Some dogs get overly excited on walks and as a result, will start grabbing and tugging on the leash. Dogs may engage in this behavior as a result of seeing another dog or, in some cases, the dog may think it is really fun. Whatever the reason, this behavior is not fun for the human on the other end of the leash!
Here are some management and training techniques you can use to reduce this behavior:
- Use a chain leash. Most dogs won’t bite or tug on a chain leash. Note that chain leashes can be rough on the hands, so you may choose to wear gloves when using this type of leash.
- Apply a chew deterrent to a regular nylon leash. Chew deterrent sprays can be purchased from a pet store. Note that the instructions on the bottle usually suggest spraying it on, but often this isn’t enough of a deterrent so you may want to soak the leash. It will evaporate over a day or two and will need to be re-applied.
- Bring a tug toy along on the walk to give the dog a more appropriate target for grabbing.
- Avoid things that may cause your dog to become overly excited during walks. This may include seeing or being in proximity to other dogs, seeing squirrels, joggers, etc.
- Bring a treat pouch filled with lots of super yummy treats on all walks. We recommend pea-size pieces of cheese, hot dogs or chicken.
- Give your dog treats when they calmly walk next to you without grabbing the leash. Be generous! We recommend giving treats every one to two seconds—if the dog is remaining calm.
- If your dog fixates on your hand when you’re giving treats, try dropping treats on the ground instead of hand feeding. This prevents them from fixating on your hand as the source of treats and helps to encourage calm behavior as they sniff out treats on the ground.
- If your dog grabs the leash, ask for an alternate behavior, such as sit, hand target or drop it. If your dog does not know these cues, you can use treats to encourage your dog to drop the leash.
- Hold a small handful of treats next to your dog’s nose. When your dog smells the treats, they should release the leash. Praise your dog and give them the treats!
- As your dog starts to relax during walks and focus more on you and less on grabbing the leash, you can start giving treats less frequently.
Contact our Behavior Specialists at [email protected] or (212) 876-7700 x4191