Biting the Leash

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Biting the Leash

One often sees a new dog at the club with what looks like a fairly new and expensive leash that has been damaged by teeth marks. This already puts the relationship between owner and dog on the wrong footing. Puppies in particular, with their
teething problems are culprits here and may be injured when the handler jerks on the leash to get the pup to let go or stop biting.

My advice is always to make your first puppy leash out of a light piece of rope, followed by an old leash for training. Save the better or new ones for shows and visits. All my pups start sleeping in a cardboard box and get an old, worn-out leash
for training.  Once dogs have developed good habits they deserve special privileges and can be trusted with a nice
leash.

Leashes must never be left with or attached to an unsupervised dog.

What can be done?

Voice control over your dog should always be the aim. Time spent on the “Leave” command is a must.

Take a tasty tidbit between your fingers and sit down near the dog while holding it about the height of the dog’s head. Play with the food so that he can see it. As soon as the dog tries to get it, close the food in your fist and firmly say, “Leave it!”  (This is my bone). The dog is likely to ignore you, lick your fist or even nibble at it, so you stare at him and repeat, Leave it!” When the dog realises that you are not going to release the food and backs off, open your hand and say, “Take it.” Do not give the treat to the dog. Let him come forward and take it from your open palm.

Repeat as often as needed until the dog understands what “Leave it!” and “Take it” means. What you are aiming to achieve is for the dog to immediately back off when he hears “Leave it!Some trainers prefer to use the “Off” command instead of “Leave” so that it can be applied when the dog is on the bed or couch.

However, the following changes to the leash to discourage biting should be tried before leash biting gets out of hand.

White vinegar or Citronella oil can be applied to the lower section of the leash. Vaseline and perfume as well as some hot sauces may also be applied successfully. See which one works best for your dog.

In some serious cases owners have opted for chain leashes to discourage biting. They are not easy on the hands and are heavy which makes voice control difficult. The dog is constantly aware of the heavy chain and reacts to its movements rather than listening to the owner’s voice. Chains can cause damage to their teeth.

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