Ask A Dog Trainer: Why Does My Dog Run & Hide When I Try To Leash Him?

It’s time to go- you’re taking your dog out to go potty or maybe for a car ride. He’s following you around like he always does… until you reach for his collar and/or leash. Like a bullet, he is gone. Now you spend several minutes trying to track him down. Calling him, bribing him, whatever it takes to get him from his hiding spot. All the time you are wondering why you are the only person on Earth who has a dog that acts this way. But you are not alone, this is more common than you think and happens for a variety of reasons.

Image Soure: Juan Antonio F. Segal via Flickr

Why Your Dog Runs From His Leash

There are many reasons why your dog may be running from you when you try to get him ready to leave. It will take some detective work on your part to find out what exactly is going on. From there, you can work on fixing it. Below are some of the more common reasons a dog may not want to have his collar or leash put on.

Medical issue. First and foremost, make sure your dog doesn’t have any medical issues that might make wearing a collar or harness uncomfortable- maybe their arthritis has gotten worse than you knew and walks are too hard for them. A trip to the vet is always a good place to start.


Fear of new places. Does your dog have fear or anxiety issues outside your home? If you have noticed your dog has fear in the car, at the park, or around strangers, she may be running from the leash to try and avoid an activity she does not like.

Fear of the vets or groomers. Does your puppy only go out on a leash to the vet or groomer? Young puppies remember things and put two and two together more than you realize. If you’ve only used that leash when you go somewhere traumatizing to your puppy, they may have learned to fear it.

Tactile sensitivity. If you have a dog that isn’t big on being hugged or handled, they may not enjoy the process of getting their collar, harness or leash put on either. These dogs just need to learn to be okay with their “clothes” so they get to go out and have fun. Chances are, if you opened the door without reaching for that leash, this dog would run right out. They want to be outside, they just don’t like the equipment.

Image Source: rpavich via Flickr

A Bad experience. Did your puppy or dog have a bad experience on leash? Maybe they were attacked by another dog, given a hard jerk or even wrapped around something and got stuck. For some dogs, one experience is enough to make them fear something.

A great game. Then there’s the pup that’s discovered a fun game! This dog knows that if they run from you and the leash, you will chase. It’s a great game! However it started, you are going to have to do some training to stop it.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s possible your dog has another reason altogether for fearing their collar, leash, harness, etc. But once you figure out what the cause is, you can solve it with a vet visit and/or training.

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