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