My Dog Hates His Leash! Should I Worry?

There are several reasons why your dog is resisting the leash. They may seem aggressive or afraid every time you take out the leash.


Leash training is significant for parties, the owner and the dog. It is more comfortable and safer for your dog every time you go out for a walk. However, not every dog will instantly warm up to the leash.


If you want to keep your dog in near sight so you can keep an eye on them, then the leash is the perfect tool. It will prevent misbehaviour such as destructive chewing, potty accidents around the house, and pouncing.


If your dog is exhibiting resistant behaviour towards the leash, it may be because they have never undergone training to use one. Also, it could be that the previous handler did not train them properly.

Unpleasant association

If you are affirmative that your dog’s training is standard, then your dog may be associating the leash with unpleasant situations. For example, attaching your dog to the leash may communicate that it is time to take a bath.

Changing the association with something positive

It is essential that you change the negative association that your dog has toward the leash. Once you put the leash on, give your dog treats and attention for about thirty seconds.

Quickly take off the leash and ignore your dog for about two minutes.

Repeat this process for a while. By doing this, your dog understands that rewards are only available when they have the leash on.

Furthermore, try walking to exciting places like the park more often. As such, your dog will learn to associate the leash with friendly sites.


If your dog has a history of experiencing violence, they may have a hard time using the leash. It is especially true if they have been hit with a leash.

If your dog is on a leash when something painful happens, they may associate the leash with such traumatic events.


Lest you forget, a dog is an animal, and it will not comprehend stuff with the same capacity as your child.

The natural instincts of a dog are wild, so they may appear to have a problem with restraining actions.

Furthermore, your dog’s head is susceptible, so it may be very uncomfortable for them when putting harnesses over their heads.

Does not fit

Imagine having to walk around all day in jeans that do not adequately fit. Your dog may be experiencing similar discomfort every time they are on the leash because it is uncomfortable.

Just like how you buy your jeans, check the sizing chart before you can buy a harness. The chart is meant to guide you on suggestions based on the weight of your dog, the neck and chest measurements.

Even so, these are merely suggestions, so it will require you to rightfully adjust the strap for a perfect fit.

Other than an improper fit, the leash may be irritating their skin, it may chafe, or it is exerting awkward pressure on your dog’s body. It is a guarantee your dog will be resistant to a harness that is not comfortable.

The allergies

There is a long list of materials that your dog may be allergic to. Be keen on the type of harness material that you use on your dog. Allergens may be the type of metal, nylon, or dye chemicals.

It should be easy to determine whether your dog is having an allergic reaction to the harness. Simply look at the areas where the harness comes into contact with the skin. Be more attentive to sensitive skin areas such as the belly and the armpits.


Most dogs will find leaving the house for any kind of activity as an adventure, and their excitement is proof of it. However, there are some dogs that do not like leaving the house, and therefore putting on a harness means they will be leaving their comfort zone.

The reason for such behaviour can be exhaustion, boredom, and for some dogs, fear.


There are better solutions for getting leash-training your dog; other than pulling on the leash and hoping the get the clue. For starters, desensitizing your dog to the restraining feeling of the leash is an important step.

Attach your dog to the leash and let them drag it around the house or yard. Ensure that there is nothing to snag the leash. By doing this, you will allow your dog to get used to the feel of a harness around their neck, chest or belly.

Adjust the collar appropriately

The most sensitive area of your dog’s upper body is the neck region. Find a harness that fits this area since the dog will feel the effects more quickly. You want to be gentle with your dog, so get a harness that is a proper fit, not too loose or too low.

Get a shorter leash

Your dog may be pulling on the leash because of distractions. Thus, you will be able to assert firmer control if you use a shorter leash. In addition, it limits your dog’s range; thus, they are less distracted.

The leash-harness touch is an essential part of how you communicate with your dog. By using a shorter leash, you retain better control of your pet.

Check the feet

If your dog suddenly refuses to walk while on the leash, then you may want to check the feet. Look for any signs of injury on their paws such as tenderness, cuts, swelling or bruises.

Positive reinforcement

Reward your dog every time they allow you to put their harness on. If your dog barks every time they feel the pressure of a leash, wave around their favourite snack. It will force them to think about the treat, instead of the feel of the leash on their body.

Do not be overwhelming

Training your dog to use a leash does not have a specific time frame. It depends on the severity of the aversion.

Keep your training session short and consistent, but understand that it may be frustrating for your dog.

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