Training Your Dog During a Hike


Whenever we go out for a hike, I make sure to have plenty of treats on me. Each hike offers lots of opportunities for training especially off-leash ones. Recall is the big one. 
Sometimes the dogs like to go running after prey. And two dogs get into more trouble than just one right? I thought that after a couple weeks of no off-leash time, he might be stir crazy and run wild but Mr. N was good. He had an immediate speedy recall every time he was called. And every time Sage was called as well… he responds to all of her recall cues. He also gets rewarded for checking in with me and he makes sure he knows where I am at all times. 
Mr. N investigating what Sage is up to.

He did roll in some horse poop (his favorite!) … but he left it when I told him to. His jacket got the brunt of it thankfully. I thought about making him swim in the river to wash it off but it was too cold for him in the water. Sage has a much thicker coat and didn’t care. She didn’t roll in the horse poop but found some coyote poop to roll in instead.

He was polite with the other dogs (sometimes he is a little too exuberant at the beginning) and had a lot of fun chasing a Frenchie around. It was hilarious watching the two of them play because they looked so different. The Frenchie was stocky and very sturdy looking and Mr. N is lithe and all fluff and legs. 

Needless to say, he got a lot of treats for being good despite the myriad temptations. The dogs burned a lot of calories running around so I wasn’t too worried about that. Mr. N was rewarded with Primal Pork Nibs from They’re pretty small and high value (almost pure meat) and Mr. N is very happy to work for them. Their only flaw is that they have to be refrigerated after opening and used within two weeks.

This post was sponsored by Chewy. They are not responsible for the contents of this article. All opinions expressed are our own. 

Don’t worry. He did share some treats with Sage. Sage was very worried that she might not get her fair share. She thinks a treat in the hand is worth two in the bush!

How do you train your dogs during a hike? 




40 Responses

  1. Lauren Miller

    November 13, 2015 9:21 am

    I do a lot of the same things that you do! I always have treats and we work on recalls a lot, we also do tricks and some other fun things. It just really depends on the day!

    What you mentioned about the Primal treats is the one thing I dislike about them, too but they are great if you don't want your dog eating a bunch of preservatives. The girls really like those treats even if they are a pita. LOL

  2. Hawkeye BrownDog

    November 13, 2015 11:15 am

    Hi Y'all!

    Everytime I return to my Human, whether recalled or not, I get a treat to two. Those Primal treats sound like a tasty change from Fruitables…although there are lots of flavors in Fruitables.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  3. cupcakepetrillo

    November 13, 2015 11:49 am

    Such good doggies! Even hiking I am never off my leash. Bummer. Also with so many good smells, I am not as interested in treats as I usually am. I take them and spit them onto the ground.

    Love and licks,

  4. Emma

    November 13, 2015 12:15 pm

    We don't train much when we are out hiking except for when we take photos. Having two of us, Mom's hands are full and she has to always be on the lookout for critters. We are not off leash either. We practice recalls in the yard at home and are really good, but we choose critters over Mom any day in the wild! You and Sage are so well behaved.

  5. MattieDog

    November 13, 2015 12:50 pm

    Mr. N always has such a good time! I'm glad dat he got to meet lots of friends, and do doggy stuff! We lub deez Primal treats – a good snack after romping wif dog buddies!

  6. Jenna,Mark Drady

    November 13, 2015 2:23 pm

    Siberian Huskies are known to run off, and are not ever recommended to be off lead in an area which is not fenced in, so while I do train recall in the "just in case" scenario, I do it inside a secure area lol!!

  7. Seville at Nerissa's Life

    November 13, 2015 3:17 pm

    Sometimes I wish I could be 'off-leash' or rather, 'out-of-crate', when being in public. Wish my peeps could trust me to wander about the doctor's office on my own like the cat who lives there gets to do but truth be told, I've never been trained to do that sort of thing. Dogs are pretty lucky they get to be trained with tricks. purrs


  8. Beth

    November 13, 2015 3:21 pm

    Barley and I spend lots of time training on hikes, too. She never gets to be off-leash because chasing down another dog or a kid would always win out over treats, but I don't make her heel the whole time, so she gets treats for checking back in and not pulling. She also gets lots of treats for posing for pictures and for ignoring squirrels (which are especially pesty right now since they're all too focused on hoarding food to scurry away before we get close). I'm so glad she doesn't share Mr. N and Sage's joy in rolling in poop! Unless she finds poop in her brother's litter box, she's 100% not interested in it.

