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Dog Biting on Leash? Learn How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting the Leash | Pupford

March 13th, 2023

Filed under Training

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Puppies are still learning to control their most natural impulses. It makes them especially prone to biting, chewing, and tugging on their leash because it is the main thing stopping them from answering their natural urges to let loose and run free.

The impulse to pull a leash is very common among puppies, as well as among older dogs. You may have been unknowingly encouraging the unwanted behavior. This is all too common and nothing to worry about. There are so many reasons why dogs & puppies decide to bite their leash, but if you consider the perspective of the dog it makes it easier to understand the logic of - why?


why puppies bite on leash

A leash is a real shock to a young dog because it is restricting them. Puppies are full of energy and excitement. Being met with this type of block can be frustrating or even appear as a fun challenge or game in their minds. Their reaction depends on each pup's own unique personality traits.

For some puppies, it is harmony from the beginning between them and their leash. For others, it takes some time to get used to. The goal is to get your puppy comfortable on the leash. Ideally, you want them to be at a point where the leash is not even noticeable or interesting to them so they can focus their energy on healthier activities.

When you reach this point with your puppy it usually equals more fun and enrichment for both you and your dog. You will be prepared to handle any situation where dogs are required to be leashed without worry, stress, or struggle.

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how to train your dog to stop biting on leash

As I mentioned before, the goal is harmony. Harmony between you, the leash, and your pup. Here are five tips on how to reach this goal…


Some leash-biting problems occur while you are trying to put the leash on your dog before you even begin your walk outside. This can become a real pain point for you. Happy and excited puppies can cause a lot of chaos and make even the simplest activities daunting. It's easy to lose motivation to even attempt going on a walk.

In this case, some in-home training can really benefit you and your pup. Focus on desensitizing your puppy to the leash by rewarding them with high-value treats when they don’t react to it. As you’ll see in our second tip, redirecting hyper puppy energy from the leash to a new toy in a strategic and consistent way can do wonders.

Keep the leash in the vicinity, within your pup’s line of sight, and reward your pup every time they pay attention to the new toy. In fact, reward them anytime they don’t focus or react to the leash. Consistent reward training in your home can help your dog focus on things you want them to, rather than hyperfocus on attacking the leash.


You want to discourage your dog from pulling on a leash, and one of the best ways to do that is by interrupting the behavior. When your dog is biting on a leash, break their attention. That may be by a treat or toy. But it’s also important that you don’t give them that treat right away as they could think that biting on a leash gets them a treat(aka it reinforces their biting). What you’ll want to do is ask them for a sit or other basic cue, then give them the treat.

If you need help working on basics like sit, stay, down, etc. check out this free program taught by Zak George.

Keep on practicing this and reward the behavior you want to see!

Note: This may solve the biting-on-the-leash issue, but could lead to more pulling. Here’s a video with some great pointers on how to teach your dog to not pull on a leash.


For some dogs, the reason they want to bite the leash is that they enjoy carrying something with them in their mouth. It can be comforting to bite down on a ball or chew a toy as they take in the outdoor ambiance.

Have a toy that is reserved for walks that your puppy can carry with them along the way. It’s also a smart idea to have toys reserved for different activities such as tug of war or fetch. Make sure to reward your pup every time they use the appropriate toys for their designated activity. This type of structure is mentally stimulating for them and becomes a healthy routine of good habits.

It’s important to be consistent and not let them use the leash for play “sometimes” because it will confuse the structure your dog has become used to. They will likely revert to “bad” habits because of the mixed signals you are sending them.

Try not to punish them for using the wrong toy. Instead, redirect them and reward them when they play in the correct way. Reward training is the best way to incentivize your dog.

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online dog training class 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get started here! 🐶


training tips for puppies biting leash

If your dog is biting and tugging on the leash, be careful to not respond with the same actions. Don’t tug the leash back. When they see this type of response it is an instant reward to them because they got you to play their game.

They receive your reaction to tug back as a positive, rewarding response from you. When you are in a controlled environment, try dropping the leash on the ground and giving them no attention back when they tug the leash. This is best practiced in the comfort of your own home so they are not able to run away when you let go of the leash.

If you are in public, you can try dropping the leash and stepping on it while giving them no response until they calm down. Once they are calm, be sure to reward that behavior with a high-value treat. Remember to always make sure you are in a safe environment away from dangerous things like cars passing by and stranger dogs.


puppy biting leash when walking

Even if your dog has made strides and does not pull on leashes anymore, it’s always good to be prepared for regressions from your pup. You want to have a backup plan when you are at a veterinarian’s office or bringing your dog to the office. Basically, any place where an intense tug-of-war match between you and your dog would be less than ideal.

Bring high-value treats to avoid making a scene with your overly playful pup. If they start to pull and bite on the leash, neutralize that behavior by distracting them with a high-value treat. Practice your diversion techniques at home first so you are ready for these situations. Consider clicker training. This type of training relies on the clicking sound to snap the dog out of high-excitement moments. They are able to focus because they know the clicking sound means they are going to get a treat.


If you’re needing help with pulling on a leash, check out this video below.

In conclusion, for some dogs, pulling and playing with a leash just makes sense. It looks and IS fun for them and they usually have playful intentions. It’s up to you to guide your pup in the right direction - both literally with the leash and intellectually with stimulating and rewarding puppy-training techniques.

Our goal is to help all pups and pup parents by providing valuable tools, treats, and training resources. Check out Pupford Academy for more ways to help your pup grow up healthy and happy.

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online dog training class 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get started here! 🐶


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