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I am having a dilemma with my 8 1/2 month old golden retriever. When on walks my dog will all of a sudden go into a fit of growling and biting her leash attempting to play tug of war. I have tried everything to get her to stop. Usually a spray bottle of water worked, but today when going in the park for a walk she went into a terrible fit of biting the leash. I tried everything including saying no, holding her mouth shut telling her no bite, spraying her, staying still and not moving, but nothing worked. Its very hard not to lose my patience with her because she is literally unwalkable when she starts biting the leash and growling.

She jumps up at me but never tries to bite me fortunately, but the seemingly aggressive behavior of biting her leash and going crazy is really frustrating me. It seems to be trigger when she really wants to run free like in the snowy park today, where I will usually let her off leash, However, I didn't want to let her off leash when she started biting because I felt as if that would reward her behavior

She did this a little as a younger puppy, but it seems like it has gotten worse recently within the last 2 months. I don't want to use anything mean like a shock collar, but I need some advice. It's hard to be calm with her despite all my efforts and I'm seeking some kind of fix to the situation.
 

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Have you tried "left about turns?" This is where you turn left into your dog and change the lead behind your back so that your dog also goes behind you and remains on your left side.

My golden walks nicely on a loose lead but a few days ago when I was walking her, she was pulling me -- I think it was because it was the first day it was nice and brisk and she liked the cool weather. I remembered that one of my obedience instructors said the "left about turn" is a great way to get the dog to pay attention to you, and follow you, so I did that a few times with Mac. Problem solved. Here is a video that shows it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIOJyK7ROIk

Another thing to try is just simple left turns and right turns. Mac also used to bite her leash when she was very young, and I put a thick film of bitter apple paste on the part of the leash. When she would start to act up, sometimes all I had to do would bring out the tube and wand it up and down the lead, and she would stop biting--I would get pretty theatrical with my demonstration. She did this as a young pup, but she's 20 months and doesn't do this anymore. Hope this helps somewhat.
 

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I have the same issue,,if its dark I use a flashlight or laser pointer to make a dot on the ground so she gets after it instead. During the day nothing seems to work that well, sometimes I just stand still so she gets bored and wants to start walking again. Takes four or five times on somedays.She is seven months old.
 

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Dog Lover for Life
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My first Golden did this and Bogart did it too as a young dog. You can try to hold the leash very short close to the collar so she doesn't have a chance to grab the leash oooorrr what really worked well was spraying the leash with Bitter apple. That only took a couple of tries and they stoped. Bogart as a young puppy also used to pull on ZsaZsa's leash and pulled her neck she went after him LOL and that stoped him from doing it to her LOL.
Just don't get mad and frustrated keep your cool at all times and that will bring her down to earth alot faster.
All the best,
Elke, ZsaZsa and Bogart
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Try spraying the leash with a taste deterrent like Bitter Apple or yellow listerine. Or, teach her to to carry a small toy, like a tennis ball. She can't mouth the leash if she's seriously thinking that her job is to carry the toy.
 

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It's not aggression, it's pent-up energy. Have a toy or ball in your pocket, and use that to distract her before she's gotten into the "crazy and won't listen" phase. Either throw the ball to release some of her energy or let her carry it; praise her when she stops playing tug with the leash.
 

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Puf does this when he gets excited. For example when he sees somebody and gets excited but we have to move on, he will start jumping up and down and grabbing the leash. This is play - a dominant way of it as far as I know - but it's not aggression. He also does the same when we are returning from a walk and about to enter the elevator. He does not want the fun to end. Understandable I say.


What works for me - since this usually happens inside the building - is to let him have the leash. I let go of the leash. As soon as I let go, it's not tug-of-war anymore and he loses interest immediately.


I think it would be worth a try outside as well. Just make sure you are grabbing him somewhere else (or are ready to grab him if he tries to run).
 

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I am SO glad you asked this question as my golden does this as well. She's two years old and did this a lot when she was younger. However, she's started doing it again recently. Bailey usually starts doing it when I pull her away from something she was really interested in, if the leash gets tangled up around her, or if the walk is ending and shes not ready to go home yet. I will try the tennis ball idea. I'm sure people driving by think she's crazy...she can be pretty embarrassing somtimes! :doh:
 

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Gunner and Honey's Mom
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Bitter apple on Gunner's leash helped. I really sprayed it good before we walked and 90% of the time he would spit out the leash once in his mouth. I agree about putting something in their mouth too. Sometimes I'd look for a stick and he would carry it on our whole walk. Got lots of smiles from people walking or driving by us.... good luck!
 

