Teaching your Pup to Play Hide & Seek

Picture this. You’re stuck inside on a stormy, chilly day and your dog is running around the house, full of energy and unable to go on his daily walk. What to do to burn off that excess energy? A good old-fashioned game of hide & seek. Not only is this a good game for your dog, but it engages both his body and his mind- your dog will get exercise in and will have to think, problem solve, and locate you. Hide & seek also engages your dog’s sense of smell that will be used to locate you. As humans, we aren’t great smellers. However, the sense of smell is very important to dogs. This game is great for the whole family to participate in, and gives everyone involved plenty of exercise and entertainment. Here are the steps to follow to teach your dog how to successfully play hide & seek. 

Here are the teaching steps.

Hide & Seek, dog playing hide and seek with owner

Step 1: Let your dog see you hide.

This method is beneficial because it allows your dog to know your location. Dogs are always looking for their pack leaders. Have an assistant hold your dog on a leash. Talk excitingly to your dog while you go and hide behind a piece of furniture, tree, bush, etc. Let the dog see you hide.

Step 2: Reward them for finding you.

 Command your dog to find you. Have your assistant take your dog off his leash and follow him. Your dog will more than likely run to you, mostly basing your location off his sense of sight, as he saw where you hid. This establishes the concept of hide & seek. When your dog finds you, reward him and praise him with a treat or toy.

Step 3: Make it harder.

Make the game a little more challenging. Hide farther away than you did the last time. Increase the complexity of your hiding spots, and don’t let your dog see where you’re hiding. Let the dog search and use his sense of smell, hearing, and sight to guide him.

Step 4: Transfer targets.

Have your assistant command your dog to ‘find.’ Start substituting yourself for another person that hides while you direct your dog to find you. Reward your dog for finding the new person while you are the one guiding him to seek.

Two Dogs Playing Hide & Seek

We hope these tips help you with teaching your dog how to play hide & seek. If you want additional help with teaching your dog to play hide & seek, contact us here at Ruffger’s.  We would also be happy to help enroll your dog in training classes with us.