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Hi all, I’d really appreciate any advice. I have a 5 and a half year old mastiff cross who is normally pretty well behaved on walks; he isn’t reactive with other dogs, and I’m able to let him off the lead as he has good recall.
The times when I don’t let him off the lead, there have been a few occasions in the past where he has played ‘tug of war’ with his lead to the point where I’ve had to let him take it. These were isolated occasions, however he has now started doing this on an almost daily basis, to the point where I dread walking him because I feel on pins.
Last week we were on our usual walk (he was on the lead as we were near a main road) when he kept looking at my bag (he does this a lot because I carry his tennis balls in there). I feel like he senses me getting anxious, he then jumped up at me to grab the lead and ran off with it, growling and barking and generally causing a scene. To a passer by they would probably think he was a vicious dog when he’s In fact the opposite.
Please could anyone advise me of why my dog might be doing this, and how to stop this behaviour, thanks in advance.
 

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It sounds like he thinks it's a great game. You could try a few things, see what works best.

Carry a tuggy toy, let him tug and bite on that instead of the lead.

Use a chain lead to make it less fun to play with.

Stop the game. In a safe place, let go of the lead so you aren't part of the game, or if you can't let go, stand still like a statue so you are boring and no fun.
 
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