Dogs That Hate Leashes

Call Today!
Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

Call Today!
Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

I have worked with a number of dogs that hated being on a leash. As a result, these dogs don’t get out much, and end up with additional behavioral problems. Here are examples of situations I’ve seen:

Stops And Won’t Walk – Several years ago, I was hired by a student to work with their 5 year old Tibetan Terrier. This is a medium sized, long haired, companion breed, originating in Asia. The owners told me that if you took the dog for a walk, it would go about a block or so, then it would plant its feet, and not move. It just wouldn’t budge. So, they’d have to pick him up and carry him home. I trained the dog, and when finished, he was great. But, they didn’t work with him after the lessons, so he went back to stopping and not walking. After a while, they got a new dog. But for the Tibetan Terrier, they had given up on him, and he lived the rest of his life, alone in the back yard.

Panics On A Leash – A couple had rescued a small, black, mixed bred, medium sized dog. This dog was exceedingly fearful of everything and everyone. They originally called me because the dog had bitten them numerous times. Once, the dog got scared from a noise outside, ran over to the boyfriend while he was sleeping in bed, and bit him hard and drew blood on his left hand. When I met them for the evaluation, the girlfriend picked him up and carried him all the way across the parking lot. This dog would panic, flip and spin around, and then desperately bite at his leash. So, they never took him for walks. As a result, he was not getting regular exercise or socialization. I also remember a black Labrador Retriever puppy I worked with years ago. She would absolutely freak out when put on a leash. She would scream so loudly, I was afraid, during the evaluation, that the neighbors would call the police and say we were beating and abusing her. You could hear her shrieks over a block away. So, this 4 month old dog wasn’t getting any exercise or socialization, and the owners didn’t know what to do. Through Basic Obedience, this all got solved.

Drags You On A Leash, Then Bites Through The Leash And Runs Away – One of my first customer inquiries, in 1997, had a Golden Retriever that would pull them along the street whenever they went for a walk. If the dog saw another dog, he would turn his head, instantly snap his teeth, cutting the leash in two, and would run over to play with the other dog. He risked getting hit by a car, and once he was loose, he wouldn’t come back on command. I could have solved the problem, but they decided not to spend the money on training.

Plays Tug Of War With The Leash – I have worked with many dogs that won’t let you take them for a walk. They will grab the leash in their teeth, and play a furious game of Tug of War. Dogs that stand out were the 4 month old German Shepherd Dog which was hand raised, and bottle fed, after his mother died upon birth. This dog would grab at anything that moved: grass blowing in the wind, pant legs, shoe laces, your legs as you walked, and any leash you put on him. It was an obsessive thing, something way beyond normal puppy leash play. And there was Jack, a pit bull, Labrador mix who would pull you down the street on a walk, then if he saw a cat or dog, would then turn around, and… chop, chop, chop, chop… quickly bite his way up the leash towards your hands. Any sane person would let go, and then he’d go running away after that cat or dog. The owners were sure that he was too aggressive and would have to be put down. Then there was the Boxer in Glendale, AZ, which would jump up on you repeatedly, grab the leash, and tug furiously. You couldn’t even walk him on leash from the front door to the end of the driveway. It was a total circus. And I can’t forget the Bullmastiff I worked with that did the same thing. He was huge, and there was no way you could do anything other than plant your feet, otherwise he would pull you across the driveway after he grabbed the leash. I was like being attached to a freight train. I can always fix these situations.

Shuts Down – I’ve seen a number of dogs that would just lay down, and shut down emotionally, if a leash was put on them. I remember a German Shepherd Dog, that was trained by some numbskull of a dog trainer, one of my competitors, with an electric collar. I have an article on electric collars, and I recommend that you read it. Anyway, this dog was so confused by the work that was done on him, that he would just give up if you put a leash on him. I also remember a Golden Retriever puppy I worked with, she was about 5 or 6 months old, that would walk a little ways with you, then flop down on the ground. At that point, she’d go limp and wouldn’t move, and definitely wasn’t going anywhere. This is easy to solve.

Runs Away or Bites At You – Many dogs will run away when they see that you have a leash in your hands. I teach all dogs to happily come running when we get out a leash. They like having a collar put on, and they like having a leash put on. But, many dogs will run away, or bite at you, when you attempt to put a leash on them. The worst dog I ever encountered of this type was a Husky. He absolutely would not let anyone put a leash on him, and he was very aggressive about it. You couldn’t even get a collar on him. I also saw an abused Italian Greyhound that was this way. Normally a very gentle and kind breed, this dog had been abused, so that he didn’t trust anyone putting a collar or leash on him. This takes some work, but can be fixed.

Other situations – Of course, we all have seen dogs that get aggressive when on leash, or bark, or lunge at everything and everyone in their path. They don’t exactly hate the leash, but once a leash is on, they go haywire. Or they hate any type of collar on their neck. Or the owners have been told the silly advice that their dog is too small to have a collar around their neck, so they carry their dogs around all the time… and the dogs get brattier, nastier, and more disobedient over time. This is where it is helpful that I’m a behaviorist and not just a trainer. These situations need to be puzzled out.

In all of these situations, the owners had run out of ideas. When you have a dog like this, the side effect is that the dog isn’t getting sufficient exercise, interaction with you, or socialization. So, the dog gets to be worse and worse as a pet. It is a downward spiral.

So, what do you do? You need to stop trying to fix these situations on your own, and hire a professional dog trainer to help sort this out. There are answers, and you can have a dog that you enjoy.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.