  9. Suzanne Dean

    November 13, 2015 5:37 pm

    What a great opportunity to practice recall training. I know someone I need to share this post with. Mary and I don't get to go on hikes around here, but she is very good with off-leash recall.

  10. Denise Gruzensky

    November 13, 2015 10:51 pm

    We love to go hiking too! Shasta's arthritis really has him slowing down but we still take him with us and make sure to not push him too hard. The activity is good for all of us!! 🙂

  11. Val Silver

    November 13, 2015 11:26 pm

    The only time I let Ted off the leash is sometimes in our unfenced yard. He is good with recall knowing it means a treat, but he has been known to take off after a wild turkey so he's watched closely.

  12. Pamela

    November 14, 2015 2:03 am

    Since I don't always have refrigeration, I've used treats less. Luckily a ball in the pocket works almost as well as a reward for a fast recall.

  13. K9s OverCoffee

    November 14, 2015 3:07 am

    Oh yay, a poop rolling party 😉 Missy & Buzz never go on off-leash hikes, I'm too paranoid for that because Missy is known to be an adventure pup. Buzz would probably be ok as long as I got his attention with a ball – he'll do anything for his cherished chuck-it ball.

    I've been taking him along down the driveway to get the mail (off-leash), just holding the ball in my hand. He focuses on it 150% and never leaves my side. I've been doing the same exercise with Missy, but am keeping her on a 50ft leash – just in case one of the neighborhood cats (or a leaf blowing in the wind…) would appear. She has been doing very well though and has been rewarded with tasty treats 🙂

    I have heard of Primal treats, but haven't tried them yet. Just checked out their ingredient list and was very pleased to see that they only contain 3 ingredients! I'll be putting them on our list of treats to try 🙂 Thank you for the scrumptious suggestion!

  14. Jana Rade

    November 14, 2015 5:18 pm

    Life is really a training session. Everything we do or don't do is something dogs are learning from. We do use hikes and walks or outings as training opportunities too. Or, more accurately, molding/learning opportunities.

  15. Cathy Armato

    November 14, 2015 6:03 pm

    That's awesome, your dogs are so well trained! Sage is as beautiful as Mr. N! We reinforce leave it and sit/stay on our hikes. I don't train at dog parks, treats are a no-no there & I want her to socialize & just have fun. What is it with dogs rolling in poop!? Ugh!
    Love & biscuits,
    Digs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  16. 2browndawgs

    November 15, 2015 1:10 pm

    Horse poop, huh? Maybe Mr. N and Storm are related? But Storm would try something worse with it I am afraid…lol. We work on recall a lot too, but I admit it is not with treats. While out hunting you really cannot stop and give treats if you are carrying a loaded gun. Our dogs must recall for praise alone.

  17. Talent Hounds

    November 15, 2015 5:55 pm

    Mr N was such a good boy. We always have lots of treats or kibble on walks and reward Kilo if he does not react at dogs. He can not go off leash yet but we practise recall on the very long leash in the park and ravine. He escaped twice recently and thank goodness, both times he chased another dog very briefly but then came racing back to me when called and got rewarded for that. Well worth the training.

  18. Daily Dog Tag

    November 15, 2015 6:52 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful day! (Despite the poop rolling although I'm sure that was one of the highlights for the dogs.)

    When my husband and I were first married we had 2 dogs that we took hiking all the time, they had great recall. The places we go now all seem to have leash laws.

  19. Janet Keefe

    November 15, 2015 8:31 pm

    It sounds like Mr. N is doing great! We don't hike much, but when we do Sheba is the only one allowed off leash. She is good about coming back and checking in with me on her own or when I call her. We don't usually do much training other than practicing that. Sheba is just a good dog, because we never even really trained that with treats!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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