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Thread: Puppy Playing Tug-of-war with Lead

  1. #1

    Default Puppy Playing Tug-of-war with Lead

    I'm hoping someone can give me some advice with what to do about my ten month old Border Collie puppy, Dexter, playing tug-of-war with his lead whenever I try and take him for walks and especially at obedience training (and unfortunately no one there has been able to give me advice that'll stop him).
    He's been doing it, and gradually getting worse, since roughly eight months of age and all my attempts have failed thus far. I've tried putting wasabi, hot mustard and other such things on his lead but he actually likes the taste and does it even more. I can't drop his lead when he starts doing it because then he runs off and won't come back for a good five minutes because that turns into a new game and I worry that one day his antics will get him hit my a car.
    I have two different leads for Dexter, a 1.8 metre cotton web lead and a 1.2 metre soft leather lead, and it makes no difference which lead he's on. It's getting to a stage were I no longer enjoy taking him for his daily walks and get exceptionally annoyed and frustrated with him when I'm sure he thinks it's just one huge game.
    A big thank you to anyone who can give me any advice. I apologise if this isn't in the right spot but I wasn't sure where else to put it and this seemed the most appropriate. Thanks!

  2. #2


    When he does it stop walking, put the lead under your foot and wait until he calms down. You can also add a marker work when you do this as this will make it clearer for the dog, so for instance :-

    You are walking your dog, he starts grabbing the lead, you say firmly "too bad" and put the lead under your foot (make sure you only give him enough lead to sit) until he is sitting quietly. Continue your walk, repeat whenever Dexter tries to play with the lead. Dexter will quickly learn that if he bites/plays with the lead the game ends and the walk stops.

    A variation of the method above would be to just stop walking when he plays with the lead, hold onto the lead tightly but don't tug back (otherwise he will think it is a game) he should get bored and stop so you can continue your walk. This may or may not work depending on how keen he is to play with the lead.

    Your other option (although I think first option is the best) would be to have two leads connected to his collar, hold one and have the longer one hanging over your neck (still connected to his collar though) if he starts playing with the main lead drop it and hold onto the other lead so he cannot run away.

    I think the first method will work best for you.

    Best of luck. Let us know how you go with it.
    Last edited by Keira & Phoenix; 07-12-2011 at 11:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    Try a chain lead, you can get them from most Woollies or Coles stores.

    I always have one of these in my training bag when I take beginners classes as it is quite a common complaint.

    Another thing is to soak your cloth lead in vinegar.

    Lots of young dogs, will grow out of the pulling on lead thing, but in the meantime don't engage them in what they see as good fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011


    Buckley did the same thing at one stage. I did find that he did it less when we used a chain lead as it's probably not as nice to be tugging on a piece of metal! What worked for us it similar to what Keira & Phoenix has suggested. As soon as he started to tug i would stop walking and hold the lead really short and tight so he couldn't really tug back or move much. He got tired of doing this pretty quickly because it wasn't very fun anymore. We're now back on a nylon lead and no lead tug-o-war

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    I had the same issue with Koda my Australian Shepherd. i did a similar thing to what people have been saying.
    When Koda grabbed the lead, i would stop walking, hold the lead fairly tight, and say NO in a very firm voice. After a while, the problem stopped and we now have enjoyable walks together!
    i think that a method like this will be best for you!

  6. #6


    Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions! I've adapted the idea of using a chain lead and I'm using an old check chain that no longer fits him to give about six inches between the d-link on his collar and his lead and so far he's not enjoying biting into it! If he manages to get hold of the lead I'll stand on it until he stops (hopefully lol).

    Thanks everyone once again!!

  7. #7


    same here nugget dos this too

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I find tugging on the lead quite useful but I have a "give" command - ie dog must spit the lead out when I ask, and "geddit" when she's allowed/expected to grab hold and tug.

    Tug is a great reward game - but a pain if you're trying to get from A to B. But making it ok to tug with permission, and give when it's not - helps the dog understand how to get it right.

    I had to get a horse lead rope for my dog's lead because she would chomp the ordinary leads into pieces with three bites. Scissor mouth dog.

    I agree with the others about stopping walking or tugging if the dog starts tugging the lead. Just hold it without tugging back, and without looking at the dog. Or you can try teaching the "give", and rewarding if she spits out the lead.

  9. #9


    my friends keep telling me to put hot surse on her lead but i keep say no i will not do this to my baby
    If you are reading this then you're doing just fine as to
    I'm not going to tell ya I lost the ' , . ? ! " Keys to my head
    No grammar no problem I don't know how to fly it any way Bye

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