Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

How to Train Your Dog for Hiking

Dog for Hiking - Happy Breath

There’s nothing that says outdoor adventure like hiking with your dog. Dogs can be great hiking partners due to their energetic, playful and loyal nature. However, an untrained dog can not only become a nuisance to you, but to other people as well.

Here is our comprehensive guide to training your dog for hiking. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about hiking with your dog in a  safe, eco-friendly and respectful way. By the end we are sure you’ll have what you need to make your pet the best ambassador of the canine world they can be.

Respecting the Hiking Environment

It is very important to keep in mind that while hiking with your dog may serve as great quality time between you and your pet, it should not come at someone else’s cost. Many other people visit hiking trails regularly and your dog should not be a nuisance to them.

It is essential that before taking your dog to a public place that you train them for the outdoor world. Managing your dog’s behavior is about respecting other people’s space as well as respecting the environment.

Keep in mind that the wildlife on a hiking trail is also someone’s responsibility. There are many people who look after, maintain and control the ecosystems and wildlife habitats on a hike trail. Making sure your dog respects the outdoor environment around them and does not disturb the ecosystem is an essential part of training your dog for hiking.

The more often dog owners start bringing their pets to the trail, the more pressure that puts on the wildlife and ecosystem of the hiking trail. This is why hikers with dogs certainly carry an extra responsibility to train their dog adequately before bringing them on a hike.

Hiking With Your Dog – The A, B, C’s

When hiking with your dog on a public hiking trail, there are many things to keep in mind. While we will cover all of them in this article, lets us start with the three basic things you need to know.

These are the A, B, C’s of dog training for the outdoors. If you are thinking about training your dog for hiking, this is where you will need to start.

Appropriate behavior

It is essential that your dog is on their best behavior when around other people and in an environment with a lots of wildlife.

Basic Signals

It is very important that you have trained your dog to understand basic hand and verbal signals from you. Without this basic training, controlling your dog on the hike trail around other people, and potentially other dogs, will be an impossible task.

Controlling Impulses

Dogs are probably some of the most impulsive and easily distracted creatures that exist. An outdoor hiking trail is chalk full of distractions for your pet dog. However, making sure that your pet is trained enough to ignore their impulsive behaviors when commanded is essential before hiking with your dog.

Basic Commands

Training your dog is a long process that requires dedication and consistency. There is perhaps no limit to what you can get your dog to do if you invest enough time and energy into adequate training. However, for the average dog owner, there are only a few basic commands that you need for training your dog for hiking.


Dogs are very excitable creatures and love to express their excitement by jumping onto things, including other people. The last thing you want while hiking with your dog is for them to start jumping on other hikers.

The command ‘off’ should be used to teach your dog to stop jumping onto things, especially other people. This should be distinguished from the command ‘down’ as this should be used to get your dog to lie down on the floor.

‘Stay’ or ‘Wait’

This is another essential command if you’re looking to go hiking with your dog. Often, you may want to sit to take a break or just to enjoy the view, but your dog will want to keep on going.

During such circumstances it is important to train your dog to listen when you tell them to wait or to stay. The last thing you want is for your dog to run off ahead of you, or chase after a rabbit.

‘Heel’, ‘Sit’ and ‘Come’

It is said that it is much easier to teach your dog a fancy trick then it is to teach them these basic commands. This is because these ask the dog to control their basic impulses.

However, when hiking with your dog, or taking them anywhere outdoors, ‘Heel’, ‘Sit’ and ‘Come’ are among the most essential commands to teach your dog.

Potty Training Tips for the Trail

Most people are not fans of stepping on dog poop when they are on their hike. That is why you are often legally obliged to clean up after your dog in public places.

Therefore it is important to condition your dog not to go potty whenever they feel like it. Training your dog for hiking involves teaching them to relieve themselves on command and to do so when and where you instruct them to.

Further, make sure you clean up after your dog in an effort to respect the environment, as well as the caretakers of the trail, who may have to clean up your dog’s feces if you don’t.

Dog Training Tips

Experienced dog owners should not have much of a problem in training their dogs to follow these basic commands while outdoors. However, novice dog owners may need the help of a certified dog trainer.

A dog trainer will teach you how to be clear and consistent when training your dog for hiking. They will teach you how to set up reward mechanisms that will reinforce the learned behavior and teach the dog to trust you.

When training your dog for hiking it is imperative to get the instructor to help you train them to walk on a loose leash. This will help both of you have a great time while hiking.

Finally, the age old adage that you are your dog’s master should be dispensed with. It’s more helpful to think of you and your dog as part of a single pack, and yourself as the pack leader. Fostering this attitude will help cultivate a loving and trusting relationship between you and your canine companion.


Hiking with your dog can prove to be either the best thing ever or a total disaster. It is essential that you understand how it could go wrong as well as the environmental significance of training your dog for hiking in the outdoor world

This is however a very possible task. If you train your dog to ignore their impulses and listen to the basic commands above, we are sure that both you and other people will love having your furry friend around on the hiking trail. Happy Training!