Play hide-and-seek with your dog

Most dogs love games and one game that you can play with your dog inside or outside, is hide-and-seek. Not only is this game fun, you also teach your dog to stay close to you when walking off the lead while out on walks. He won’t wander too far from you and will know to look for you every now and again.

How to play:

Step 1 – You might need another person to hold your dog while you hide without him spotting your hiding place. If your dog is trained, ask him to ‘stay’ and then leave the room or area.

Step 2 – Once you are settled in your hiding place, call your dog’s name. You can encourage him at first by calling him more than once. Dogs know their owner’s voice and scent better than anyone else’s, and it will be a challenging game for him. You can make the game increasingly more intricate by hiding in harder-to-reach places.

Step 3 – When he finds you, reward and praise him for his good searching skills. That will encourage him to continue the game.

The rules:

Before participating in any games, both you and your dog need to understand that all games have rules that should be adhered to. Because pets don’t always understand the human rules, we have to teach them the rules.

Rule 1 – Humans control games and therefore you should start and end the game on your terms. You should initiate the game when you are ready. Set the tone of the game and if it gets too rough, end the game.

Rule 2 – Play with durable toys and not human limbs – teach your pet that your limbs are not prey items.

Rule 3 – The toy belongs to the human. At the end of a game, put the toy away – offer your dog a high-value treat in exchange for the toy and when he drops it, say a word like “drop”. He will eventually respond appropriately to “drop”.

Always end the game on a positive note. This way your dog will look forward to your next play session. Remember that your dog will not always be in the mood to play, especially if he is tired. Respect that and don’t force him into a game when he doesn’t feel like it.