to an ethologist
If you can not correct the behavior and your dog continues to bite the leash and even growls and bites you, we recommend you go to a veterinary specialist in ethology to assess the situation and tell you what to do. A canine educator can also help you.