Q. I have a 6-month-old German Shepherd-mix puppy named Molly. I have huge problems with walking her on a leash. She jumps up and bites the leash while I try to walk her. I’ve tried saying “No,” I’ve tried popping her on the rump and I’ve tried ignoring her when she did it. Everything I try ends up in failure. Please help me!
A. Many puppies like to grab the leash when walked, and the more dramatic you try to be when attempting to stop this, the more likely the dog may think it’s a competitive game that’s fun to play. Instead of trying to punish or ignore leash-grabbing, try redirecting your puppy’s attention – and mouth – to a toy she likes to play with. Take the toy with you on walks, so you’ll have it handy to use if you need it.
Teach your puppy to play tug-and-release games like “Tug Of Peace” (a Web search will turn up the directions and rules for this positive tug game). Once your dog learns to release an object on cue, you shouldn’t have any more trouble with her refusing to let go of the leash.