Patience, consistency and these three trainer-approved games will transform your dog’s loose leash walking

Labrador dog looking up at man as he walks him in the park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like most pet parents, trying to get your dog to master loose leash walking can feel like the same level of difficulty as climbing Mt Everest.  

Even if you have plenty of the best dog treats on hand to provide your pup with a high level of reinforcement, loose leash walking is a training skill that requires a big time investment - not to mention a whole lot of patience.

Thankfully, expert dog trainer Amelia Steele has three fun games she uses with the pups she works with to help them get to grips with loose leash walking sooner rather than later.

You can check out her Instagram video below where she outlines each of the games in full, or read on for a summary of some quick and easy ways that you can infuse those training sessions with a whole lot of fun - and boost your dog's engagement in the process.

1. The up and down game

For this first game, Steele explains that you want to wait for your dog to look up into your eyes and then say yes, putting a treat down to the floor. "Repeat this until they're focused on you," she explains. If you watch the clip, you'll see that playing this game results in Steele having the dog's engagement the entire time. 

2. The backwards walk

"For this game, simply turn to face your dog and start walking backwards," Steele says. "Move in lots of different directions and reward your dog for maintaining focus on you. You don't have to run, but if you're able to, this is a great way to mix up this game."

3. Moving backwards and forwards 

In this final game, Steele instructs us to move backwards and forwards in a straight line with our dog. "Each time they catch up to you, mark yes and throw a treat down," she explains. "As they're eating it, turn and get ready to do the next repetition. Steele says that this is a great way to encourage your dog to bounce back to you and pay really good attention. 

Remember, when it comes to loose leash walking, it takes time, patience and consistency to see improvements in your dog's behavior. In the meantime, check out our guide to the 2023 Crufts Dog Show to see some of the world's most obedient dogs in action!

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.