Does your puppy like to chew on his leash like what he did on his favorite toys?
Are you concerned that persistent chewing of the leash could lead to health issues if he accidentally swallows the falling parts of the leash?
Do you want to know ways to get your puppy to do away with his chewing habit?
If so, this POST is for You!
Your puppy will chew on his leash if it is causing him discomfort or restricting his freedom. He could be doing it out of boredom, to ease his separation anxiety or to relieve his teething discomfort. Reward him for not chewing (positive reinforcement) and make the leash unappealing for him to chew on.
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Alleviate His Frustration
Your puppy could be feeling uncomfortable with a leash that controls his movement, and he is chewing it as an attempt to break free from it.
It will certainly take time for him to get comfortable with a leash and what you can do is:
1. Keep the leash loose and not too tight so that he can easily move around.
I would suggest just putting a collar with a leash on him and letting him move around freely in the home without any restrictions for the first 2 days.
2. If you see him chewing on the leash, tell him “No” and give him a treat the moment he stops his chewing and gives you his attention.
You can also give him something else to chew on so that he has something else to focus on besides the leash.
Start with just a short duration of him on a leash to get him used to it. After a couple of days, start to lengthen the amount of time you have him on the leash.
Once he gets used to being on the leash, slowly start to increase the duration of time you spend with him on it and maintain some control over the leash.
Make sure the leash is not too tight on his neck nor too loose around his body. If it is too tight, he will begin to choke; if it is too loose, he will begin to run away from you!
Do the leash training indoors till he gets really used to it.
Do not take him out for a walk on a leash too soon as there are lots of stimuli in the outdoor environment, and he will get excited and want to give chase.
This will incur frustration for him as he is constrained by the leash.
Do the outdoor walking only when he learns to behave himself (likely after you have started him on obedience training).
Ease His Discomfort
You should take a closer look at your puppy’s collar and leash.
Are there any things that make him uncomfortable?
He may be chewing at the leash, but the fact is that the material of the collar is making him uncomfortable.
As he couldn’t possibly chew the collar, he could only do it on the leash instead.
So, do your investigation to find out which is the trigger and replace it with something more suitable for him.
You can get a variety of collars and leashes from different manufacturers with various features, styles and materials.
I would suggest you get one with a soft material like nylon or polyester.
You should also consider getting a leash that is shorter so that your puppy won’t have anything to gnaw on when he is attached to his collar.
Make The Leash Taste “Bad”
Your puppy will certainly not put his mouth on something that he considers to be unpleasant.
You can apply some solution such as a bitter apple that he doesn’t like on the leash and that should deter him from any chewing.
This will make him associate chewing the leash with that unpleasant taste and, before you know it, he is keeping his mouth off that leash.
Take Care Of His Teething Pain
Your puppy could be in his teething period, and he is getting comfort from chewing his leash.
You see, a puppy will lose his baby teeth around the age of eight weeks and begin to grow his adult teeth.
This is the stage where he will start to feel discomfort and his gums will also get sore.
Your puppy will need a little help with this process.
You can give him some chewing toys like rawhide or bully sticks. Make sure they are safe for your pup to chew on (no nuts, no bones, etc.) and keep an eye on him so that he is not chewing on anything unsafe.
If you prefer to go for some natural chewing stuff, you can consider cold carrots as well as frozen fruits such as strawberries or bananas.
Give him a toy to carry around in his mouth. This way, he’ll have something to keep himself occupied and won’t be chewing on his leash.
Puppy teething typically takes four to six months to complete, and the timelines could vary according to the breed.
Getting Rid of His Boredom
Your puppy could be chewing on his leash because he is bored and is looking for some kind of “entertainment”.
Make sure your puppy has plenty of exercise and fresh, interesting things to do. This will keep him mentally and physically “stimulated”.
What you should do is, make your puppy run errands or engage him in some physical games such as Frisbee or playing hide-and-seek.
You can also play with him some brain games such as Kong Chew Toy, LESES Dog Puzzle, Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball or even some basic obedience training.
I would consider training as a form of mental simulation as well. Your puppy will need to learn how to interpret and follow your instructions.
That would be something that keeps his mind active and sharp.
He will be less likely to chew on his leash if there are lots of things to do and that keeps him busy.
Relieve His Separation Anxiety
Do you find your puppy only starts chewing his leash when you leave him alone?
If that is the case, he could be suffering from separation anxiety and needs some special attention.
You see, chewing offers some form of anxiety relief for him because this action releases endorphins in his brain which offer a “feel good” experience and makes him calm down.
Puppies will experience a natural fear when they are left alone for prolonged periods of time.
They are extremely dependent on their caregivers and, as a result, suffer great distress when they are separated from them.
This fear can become especially pronounced in certain breeds such as Toy Poodle, German Shepherd, Jack Russell terrier and Bichon Frise.
Puppies who are excessively fearful of being alone often grow up to be dogs who are fearful and anxious in many situations as well.
So it is important to work on easing his anxiety as early as possible.
Here are some tips that may help:
1. Never punish or scold your puppy for being anxious and chewing on the leash. This will only cause him to become even more fearful and aggressive when he is alone.
2. Start crate training him. Your puppy will see the crate as his den, and will learn to feel safe and secure in his crate.
When you put him in his crate for nap time, bedtime, or anytime you are not with him, he will learn that it is okay to relax and get calm.
This will be a big step toward helping him learn how to remain calm when he is alone.
The idea is to teach him that being alone is not scary, and that there are many good things about being alone, such as he gets to play with his favorite toys in a secure and personal space (his crate).
3. If you are leaving your puppy alone for a very long period of time (i.e, overnight), use the crate as discussed above.
This will help him get used to the idea that even though he will be alone, he will be safe and secure in his den.
4. Always talk to your puppy in a soothing voice and give him frequent opportunities to interact with you.
Reward Desirable Behavior
To make your puppy do away with his chewing habit, you must make him feel that it is more rewarding to stop doing any chewing.
This can be accomplished through positive reinforcement, where he gets a treat every time he stops chewing when you ask him to do so.
Make the treat to be extremely enticing for him so that he cannot simply resist it.
Use something that he really likes, such as real chicken or salmon meats, cheese or hot dogs.
I would not recommend that you use those dry hard kibbles as they are unlikely to get his attention from what he is doing (which is chewing his leash).
Teach him that by responding to your command “No” and giving up his chewing immediately, GOOD things will happen, and he will get a reward.
He will quickly learn to associate the benefit of NOT chewing his leash with getting a yummy reward.
With proper training, your puppy will understand what you want him to do, and he will do it without hesitation in order to please you.
You can then gradually decrease the amount of treats that he is given and replace them with just praise.
By simply reinforcing the behavior you want to see and soon enough, your puppy will get the idea.
Use Of Electronic Collar
An electronic training collar is a small transmitter that is attached to your puppy’s collar. It has a receiver unit which must be held by you with a remote control.
When your puppy pulls against the leash in an attempt to chew it, the receiver unit sends a tiny signal to the transmitter on the collar.
This signal makes the transmitter give a mild electrical shock to your puppy. The shock is very mild and only occurs when he pulls the leash. It is similar to a gentle prick with a pin.
It is extremely important to never allow your puppy to receive a shock from the transmitter on his training collar when he is not pulling against the leash.
That’s it! Your puppy will learn very quickly that whenever he starts to chew on the leash, he gets a small electric shock.
It won’t hurt him (or even really annoy him) and will correct his chewing habit.