Do both you and your dog enjoy your walks? Developing good leash manners is one of the top requests I hear. One of the complaints is a dog biting the leash, grabbing it or tugging at it. In the majority of these cases, the dog in question is a Labrador Retriever. Sound familiar to anyone out there?

Anytime I get a request to help stop a certain behavior, I want to see if we can determine why it's happening. If we understand why the dog is doing it, it can be easier to address the issue more effectively.

There can be a number of reasons for a dog biting the leash. It's very common with Labs, and Labs are retrievers. Retrievers tend to use their mouths a lot. They like to have something in their mouths. In some cases, that's really all it is. The dog just wants to have something in his mouth to carry on the walk, and the leash is the easiest thing to grab. For these dogs, they generally won't tug at the leash, they just want to have the leash in their mouths. In these cases, it's often easy to just let them carry one end of the leash. An alternative is to give them something else to carry.

For other dogs, however, they are not satisfied with simply carrying the leash. Some will tug or chew on the leash. We clearly don't want a struggle on our walks, so this behavior needs to change. In some cases, the dogs are simply bored and looking for something fun to do. For these dogs, you might need to make the walks more interesting. Are you walking in new and different places? Finding new things to explore? Practicing your training skills along the way? Some dogs are getting bored doing the same walk over and over again and need more stimulation than they are getting.