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I just inserted a small piece of chain link between the collar and the leash. My pup is just short of three months old, but this is what the trainer advised. She doesn't like the chain and stops immediately.
 

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When getting ready to walk Bailey today, I remember what I did in the past that worked. Similar to what Inge mentioned. I bought a chain leash. I got it when she was about a year old and it stopped her immediately. She would jump up the first couple times I used it to try to grab the leash but once she got a hold of the chain she stopped. From there on out she was good. I used it probably for 6+ months and then tried going back to the regular leash. She has been fine until the last few weeks. I used it today and she was much better. Twice she did the jump thing to grab it but then got the chain and stopped. Our walk was so much more enjoyable that yesterdays! So you might give a chain leash a try.
 

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Oh gosh I remember many frustrated walks when merlin was doing the same thing at about the same age. What I did was to stop moving and turn my back on him, totally ignoring the behavior. Sometimes I had to keep turning so that my back would continually facing him. It took a few weeks for it to finally sink in that it was very boring and mom wasn't interested at all. It was hard not to be frustrated, but it did work.

It'll get better! Just try not to get mad and frustrated and be the most boring person ever! I also think the chain leash is a good idea. I wish I'd have thought of that way back when! :)
 

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Marley does this too and he can get a little rough sometimes, when he does this outside I tell him to sit which he does, still holding the leash though, and then I just repeat ENOUGH in a loud voice, usually 3 times is enough and he calms and drops.

If we are in the building on our way home then I will ask him if he's ready to be a 'good boy' and 'do his jobs', which is when I fold the leash up and he carries it in his mouth in the elevator, he sits perfect with it, and feel quite proud to be doing 'his good boy jobs'!!!
 

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I started to use a chain leash with Bailey. Check also my post called "Feeling like giving up" I was describing almost the same thing, only that my Bailey doesn't bite only the leash she also jumps up on me and tries to bite.
 

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My brother's pup was biting the leash when he was younger but it was in a very relaxed manner. No jumping up or craziness, just mouthing it while he walked. So we taught him the commands "leave it" and "drop it" in the house with things other than the leash. Once he had that figured out, we did used the commands on a walk. Everytime he mouthed at the leash on a walk, the person walking him stopped and he was told to "leave it" or "drop" then given a treat for obeying. Then the walk continued on. It only took him a short amount of time to figure out not to do it. We didn't want to reprimand him at that stage as he was still learning about walks and didn't know that biting the leash was unacceptable behaviour.

Ranger only tried biting his leash once and it was when we were running in a park between trees (I don't know what I was trying to do but it involved a lot of zigzagging) and he went nuts. Jumping up at me and biting the leash which he had never done before (or since). I immediately stopped running and gave him a tap under his jaw with a firm "no". He stopped dead, I resumed running and even though he was still excited, he was able to control his behaviour.
 

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OK, didn't read all of this but, if you haven't tried it, try a HALTI. Everyone in our class that tried it said it's like having a different dog. I'm trying to use a regular collar on Marty when I walk him around home (rural area), but with the snow melting and all the smells and "stuff" to eat, he was pulling and just being a pain. Put the Halti on him this morning and he's like he's in a heel. REALLY makes a difference. He did the leash biting (still does a little), put the Halti on and he calms down. As a matter of fact months ago when we were having other issues, our trainer recommended leaving it on him all day (as long as we're here), it just has that calming effect.
 

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Wow! This post is what I was looking for. Thanks for all the advices. My 4 month old golden does the same thing, but usually during our potty sessions since we are still working on housebreaking her. She'll bite the leash, growl, and jump up on me. Very frustrating.
 

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This is EXACTLY the same problem I'm going through with Trinity right now. She turned 1 today and her attacks on the leash have escalated to the point where I am extremely frustrated. I'm going to get a chain leash as soon as possible. Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

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Cosmo is a notorious leash biter. Seems that anxiety - excitement, thrust, being tired, being uncomfortable, frustrated - beyond threshold causes this. Hence the many puppies and teenagers doing this.

Please be very careful that you get chain that is strong enough to hold a full grown dog back but not big enough to get the canines caught in the chain. You can buy appropriate chain leashes at pet supply stores but it's cheaper to go to the hardware store. I went to home depot and Rona but neither had chain strong yet small enough to be safe.

And yes, harness is the best option for these dogs, the tugging on the collar seems to make frustrated dogs more frustrated.
 
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