Why Does My Dog Keep Biting His Leash?

By Bethany Tate

Reasons why your dog bites his leash

He Thinks it’s Playtime

Your dog might bite his or her leash because they think it’s a toy. Dogs don’t automatically know the difference between a leash and a chew toy, or a walk and playtime at home. Your dog has to be trained on what leash time means and what his expected behavior should be while on a leash (more than that in a minute).  

Puppy Teething

Puppys chew on leashes while teething. In fact, puppies chew on a lot of things while teething. When their first set of teeth come in, it creates a lot of pressure in their gums. Puppies often chew on things to help relieve their discomfort. Once the teeth come in and the teething stops, the chewing behavior usually goes down as well. 

So if your puppy is getting their first set of chompers and chews on their leash, don’t worry. It should just be a phase.  

He Wants Attention

Dogs who don’t get enough quality time with their owners will sometimes misbehave to get their owner’s attention. If you scold or punish your dog for chewing on the leash you may actually be incentivizing the bad behavior, if your dog is otherwise starved for attention. For a dog, negative attention is better than no attention at all. 

Pent Up Energy

If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise each day it will result in pent up energy, which may lead to behavioral issues like leash chewing. Your dog could be so excited to go on a walk that they simply can’t contain themselves and start chewing on their leash. 

How do I get my dog to stop biting the leash?

Desensitization and Positive Affirmation

If your dog is getting overly excited around the leash then it might be time to try some desensitization training. Slowly reintroduce your dog to their leash and encourage calm behavior while doing so. Walk with your dog up to the leash while you’re in the house. Start by going near the leash, but not picking it up. Stay in that general area until your dog calms down, and praise or reward him once he does calm down. Follow the same process as you pick up the leash, put the leash on him, and leave with the leash. Step by step your dog will begin to understand that you expect and desire calm behavior around the leash. 

Should I let my puppy bite his leash?

Some pet parents aren’t bothered by the behavior and let their dog chew on their leash, but in general it’s usually better to not let a puppy chew on their leash. If your puppy is teething it’s best to keep the leash out of reach while not on walks, if for no other reason than to save the leash from the unneeded wear and tear. 

If your puppy is past teething and has a behavioral issue, then it may be time to leash train them. Leash training makes for a more enjoyable walking experience for dogs and pet parents alike.  

Photo of author
Bethany Tate
Writing and analyzing data are her superpowers. Dogs, nature, and trail running are her oxygen. Bethany passionately believes pets make the world a better place. Her world is made better by Nemo, her pet dachshund.