Teach Your Dog To Play “Find It”
By Rachele Baker, DVM – I enjoyed Elaine Bryant’s post entitled “Teach Your Dog To Play “Find It” ” on her blog Chasing Dog Tales. So I asked her if she would allow me to re-blog her post on my site so I could share it with my readers, and she kindly agreed. The game of “Find It” is a great way to provide mental stimulation, exercise, and just plain fun for your dog – either indoors or outdoors. And it is really easy to teach your dog this game because dogs love finding treats! Here is Elaine’s post:
If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to entertain your dog, why not teach your dog to play “Find It?” Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and they love to use their noses to hunt and track things, especially yummy things! We humans use sight as our primary sense, but dogs primarily rely on their sense of smell to explore the world around them, which is why this is a very exciting game for dogs. By simply hiding a few treats around a room or outside, your dog will learn to track the treats using his spectacular sense of smell and he’ll work off some of that excess energy in the process. Here’s how it works!
Some dogs, such as scent hounds, master this game right away, but almost all dogs will pick up on the concept fairly quickly. Once your dog understands that “Find It” means to start looking around for hidden treats, you can challenge your dog to become a master “Find It” player by using the tips below.
Tips to Help Your Dog Become a Master “Find It” Player
• Play the game when your dog is hungry to help motivate him even more.
• Hide treats in different locations each time you play the game.
• Hide treats in different rooms of the house or play the game outside.
• Play the game with different types of treats.
• Gradually make the hiding places more challenging.
• Be sneaky, put treats inside of items and up higher.
• If a treat is placed out of reach, make your dog sit once he locates it with his nose, then hand the treat to him.
• Avoid giving hints if your dog looks at you for a clue. Trust me, they will try to recruit you to help find the difficult treats.
• Bonus Tip! By making your dog wait in another room, then calling him in, you’re also reinforcing the “Stay” and “Come” commands.
This is one of my dog Haley’s favorite games and it’s also fun for me to find challenging hiding spots and watch her search for the treats. She always starts off searching with her nose, making lots of noise as she sucks in additional air to try to locate the treats. If she’s unable to find it by scent alone, she switches to using her sense of sight and her nose becomes quiet as she starts looking for it with her eyes. As a last resort, she’ll use her brain to remember where treats had been hidden in the past in a particular room. It’s interesting to watch her different senses in action and it’s funny how she always performs one last scan of the room after I’ve told her “All Gone,” just in case.
Once your dog catches on to this intriguing game, you can build upon it by teaching him to find objects or toys, which is something I’ve been wanting to do with Haley.
So, the next time your dog begs for a treat, make him work off a few calories and have some fun in the process – teach your dog to play “Find It!”