This is a very flexible exercise that can be used for beginners learning leash walking or advanced students working on heeling. The instructor sets up a “maze” of distractions and the goal is for the students and dogs to walk through it with a loose leash or in heel position. Students can compete against each other, or try to beat their performance from a previous week.

Setting Up A Maze: Loose Leash Walking Through Distractions

maze2The “maze” can be as easy or difficult as needed! For beginners, simply place a few distractions on the ground, far enough apart that the handler and dog can focus on getting past them one at a time.

A medium difficulty maze can have more tempting distractions, place them closer together, or be a longer course.

Advanced students might be ready to handle the challenge of fellow students tossing toys into their path! Or the maze might require stepping right over a line of liver treats.

This game is completely open-ended, so customize the maze for your students’ needs.

Scoring: Tracking Progress

For students working on loose leash walking, give one point for every second that the leash is tight. For students working on heeling, give one point for every second the dog is out of heel position. The lowest score wins. There can be prizes for the student and dog who earn the lowest score and for the most improved by the end of class.