We taught our dog Nella a game that’s not just handy, it’s educational and stimulating (and often amusing).
We call the command ‘Go Hide’, but I can forsee many colourful variations. We trained her to hide in her crate, and wait, while we hid a treat (of course, treats are essential). Her crate was out of eyesight from where we would hide the treat (no peeking). She wasn’t allowed to leave the crate until we told her “okay, go find it”, at which point she would run out of crate and look for her treat.
The crate isn’t essential, but you need to train your dog to wait in a specific area (a bathroom would work) from where they can’t see you hide the treat. It seems lame to have your dog see you hide the treat, but it might not matter, depending on your dog.
This game is educational for our dog. It reinforces discipline because our dog has to wait for gratification. She knows there is a treat, but she has to wait until she’s allowed. The game has more to it than merely drilling your dog for a parade.
It is stimulating because she has to find the treat. Her rusty animal hunting instincts are revived momentarily and she is the leader of the wolf-pack, tracking her prey, the wild dog treat that roams the T.V room. She sniffs away at the floor, trying to gain the scent of her quarry, but is hindered by her city-smog affected nose, and the multitude of other scents lingering in the carpet, like the red-herring of baby-diapers, the scent of danger of the razor-clawed Housecat, and the endless wanderings of the hairless house-apes. Her dog senses are sharpened, and so are her hunting skills as she narrows down the area where the treat could be hiding. Finally, the grand moment of the completion of the cycle of life and the food chain, she wolfs down the defenceless treat. She’s momentarily satisfied and then runs back to her hiding spot hoping to play again!
The game is also a handy way to have her literally go and hide. When the door -bell rings, instead of having a two-way conversation between my guest and my dog, I can have her go away and wait until invited back. My guests no linger think I’m yelling at them to sit and my dog to come in.
It’s also entertaining for us because we watch Nella, sniffing away with her dog-nose on overdrive and loudly panting, walk over, around, and past the treat. Sometimes we leave the treat in plain view, which can be very challenging for our dog, and lead to some of the longest hunts. She misses seeing the treat, but can spot a squirrel many kilometers away.
If you don’t believe me, see for yourself, we caught it on video!
This PAWtastic post is a guest post from Sandra Eamor, Business Optimization Consultant at Seamor Consulting. The York Region Small Business Club helps small businesses in York Region connect online and in York Region. Their goal is to provide free or low-cost opportunities for local businesses to connect and engage with each other and ultimately to help small businesses succeed.