Q: I walk a 7-month-old puppy who keeps chewing and pulling on his leash. How can I get him to stop so we can go on our long walks without him trying to lead? — Kim G.
A: If your pup considers the leash a chew toy, it’s a problem for two reasons:
(1) It’s frustrating to walk a dog who is yanking on the leash like a tug toy, and (2) it compromises the safety of the leash if your dog tears at it.
You’ll be happy to hear that fixing this problem is easy! Here’s how:
- Get two or three toy bones that are hollow in the middle so you can stuff moist food inside.
- Find the food treat your dog likes most — maybe turkey cold cuts, cheese, or peanut butter.
- Pre-stuff the bones and put them in your fridge. This way they are ready when you head out for a walk.
- When you’re ready to go for a walk, wait at the front door for your dog to sit — without you asking — prior to opening the door to head out. This first calm, self-control-inducing moment prior to walking out the door is vital.
- As you step out the door, hold the bone at your dog’s nose level. If you stuffed it wisely (i.e. with high value food) your dog will surely lick at it.
- Take a few steps while holding the bone for your dog to lick and then stop, take the bone away and wait for your dog to sit. Ignore any silliness like jumping and don’t say a word. Your dog will eventually offer a sit.
- Let him lick the bone again and take a few more steps forward. Over the course of a few days practice, gradually increase the steps in between licks of the bone.
Practice these steps and you are on the path to having a dog who can take 10, 20, 30, or more steps walking nicely without any leash chewing or pulling!
Andrea Arden, CPDT
Andrea Arden Dog Training
New York, NY
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