Indoor Brain Games - Entry #1 (Hide-and-Seek)

January 20, 2010

We have had quite the cold spell in Tennessee this past month. A look at The Weather Channel tells me that most of the U.S. has weather that is just as miserable. Even so, it is important for your dog to get his exercise. Studies show that dogs who exercise regularly (both body and mind) are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems, such as excessive barking, chewing, and separation anxiety. But who wants to go outside for exercise in sub-zero temperatures? Fortunately, Dog World has provided some suggestions for fun/safe games you can play inside with your pooch if the weather is unbearable, one of which is the first entry in this new series.

Hide-and-Seek, Version #1
Dogs love nose games. Their keen sense of smell provides lots of options to occupy their minds & bodies. To play this game, you first need to place your dog in a DOWN position and tell him to STAY. (See the "Teaching Basic Commands" blog series for help with these commands.) If your dog does not know these commands, have someone else hold him. Now hide in another location in the house. Initially, you can hide in the next room to make the game easy, but once your dog picks up on the game, hide farther away in the house to make it challenging.

Once you've hidden, call your dog. Stay absolutely still and try not to giggle as you hear your dog running from room to room making loud sniffing noises. When your dog finds you, go crazy with delight, give him a little treat and tell him what an amazing search-and-rescue dog he would be.

I must say that our dogs absolutely LOVE playing the above game. And what a great way for them to practice the Sit/Stay command!

Hide-and-Seek, Version #2
For a different hiding game, take out a package of tiny treats, as well as one big bonanza goody, such as a nice meaty bone or a large chewy treat. Put your dog in his crate or in a room. Once you're out of sight, start walking around the house, dropping a small treat every few feet. At the end of your treat trail, hide the bonanza goody under a towel, behind the drapes, in a shoe or under a couch cushion - anywhere challenging.

Then go back, release your dog and walk with it to the beginning of the food trail. Watch as it follows your tasty path throughout the house - nose to the floor and ears perked - and ultimately discovers his jackpot.

*Thanks to DogWorld Magazine for the above games.

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