It’s always amazed me how puppies have the same cute qualities but vastly different personalities.
When Maggie was a puppy, she liked to snuggle and gnaw on her bones. She rarely chewed anything that wasn’t a dog toy.
The puppies my family had in the past are a different story.
They chewed up everything you could think of.
Shoes, shirts, backpacks, pacifiers, and even an entire rose bush once.
Thankfully, all those stories had happy endings, but the constant chewing can get annoying.
One of the main things that puppies will chew on is their leash.
They enjoy being out on a walk and think the tug of the leash is fun (except when they don’t!), but it’s hard to replace leashes constantly.
Read on to learn why puppies and dogs chew on their leashes and what you can do to stop them.
There is an end in sight, I promise!
The Story Behind Puppy Chewing
Everyone knows that dogs are the close relatives of wolves.
Whenever you start to wonder why your dog or puppy does something, you’ll likely get an answer by looking back to their wolf ancestors.
Wolves start teaching their young to survive almost immediately.
They let their pups tug on their ears and nibble on their siblings to encourage the teething process and start developing their jaw strength.
When a wolf is fully grown, they have a crushing pressure of 1500 pounds per square inch.
Modern dogs have much less than that, but chewing wolf puppies needed to develop that strength to rip food apart and swallow chunks whole.
That instinct to chew during the teething process still exists in puppies to help their adult teeth grow in, which is why they enjoy chewing on tough objects like a leash.
Why Chewing is Helpful
Puppies start teething around 16 weeks old. You may notice their tiny teeth fall out into their food bowl while they eat, since the kibble moves the teeth around easier than a toy.
It’s also normal never to see their teeth go missing.
I only ever found two of Maggie’s teeth in the carpet, and that was when she was around six months old. Most of the time, puppies swallow their baby teeth.
If they aren’t able to chew, it leads to infections that may require dental surgery to fix.
Why Puppies Bite Their Leashes
So, why do puppies like to bite their leashes?
It’s because the leash is new to them, so they interact with it the same way they do with the rest of the world.
They may be more inclined to chew it if it tugs on them a lot during a walk or bumps their dangly ears. They assume the leash is playing with them, so they want to play right back.
While it’s frustrating to have a puppy who won’t stop chewing their leash, remember that it’s not coming from a heart of destruction.
As long as their tail is wagging, they’re having fun and want you to have fun with them.
If your puppy is chewing their leash, growling, and not wagging their tail, then they’re frustrated.
They may even be angry at the leash.
At that point, you should unattached their leash and revisit it when they’re in a calmer state of mind.
How to Make Them Stop
You can make it less easy for your puppy to chew on their leash by switching to a harness.
A harness slides around their front legs and under their chest so the leash attaches to a hook on the middle of their back.
If you keep the leash tight while you walk, it will never be near their mouth.
Another benefit of using a harness instead of a collar while you walk your puppy is that it will never pump on their neck. Some puppies pull on their leash constantly out of excitement, which ends up strangling them.
A harness will pull them back with equal pressure around their torso, which should never restrict their breathing.
If you don’t want to buy a harness, practice using the leash when they’re in the home environment that they’re most familiar with.
Walk them around the house and reprimand them if they try to chew it.
Doing this will teach them over time that the leash is something normal that they should respect and not chew.
Keeping your puppy’s leash tight while you walk, using a harness and then properly storing it out of reach are all easy ways to prevent them from chewing on it.
Even when you get frustrated, remember that your puppy is only chewing to play with the leash and not out of a spirit of meanness.
And if you’re having a lot of trouble with the leash biting, you can always try to train your dog to walk off-leash!
When Can a Puppy Walk on a Leash?
Puppies can start walking on a leash as soon as you take them home at eight weeks old.
How Do You Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash?
Practice walking your puppy around the home on their leash.
They’ll be most comfortable in that environment and be less likely to get excited and want to chew.
Is a Collar or Harness More Comfortable for a Puppy?
Collars are better for all-day wear, as harnesses are uncomfortable for puppies or dogs laying down.
During a walk, a harness may be more comfortable if your puppy tends to pull.
Is it Normal for Puppies to Chew Everything?
Yes, puppies teethe until they’re six months old, so chewing on everything during that first six months to their first birthday is normal.
Do Puppies Grow Out of Chewing on Leashes?
Yes, puppies will grow out of their chewing phase, but it may not be until after their first birthday.
It’s better to train them to get used to their leash than wait for them to stop chewing it.