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Whether you have a small puppy or a fully grown, mature dog, one thing remains the same: your dog loves to play with you. As far as your dog is concerned, you are his whole world, and he loves nothing better than spending time with you. That’s why it’s so important that you make time each day to just play with your dog.
One of the most fun and exciting ways to do this for both you and your dog is by playing hide and seek. Dog hide and seek is not only a great way for both you and your dog to get some exercise, it also helps you bond with your dog and is great for his critical thinking skills.
How to Play Hide and Seek with Your Dog
Playing hide and seek with your dog isn’t exactly like playing hide and seek with other people, and there are a couple of different ways to play.
Hide and Seek One-on-One
One of the ways you can play hide and seek with your dog is by playing just one-on-one, you and him. You take something with you that he wants – a favorite toy, perhaps – and go hide. Then, once you’ve hidden, you call out for your dog or squeak the toy and have him come find you.
Once you call for him, he will start looking for you by listening for your voice and using his natural sense of smell to track you down. Once he finds you, make a big deal out of it. If you have his toy, give it to him, but don’t stop there. Give him lots of tummy rubs, several “Good boy!” praises and maybe even a treat. This will keep him interested in the game and make him want to play more often.
Hide and Seek with the Family
The second way you can play hide and seek with your dog is to get the whole family involved. For this method, one person goes to hide, and other family members then entice the dog to go search for that missing family member. Take this scenario for example:
Three family members – John, Casey and Tina – are playing with their dog. Tina runs off and hides while the dog stays behind with John and Casey. Then, once Tina has hidden, John and Casey start asking the dog, “Where’s Tina? Where’d Tina go? Go find Tina!”
The dog then uses his sense of smell to track down the missing Tina.
Once the dog has found you using this method, you can use the same methods of praise and celebration to make him feel good about finding you and want to continue to play the game with you and your family again and again.
Whichever method you choose to use, or if you come up with your own version of hide and seek, this is one of the best dog games you can play with your pooch. It’s very interactive and takes the both of you to make it work, allowing you to bond with your dog much more than is possible with a simple game of fetch.
How to Teach Your Dog to Play Hide and Seek
When you first start, it’s important to keep your pup interested. This might mean letting him find you pretty easily at first. As you play the game more and more, you can hide in more difficult places and challenge your dog even more.
However, in every game, it’s important to remember not to allow your dog to do anything during the game you wouldn’t let him do otherwise. For instance, when he finds you, don’t let him jump up on you or climb onto furniture that you wouldn’t normally let him climb onto. Remember, bonding and playing with your dog is important, but not at the expense of teaching him bad habits.
Spicing up the Game
In order to make the game truly fun for your dog, try adding in some toys. There are hide and seek dog toys and games that help your dog practice hide and seek when he’s not playing with you and games and toys that help enhance your play with your dog while you’re playing together.
Here are some of the best ones we found online.
Hide and Seek Dog Toys
Outward Hound Interactive Plush Hide and Seek Puzzle
This toy can’t be used while playing hide and seek with your dog, but it is a toy that helps your dog practice playing hide and seek by himself. This toy looks like a tree trunk, and it comes with three plush squirrels. You take the squirrels and hide them inside the trunk as far as you can get them. It’s then up to your dog to sniff around and listen for the squeaks to find the squirrels in the trunk and pull them out.
There are three different sizes of this toy, making it perfect for dogs of all sizes and breeds. It’s a unique puzzle toy that will help improve your dog’s critical thinking skills. This makes him more likely to enjoy and do well in his hide and seek games with you.
This is another game you can’t exactly use while playing together, but you can use it to improve your dog’s critical thinking skills and allow him to play a version of hide and seek with himself.
With this mat, you hide your dog’s food or some treats in the part of the mat that looks like a flower. Then your dog is forced to use his sense of smell to search the entire mat and track down his food or treats. When he is successful, he is self-rewarded with the food or treat he found.
Dogs love to chew on things; puppies and young dogs are the worst about this, but all dogs retain the desire to chew on things even as they age. Toys tear up quickly; rawhide has recently been linked to health issues; and replacing shoes and clothes that have been eaten gets very expensive.
However, these genuine antlers are safe and healthy for dogs to chew, and because they are so strong and durable, they last a long time. This makes them a fan-favorite with dogs of all ages and the perfect toy to entice your dog to play hide and seek with you.
You can start the game by playing a quick game of tug with your dog’s antler toy. Get him a little riled up, and then take the antler with you when you go to hide. Once you call for your dog, maybe even tap the antlers against the wall or floor, he will come running. Once he finds you, reward him with praise, belly rubs, and giving him back his antlers, of course.
This is another great toy for playing hide and seek with your dog for a couple of different reasons. It is especially great for when you are just starting the game with your dog and he’s not yet sure how to play.
First of all, it has a squeaker inside it that you can squeak if your dog is looking for you and can’t quite seem to find you. This keeps you from having to keep calling out to him. He can start listening for a simple squeak and track it down.
Second of all, the long, floppy tentacles are another great addition to the toy that makes it perfect for those first few days of teaching your dog to play hide and seek. Like the squeaker, the tentacles can be an additional way for your dog to track you down in your hiding spot, especially if you’re hiding behind or inside something. You can squeak the toy and leave one or two of the tentacles hanging out of your hiding spot for your dog to see when he comes searching.
This toy, too, is a great toy for training your dog to play hide and seek with you. This particular toy is extremely noticeable. It is loud and has over 18 different sounds to entice your dog to come find it. It also flashes with bright light in case the noises aren’t enough to catch your dog’s attention.
You can use this toy in the same way as the octopus listed above. If you’re hiding somewhere where your dog can’t seem to find you, you can use the toy’s light and sound features to give him a slight hint as to where you are. Plus, this toy is just a lot of fun to play with at anytime.
So grab you some toys and some treats and get ready. You and your furry best friend are going to have a blast figuring out the best way to play your own exciting version of hide and seek.