It is best to start playing this game when your dog is a puppy and her instincts to follow you are naturally strong. If you’ve ever watched a kid play with a puppy, you’ve probably seen this training done perfectly. Kids tend to run from interest to interest, and the puppy naturally pursues them and expresses interest in the same thing that interests the kid. That’s because kids and puppies exemplify the natural relationship between people and dogs, wherein people and dogs pursue their interests together. Dogs lead when the task demands a superior nose or ears, and people lead when eyesight and planning are important.
Even if your dog is older, you can recall her instincts to follow and lead with you as a team. The training may require more suggestion and control from you at the beginning, but eventually, your dog will get the idea that working with you brings better things than working on her own can.
Your goal in this training is to show your dog precise leadership. You will show your dog that if she follows exactly in your footsteps, she can find all kinds of interesting things that she could never have discovered by doing it her own way. The best way to guarantee this is to bait the trail you leave. Bring not only yummy treats and enticing (and ideally brand new) toys, but all sorts of things that have new and interesting smells, tastes never experienced before, noise makers, etc. The goal is to show your dog that playing 'follow the leader' with you is about discovery.
When your dog plays leader, you will need ways to remind her to wait for you and lead you realistically. Be prepared to pretend to dramatically try to climb through shrubbery or under things you could never fit under, to teach your dog to lead in a way that you can follow. Wear practical shoes and clothing. It is important if you are doing training off-leash that your dog has reliable call back training, or that you are in a contained area.