Hide and Seek is favorite game in our house. This game can really tire a dog out, and it’s perfect for yucky weather! (You can play outside, too.) There are many variations. In our house, we most often hide toilet paper tubes with treats inside, as in the video shown here. We also hide ourselves, while the dogs are “waiting” in another room. We give the cue “Come find me!” and they come bounding in to locate us.
What To Hide
- Treats or food
- Treats/food in toilet paper tubes*
- Treats/food in crinkled up paper or cloths*
- Food-stuffed Kongs or Toppls, or other food puzzle toys
* Give your dog the treat-stuffed tubes, paper or cloths a few times without hiding them, so they learn this part of the game first. Do not use cardboard, toilet paper tubes, cloth or paper if your dog ingests these items.
How to Teach the Game
Repeat each step or level of difficulty at least 5 times. Resist the urge to help your dog. If your dog gives up and stops searching, the game is too hard. Reset and move the items so they’re easier for your dog to find the next time. Build up the difficulty level more gradually. The goal is to get your dog searching and sniffing until they’ve found all the hidden items and you’ve given them the “all done” cue.
- Show the dog the treat, toy or other object, then place it on the floor. Tell them to “Find it” or “Search.” Praise them as they find the item. If using a toy, deliver a food bonus or play a quick game of fetch or tug with the toy.
- Repeat, but this time place the treat or object at a distance from the dog while they watch. (Have your dog in a stay, behind a baby gate or on a leash/tether.) Step away, then say “Find it” or “Search” to send them hunting.
- Now hide the treat or item out of your dog’s view in an very easy-to-find spot, like just around the corner or behind a furniture leg. Let them watch you hide it.
- Put your dog in another room behind a gate or door, or in a stay out of view, so they cannot see you hide the treat or object.
- Hide multiple items or treats, gradually increasing the number over time. Say, “All done!” when they’ve located the last one.
- Start with items close together, and gradually spread them out to expand the search area.
- Hide in increasingly more challenging spots, such as higher up in vertical space or underneath a blanket or cushion.
I hope you and your dog enjoy this game as much as we do!