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

| Published on March 9, 2023
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Most dogs get excited when you take them out for a walk or car ride. They follow you around like they always do… until you reach for the collar and/or leash. Like a bullet, your dog is gone. Then, you spend several minutes trying to track them down. Calling them, bribing them, whatever it takes to get them to come out from their hiding spot.

If you’ve dealt with similar behaviors, you might be wondering why you’re the only person on Earth who has a dog that acts like that. But you’re not alone! This is more common than you think and it happens for a variety of reasons.

Puppy scared of leash

Need help training out those less-than-lovable behaviors? SpiritDog can help. Their programs can help you achieve long-lasting results using positive, scientifically-proven methods. See their website to learn how they can help your dog become the better-behaved canine of your dreams.

Why Your Dog Runs From the Leash

There are many reasons why your dog may be running from you when you try to get them 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 common reasons a dog may not want to have their 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. For example, maybe their arthritis has gotten worse than you thought, making walks too hard for them. A trip to the vet is always a good place to start to rule out any health concerns.

dog pulling back on leash

Fear of New Places

Does your dog have fear or anxiety issues outside your home? If you have noticed your dog is fearful in the car, at the park, or around strangers, they may be running from the leash to avoid an activity they dislike. If this is the case, don’t force your dog into those situations. Instead, gradually introduce them to the place while giving them treats so they can associate the destination with something good.

Fear of Vets or Groomers

Does your puppy only go out on a leash to the vet or groomer? Many dogs 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. So, show them the leash can be good by regularly walking them at places they enjoy.

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” because wearing them means they get to go out and have fun. Chances are, if you opened the door without reaching for that leash, your dog would run right out. They want to be outside, but they don’t like the equipment.

Little dog on leash

A Bad Experience

Did your furry friend have a bad experience on a leash? Maybe they were attacked by another dog, pulled too hard, or even got stuck wrapped around something. For some dogs, one experience is enough to make them scared. This is another instance where you’ll need to get them to associate their leash with good things like treats.

A Great Game

When it comes to the leash, some pups have discovered a fun game! Some dogs know that if they run from you and the leash, you will chase them. It’s a great game! However, if your dog enjoys this “game,” you’ll need to work on some training to stop it.

This is not an exhaustive list. Your dog may have another reason altogether for fearing their collar, leash, or harness. But once you figure out what the cause is, you can solve it with a vet visit and/or training.

Consider Online Training

Training doesn’t have to be a chore. Let SpiritDog help you make training time a fun, productive bonding experience between you and your best friend! Whether you want to work out bad habits or strengthen good canine manners, SpiritDog can help guide you!

SpiritDog’s courses are developed by real trainers who know that the best teacher for your dog is the person they love most in the world – you! Even if you’ve never trained before, you can get better behavior out of your pup with SpiritDog’s guidance. With so many happy pet parents who have used their courses, SpiritDog guarantees 100% satisfaction!

SpiritDog offers over 17 science-based courses, as well as 12 free bonus courses to get you and your pup bonding and building better behaviors. Their Tackling Reactivity Bundle can help you keep your pup safely by your side and help anxious or reactive pups keep calm. For new pet parents, the Ultimate Puppy Program can help you start your pup off on the right paw from the beginning. Those who want to teach their pets great behaviors at any age, check out their Ultimate Masterclass Bundle. Whatever you need, SpiritDog can help keep your dog safe, happy, and well-behaved!

iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

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