One of my favorite games to play with the pups is Hide & Seek, especially on crappy days when most of our time is spent indoors. I remember playing it quite a bit as a kid and like it a lot for the pups as well because it ticks off several boxes.
For one, it engages them on a mental level since they have to concentrate on obeying commands. It also challenges them on an olfactory level since the pups have to rely on their noses to sniff me out, and last but not least it’s a good physical exercise since they’re running around the house, to include up-and downstairs.
What You’ll Need For This Game
I typically allot 10-15 mins for a session of Hide & Seek, but you can obviously go for longer sessions, too. Your pup(s) will need to know the “stay” command and you’ll need something your dog is willing to work for.
For my pups, the clear answer to that one is TREATS! I use a treat pouch to carry them around the house with me, but of course it’s not a necessity. I just like the convenience of being able to strap it around my waist and reach into the bag as I go to reward the pups.
In case you're wondering what kind of treat bag I use - it's the treat pouch by Mighty Paw which I recently reviewed here: Mighty Paw's Dog Treat Pouch - Perfect For Dog Walking & Training.
Now here’s how we play the game:
Step 1: I Tell Missy & Buzz To “Stay”
This game starts with a good ol’ “stay” command. I usually tell the pups to go into their respective crates and “stay” in there. We’ve played this game so many times that they know to wait for my release which, in this case, is “Come find Mommy”.
If you need a few pointers on how to teach your dogs a “stay” command, check out my post below to see how I taught Missy & Buzz.
Step 2: I Go Hide Myself Somewhere Inside The House
This is where the fun begins – I hide myself somewhere inside the house. Some of my favorite spots are in bathtubs, behind curtains and inside closets.
I also hide inside the pups’ crates (obviously this is only going to work for you if your dogs are large to extra large), behind couches, doors, under the dining room table and, if I want the pups to work extra hard, in my bed under the covers or in my car in the garage.
Step 3: I Call My Dogs & Tell Them To “Come Find Mommy”
As mentioned above, I release the pups from their “stay” by saying “Come Find Mommy” in a happy, loud, upbeat voice. Use whatever word or phrase you want your dogs to associate with finding you. You could just call them by using their names or saying “come” if that works better for you.
Just remember to convey pure happiness in your message – no dog is going to feel inclined to come your way if you sound pissed or angry.
Rewarding The Pups For Finding Me Behind The Curtain
Rewarding The Pups For Finding Me In The Tub
Rewarding The Pups For Finding Me In The Closet
Step 4: I Reward The Pups With Tasty Treats For Finding Me
Here’s the part that Missy & Buzz love best – their food reward! Depending on the size of the treat I use when playing the game, they’ll get one or two bites whenever they find me. I use a number of single-ingredient treats for the pups, typically freeze- or air-dried ones.
Favorites are anything by Real Pet Food whose monthly single-ingredient treat box we are subscribed to, Instinct Raw by Nature’s Variety, and Live Pawsitive’s treat selection.
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Step 5: Repeat Several Times
Once the pups have claimed their reward, I tell them to sit or down-stay where they found me and go to my next hiding spot. We typically play this game for 10-15 minutes, then go take a potty break, and then the pups will relax on the couch.
Depending on my schedule, I either join them or do whatever I have to do. The beauty of this game is that it burns a nice amount of physical AND mental energy and leaves the pups somewhat pooped and ready for a nap.
The pups and I have been playing this game for 5+ years. When we first started playing it, we lived in an apartment and while we didn’t have any stairs for some added physical benefit like we do now, it worked perfectly fine there as well.
It’s a good indoor boredom buster and works well to practice some basic obedience like the “stay” and “come” commands.
Give it a shot and let us know how it went! As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!