Puppies might have a lot to learn, but they quickly master the fine art of chewing. And there's little that can separate your pup from gnawing on his leash. A little bit of training or a few accessories can help break your canine youngster of the bad habit.
Make getting ready to go on a walk a little less exciting. Taking in a whiff of fresh air and seeing what nature has to offer is fun for you and your puppy, but too much excitement can cause him to flip his lid. The result is often a leash that finds its way into your puppy's mouth. Instead of letting your little guy know it's time to go outside, calmly grab his leash, ask him to sit, and secure it to his collar or harness. Don't clap or even say a word.
Grab his attention when he goes in for a bite. Rather than trying to yank the leash out of his mouth or trying to fight the little rascal for it, give a sharp "ah" and tell him to sit. This works best if you catch him just as he's snapping at the leash. If he's already fully engaged with the inanimate enemy, you're going to have a much harder time getting him to listen.
Teach your puppy the "drop" command. While this won't stop his little teeth from grabbing on to the leash in the first place, it does give you an easy way to make him spit it out. Start out by grabbing one of your puppy's favorite toys and giving it to him. The second he takes it, whip out a treat and offer it to him. Say "drop." He probably won't be able to resist the temptation of food, so as soon as he drops the toy in anticipation of the treat, give him the treat and tell him he's a good boy. Keep doing this a few times each day until he drops whatever is in his mouth on command.
Opt for a harness. One of the downsides to clipping your puppy's leash onto his collar is that the leash has a tendency to hang down, often in front of or to the side of his mouth. Instead of giving him the opportunity to chew, outfit him in a harness so the leash is positioned more toward his shoulders and back. He might still be able to grab it, but he'll have to really make an effort to do so.
Try a chain leash. Your little guy might love the feeling of leather or nylon in his mouth, but chances are he won't much enjoy the taste or feel of a chain. But be careful with this. If he still chomps down, switch back to your nylon or leather leash. You don't want to hurt his teeth.
Coat the leash with a chewing deterrent. Lots of pet stores carry bitter sprays that many puppies won't even consider touching. Spray a tiny bit on the bottom half of his leash and he may decide it's better to just leave the darn thing alone.
Give him a ball to carry. A puppy's love of chewing has to do with teething, excitement and not knowing any better. Even if you do everything you can to discourage leash chewing, your puppy might still do it until he eventually outgrows it. Keep a ball or his favorite toy at your side while you go for walks and offer it to him in place of his leash. Even some grown dogs prefer to carry something in their mouths while on walks.
- If you decide on a harness and your little guy pulls, use a no-pull harness.
- Your puppy might hate a chain leash because it's much heavier than one that's leather or nylon.
- Do not rip the leash out of your puppy's mouth, especially if you're using a chain leash.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.