Does Your Dog or Puppy Run Away from The Leash?

Ivan Petersel CPDT – KA

  1. What should pet parents do if a puppy runs away when they see the leash?

This is very common, especially between 8 and 11 weeks old. Puppies go through two “fear periods“ the first is 8 to 11 weeks old and the other is 6 to 14 months old.

Puppies aren’t born knowing what“loose leash walking” means or that going for a walk can be fun. They just see a hand with a metal clasp coming at them and feel unsure.

My goal is for Dogs to come to the leash, not to chase them around. Coming towards the leash builds confidence. Here’s a few strategies to make the dog come towards the leash.

  1. Use an old leash or a friend’s leash that smells like another dog and put it on the floor. Allow your puppy to smell and investigate at their own pace.
  2. Pet your dog while holding the leash.
  3. Every time you put the leash near the puppy, you can click and treat. This way the leash becomes a predictor of something good not scary. Incrementally, you can get the leash, closer and closer.
  4. Dogs learn from other dogs. If you have access to another dog, show your puppy, how that dog responds to a leash.
  5. Show the puppy that the leash is not scary to you. Walk around with it, drape it over your neck, etc. Generalize it and just show the puppy that this is part of life and kind of like “white noise “
  6. have your dog engage with a “licky mat” “dog puzzle” or chew toy right next to the leash.
  7. Bring the leash out right before meal times. This will make a positive association.
  8. Once your puppy is clipped in, you don’t have to go for a walk. You can clip it on and off multiple times while giving rewards. This show is them that being clipped in does not have to be a stressful experience.
  9. On the flipside, what should pet parents do if their puppy gets too excited wearing the leash?

I see this all the time. It often starts with dog owners using a high-pitched voice and saying: “want to go for walk” “Want to go see your friends” “ want to go to the dog park?”

These dogs are often overstimulated outside, and it begins in the home.

The sight of the leash should not be super exciting or scary to the puppy.

Sometimes, the over excitement begins even before the leash comes out. For example, the leash may be in a drawer, and the dog is already excited, because they know when that drawer opens it has the leash in it. So you have to desensitize the dog to the leash, but the steps leading up to the leash.

Here’s what’s been successful for me with puppies like this. Simply picking up and putting down the leash dozens of times a day. I also make sounds with the metal clasp, etc…. I do this so many times that the dog eventually stops caring. The leash no longer is a predictor that we’re about to go for a walk. Then, when the dog is lying down and ignoring the leash, and being calm, this is when I go for a walk.

This teaches your puppy that calmness is the key to going on a walk. Not craziness.

What should pet parents do if their puppy wanders all over the place and can’t go in a straight line?

    There are many answers for this, but one easy techniques is to use “calming ovals.” People get stuck on the idea that they have to walk in a straight line. Walking in a large oval often helps dogs like this.

    Rewarding your puppy when they are in the proper position is vital. Puppies need feedback on what is appropriate behavior. Training puppies to walk on one side of your body makes it even more clear.

    What about puppies who tug on the leash? How can pet parents correct this?

      Pet parents should familiarize themselves with the concept of “leash pressure”. Simply put, you teach a puppy that giving into the pressure of the leash is the best choice.

      There are hundreds of YouTube videos on this topic. One way to get started with this is to put the leash on your puppy indoors under low distractions.

      Wait for the leash to be tight and as soon as the puppy comes towards you, click and reward for the puppy for making the right choice and making the leash loose. It’s a big topic, again I highly recommend people to search “dog leash pressure“ on YouTube.

      When a puppy tugs on the leash, tugging back is Not recommended because this makes it a rewarding game. In fact, stop walking and make it boring until they let go. Show your puppy that foward motion only happens when there is a loose leash.

      How can pet parents handle a puppy who bites on their leash?

        Some pups are more “mouthy” than others. Simply allowing them to carry something in their mouth that is not the leash often helps.

        Make sure to reward good behavior. Your puppy is likely often doing the right thing and not being acknowledged for it. Treat pouches make it easy to reward loose leash walking.

        The best time to interrupt, the behavior is right before your puppy puts the leash in their mouth. Interrupt the thought of biting the leash. It’s much easier to prevent a puppy from biting leash than it is to get it out of their mouth.

        Products, such as LEASH LINKS can be helpful as well but again, you have to reward good behavior and not just dissuade bad behavior.

        lastly, I would encourage Pet parents to not be frustrated. This is normal puppy behavior. Try to see it as way to get to know each other and into increase your skills as a handler. Next time you wake up, grab your leash and go for a jentacular walk!

        For more supernal dog information, don’t be silly, subscribe to MY DOG TRAINING YOUTUBE CHANNEL

        A Puppy Running away from the Leash is not a nightmare. It’s also something that does not have to last forever. Most people have the opposite problem. Many dogs get overly excited by the sight of a leash. Desensitizing / Counter conditioning a dog or puppy to the sight of a leash id a different process.

        Often, I can help clients with this problem virtually with a Zoom dog training session. Reach Out to Dog Wizardry for Virtual sessions that are offered worldwide for any doggy issue. Cat Training is also available.