I’ve had the pleasure of raising multiple puppies over the years. And one of the most common things between them all – they all have bitten on the leash!
It’s been a challenge.
To the point where I needed to attend many dog training sessions.
I have even consulted with multiple dog behaviorist experts and specialists on the topic.
Seeing this as such a common issue in new puppy parents, I thought I would share my experience and knowledge on this subject, addressing the reasons behind this behavior and perhaps even more importantly (and why you are likely here) how to overcome it.
Why do puppies bite on the leash?
Puppies bite on the leash due to their natural curiosity and need to explore their surroundings using their mouths; it is a normal part of their learning process as they become accustomed to being on a leash. Other potential reasons include teething discomfort, playfulness, boredom, and stress or anxiety.
Let’s explore the latter reasons in further detail:
Puppies go through a teething phase, which can be uncomfortable for them.
Chewing on the leash can help alleviate the discomfort they feel in their gums.
Puppies are energetic and playful creatures.
Biting on the leash can be a form of play for them, especially if they are not yet used to the sensation of being on a leash.
Sometimes, puppies bite the leash out of boredom.
If they are not getting enough physical and mental stimulation, they may resort to chewing on the leash as a way to entertain themselves.
Stress or anxiety
In some cases, puppies may bite the leash due to stress or anxiety.
This could be a reaction to new surroundings, unfamiliar people, or even the sensation of being on a leash for the first time.
Should I let my puppy bite on the leash?
You should not let your puppy bite on the leash. Allowing this behavior can lead to a damaged leash, reinforce bad habits, and pose safety concerns, such as accidentally biting your hand or someone else’s.
While it might be tempting to let your puppy chew on the leash to keep them occupied, allowing this behavior to continue is not a good idea.
Let’s explore these problems in a little further detail.
Allowing your puppy to bite on the leash can lead to several problems:
- Damaged leash: Over time, your puppy’s sharp teeth can cause significant damage to the leash, making it unsafe for use.
- Reinforcing bad habits: Allowing your puppy to bite on the leash can reinforce this behavior, making it more difficult to break the habit in the future.
- Safety concerns: If your puppy gets used to biting the leash, they might accidentally bite your or someone else’s hand while attempting to chew on it.
How do I get my puppy to stop biting on the leash?
To get your puppy to stop biting on the leash, you’ll need patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Get a good leash
Invest in a high-quality, durable leash that can withstand your puppy’s bites without getting damaged.
A sturdy leash will also make it easier for you to maintain control during training sessions.
This high-quality, versatile leash is ideal and perfect for even the most persistent of biters.
Learn more: Best Leash For Puppy Training
Redirect their attention
When your puppy starts biting on the leash, redirect their attention to something more appropriate, like a chew toy or a treat.
This will help them understand that the leash is not meant for chewing.
Use a taste deterrent
Apply a taste deterrent, like bitter apple spray, to the leash.
This will make the leash less appealing and discourage your puppy from biting it.
Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation
Make sure your puppy gets enough physical and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored and resorting to biting the leash.
Regular walks, playtime, and training sessions can help tire them out and keep their minds engaged.
Utilize Positive reinforcement
Whenever your puppy walks nicely without biting the leash, be sure to reward them with praise and treats.
This will help reinforce the behavior you want to see.
Consistency is key when training your puppy. Make sure to consistently redirect their attention, use taste deterrents, and reward good behavior.
Over time, your puppy will learn that biting the leash is not acceptable.
With patience and determination, you can help your puppy understand that biting the leash is unacceptable.
It’s important to remember that every puppy is different, and some may take longer to learn than others.
Stay patient and keep working with your puppy, and soon enough, you should find that you are raising a well-behaved pup who walks nicely on the leash without any biting incidents.
What Not to Do When Getting Your Puppy to Stop Biting on the Leash
While training your puppy to stop biting on the leash, it’s important to avoid certain actions that may inadvertently reinforce this behavior or cause harm to your pup. Here are some things to avoid:
Punishment or harsh corrections
Avoid using punishment or harsh physical corrections, as they can create fear or anxiety in your puppy, which may lead to more biting or other unwanted behaviors.
Yanking the leash
Don’t yank or jerk the leash in response to your puppy biting it.
This may cause injury to your pup and can also encourage them to bite even more due to the sudden movement.
Shouting or yelling
Avoid shouting or yelling at your puppy when they bite the leash.
This can create confusion and stress, making it harder for them to understand what you want from them.
Don’t allow your puppy to bite the leash sometimes but not others.
Consistency is key when training; allowing this behavior intermittently will only confuse your puppy.
Ignoring the behavior
Don’t simply ignore your puppy’s leash biting.
Address the issue with appropriate training and redirection, as ignoring it can make the behavior ingrained and more difficult to correct later on.
Getting your puppy to stop biting on the leash requires understanding the reasons behind the behavior and addressing them through redirection, taste deterrents, exercise, and positive reinforcement.
As a seasoned dog owner, I can attest that with patience, consistency, and sufficient training, your puppy will learn to walk on the leash without resorting to biting.
Try to enjoy the process, even as difficult as it may seem, as these early days with your puppy do not last long.
But they are of equal importance, too; for they will lay the foundation for a strong and loving bond between the two of you for years to come.
Related guides you may want to read:
- Should A Puppy Be On The Leash All The Time?
- What Age Should You Start Leash Training A Puppy?
- How Long Does It Takes To Leash Train A Puppy?
- Why Does My Puppy Bite Me When I Pet Him?
- Why Does My Puppy Bite His Tail?
- Why Does My Puppy Bite His Paws?
- Why Does My Puppy Bite My Ears?
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.