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Having Trouble training to walk on a leash

by Megan
(Oak Park, IL)

We just adopted, what I am pretty sure, is almost a pure Jack Russell from a shelter. She is about a year old and we discovered she is deaf, after having her a week. She is doing great, and I think we're close to getting the housetraining complete. My problem is walking. She does ok some of the time, but then starts jumping at the leash, trying to grab it and play tug of war. I also have a poodle mix, who is very well behaved on the leash and she'll try to grab his leash as well. She can really jump, so sometimes grabs my hand in the process and this really hurts. To the point I just pick her up for the rest of the walk because it's so annoying. I've tried rolling her on her back when she does it, but she just goes right back to the behavior. I've also tried closing her mouth with my hands and holding her head down, I read that is what their mother would do. None of this seems to be working. Is it just persistence? We can't use words because of the deafness, so are trying to use signs. She has learned sit, and has also learned if she wants on our bed, she has to sleep in her little bed at the bottom of the bed. I know she is trainable, just trying to figure out how best to break this bad habit.


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Feb 20, 2014
Jack Russell biting leash
by: Frank

Thanks for rescuing this little one! It sounds like you and your family are putting in some hard work training her and I'm glad to hear it's paying off. When you take her for a walk have you tried bringing high value treats with you (something that she loves and will really work for). I would have a very short lead between you and your Jack. I would walk a few paces and then say "sit" and give her a treat. Keep repeating this as you gradually make the distances longer and then eventually make the lead longer. You may want to walk the two pups separately until your Jack gets the hang of things.

Here’s one trick: Attach two leashes to your dog’s collar and let one drag while you hold the other. Then, if she grabs the leash you’re holding, you can pick up the second leash and drop the first. If nobody’s holding the other end of the leash your dog is tugging, she’s thwarted in her attempt to start a game.

Another possibility is to get one of those old-fashioned choke chains. Please do not actually put it on your dog’s neck! Attach a double-ended clip or a carabiner to the metal loop at one end of the choke chain and use it to clip the choker to the leash attachment on your dog’s collar. Then attach the leash clip to the other end of the choke chain. Now there’s a length of metal in between your dog’s collar and your actual leash; if she bites the leash, she gets a mouthful of metal, which is not tasty, resilient, or fun to chew.
Or you could look into getting a harness leash which directs the lead more to the back and makes it difficult for the dog to grab onto the leash.

Good luck!

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