Dog Walking Games:
Leash training the fun way!

Dog walking games are the best way for leash training your dog. I personally love training, but I understand owners when they are frustrated because their canine pulls on the leash during a hike. It is difficult to separate the frustration and get yourself back in the training mood. Well, playing will change your mood in no time and training will happen naturally.

Below I describe three dog walking games, all of them can be done with friends and their dogs for added fun to!

I recommend that you play them in order because I organized them from easy to most difficult. Spend a few days or weeks with each game so your pooch can master them. If you try to do them all in a very short period of time you and your furry friend might get frustrated because nothing is working.

Remember that in training (or play training) consistency and practice are key elements for success!

Dog walking game #1: Treasure Hunt

Go out before your dog and hide several treats along the path you will be taking. Make sure the places you hide the treats are not too obvious. Now, go back home and get your canine friend on the leash.

During the walk, and when your dog least expects it, call him with excitement - Look what I found Fido! - and point to the treat so he can then grab it.

After a few trials either of two things will happen: 1- he will start trying to desperately find hidden treats or 2- he will keep looking at you waiting for another treasure to be found. The second event is what you are looking for!

dog walking games, cute black and white puppy dog looking at camera

The idea is to teach your pooch that listening to you pays well. Try this game a few days in a row (you don’t need to hide more than 5 treats and make sure they are always in different places). By the end of the week you pooch will most likely have his eyes and attention glued to you because you are the most awesome treasure hunter!

Once your dog understands this dog walking game, it is time to change the rules a little bit. Now, you will only call his attention to find a treat ONLY if he is walking on a loose leash.

For this, you might need to bring treats along with you and discretely toss them when the time is appropriate. Play this version for several days and you will notice that your pooch will naturally start walking on a loose leash more and  more often. This is because you are secretly conditioning him, his brain will learn that whenever he walks on a loose leash or is paying attention to you, good things happen!

What this game will accomplish:

  • Your dog will immediately look at you when you call him. This can be very useful if you see that far way another dog is approaching and you want to change directions and avoid a bout of barking and arm-wrenching leash pulling.
  • Your dog will naturally want to walk on a loose leash, because that is what he is being rewarded for.

Tip

If your hound is too hyper and won’t give you his attention when playing these dog walking games, then start inside the house or out in the backyard where distractions will be minimal. Use a leash and pretend like you are hiking out in the street. As he gets better start going out only when you know the streets will be the most quiet and keep adding distractions slowly. The idea is to give your pooch a chance to succeed by making the game as easy as it needs to be for that to happen.

Dog walking game #2: Obstacle Course

Start this game in your backyard and use chairs and other household items to create an obstacle course that should have at least the following challenges cued by the corresponding commands:

dog walking games, dog jumping obstacle course
  • Weave through cones (or toy bowling pins): This is a variation of the agility game because you will be weaving with your pooch as opposed to him doing it on his own. Place 4-5 cones in a row with enough separation in-between for you and your canine to walk and weave through them - Command is “weave”, which is basically heeling but instead of going straight you are going around the cones.
  • Jump over or through something (i.e., a small table or long but short toy placed on the floor or hoop - Command is “Jump”.
  • Walk under something (i.e., a table) - Command is “Under”.
  • Straight heel section with several STOP signs along the way: There are two commands associated with this exercise, “Heel” and “Sit when stop”. The idea is for your pooch to heel whenever you are walking and when you stop he has to sit (eventually he should learn to do this without a command or food prompt), the simple act of you stopping will be his signal to sit next to you.
  • Turn right
  • Turn left
Dog walking games, dog weaving through poles, agility

By running the obstacle course you will be teaching your dog to respond to many different commands that can be useful along a walk to aid him into following you.

Here is what to do:

Set up the obstacle course in your backyard, attach the leash to your dog and bring out some yummy treats. You can also do this in your living room, or anywhere without distractions.

First, run your canine friend through the obstacle course by having him follow your hand with a treat. An alternative is to teach him “Target training” and use a target stick instead of food. Do this several times for a few days.

Second, start weaning out the treats and instead use your empty hand to point at each obstacle. Again, repeat several times for a few days. At this point you can reward your dog with treats after he has done the course (or each item on the course). If your hound is pulling on the leash, stop and wait for him to loosen it.

Third, it is time to add a word command. You will say, in a clear and friendly voice, each command right BEFORE you point with your hand. Repeat many times and after a while try the command to see if your dog responds correctly. If he does reward him! If he doesn’t, keep on practicing.

Fourth, now that your pooch is doing great without, try timing yourself and see how fast you can run through the course without a pull on the leash!

Finally, once your hound understands this dog walking game, it is time to go out into the real world! This will require your creativity because you will have to find objects along your walking path that can be used as obstacles. Be inventive and have fun!

What this game will accomplish:

  • Your dog will learn several different useful commands used during a walk.
  • The use of treats ensures that your furry friend has fun and learns to respond to you with enthusiasm.

Use the best harness or collar for your dog!

Before you start playing these dog walking games, get your canine friend the best collar out there. Choke and slip collars are highly discouraged, they can do serious damage to your dogs cervical spine. Regular dog collars are OK to use, but if your dog is a heavy puller I strongly suggest you try any non-pulling collar or harness. In my opinion, no-pull harnesses are the best and easiest to use.

Chai's Choice Pet Products No-Pull Dog Harness
Halti Dog Harness - Multi-Functional! - No Pull Plus Regular Harness, Medium
PetSafe Gentle Leader Headcollar, Medium, Fawn

They are all good, choose the brand you like best!

Dog walking game #3: Shaky waters

This game is mostly to train YOU not to pull on the leash in a fun and entertaining way. Grab a plastic cup and fill it up with water….yep….you know what is coming next, right?

Go out to walk with your dog and see if you can come back with any water left in the cup!

dog walking games, leash training your dog

What this game will accomplish:

  • Use your voice and body language to communicate with your dog during a walk instead of pulling on the leash. 



Hope you have enjoyed these dog walking games! If you have one of your own, please share it with use in the box below or following this link.


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