Hide and seek is a great game to play with your dog. Not only is it fun for both of you, but it is great exercise and gives your pup a lot of mental stimulation! Hide and seek requires your dog to use their brain in a way that they don’t often do. They have to think critically and also learn to use their nose. This helps tire them out on a day to day basis and also helps with their development as they grow.
Let’s get started with the rules of the game and how to play! It is just like the game you played as a child. You are going to hide from your dog and have them find you. Of course your dog can’t count out loud to 30, so you are going to have to tell them when they can come and find you. The game can be played with one or multiple dogs. Unlike traditional Hide and Seek if there are multiple dogs, there will be multiple seekers, not hiders.
To start playing with a pup that has never played before you will either need to teach your pup a rock solid sit stay or have a helper hold them while you hide. Either option is fine and it really just depends where you are with your training efforts. If you try the stay method and the dog keeps getting up and coming to you before you hide you can keep training on the stay or simply switch and have someone hold them.
It is important to start easy so that the dog can build up their confidence and excitement toward the game. I would recommend starting the game inside of your home. Start by going one room away and standing in the middle of the room. When ready simply encourage your dog to find you by saying a phrase that you will repeat each time you play. We like to say the dog’s name and then “come and get me”! There are a million different options you can choose from, another great one is “Where is daddy/mommy?”. When they find you shower them with praise for a job well done. This will keep them excited about playing the game going forward.
Each time you play you can hide in a harder and harder place. Pretty soon you will be hiding on a different floor of the house in some pretty sneaky places. Some of our favorites are closets and showers with the curtains shut. Another really fun option is laying under a blanket on the floor or a couch where a blanket would normally be. This usually gets the dogs really worked up and excited when they realize you are under it!
Anytime your dog seems to be stumped while playing the game you should call out their name along with the phrase that you chose to start the game. This will keep the game moving and the dog’s interest heightened. As you increase the challenge your pup will start to use their nose more and more which is great for building brain power. Just like with hiding locations, the better your dog gets at the game, the more silent you can be. We like to stop reusing the “Come and get me” phrase and switch to just making a light tapping noise or something else that will keep the dog interested, but not fully give away your great hiding spot.
If you master this game in your home you can even start to play in the yard or at the dog park. This is one of our favorite games to play with puppies and we hope that you enjoy it too!