Monday, May 9, 2011

It's All Fun and Games: Hide and Seek

(by Ana Grimh, CPDT-KA)

Do you remember playing hide and go seek as a child? Or, even now, do you play with your own children? How about with your dog?

Hide and seek is a fabulous game to play with your canine family member - it can begin to establish with your dog that he should keep his eyes on you! Not only that, but it lays the foundation for recall (aka, "come").

How do you begin? First, take your dog somewhere new and fenced in (ie, "safe"). Play with your dog for awhile, then wait around until he gets bored and starts exploring the area on his own. Sneak away and hide behind something. Hide somewhere that allows you to peek out and keep an eye on your dog, without letting him see you.

When he looks up and around, and realizes he lost you, he'll look a little worried. Make some little noise, from your hiding spot, until his head gets directed generally toward you. Then try being quiet again. Let him worry a little and let him do the work finding you. Make another little noise if he gets way off track.

When he does find you, squeal with delight and go running off, letting him chase you around, or drop onto the ground for some belly rubs and lots of praise! Then, go running off and hide again! This time call him as you run off, then dart behind something. It doesn't matter if you're not completely hidden, he'll still have fun finding you. Once your pup figures out this is a fun game, he will try to watch you more closely, so he can win.

Also try it at home, indoors. It can be a good way to exercise him on rainy, icky days! Make it easy at first, and slowly increase the difficulty of finding you. Remember to try it in unfamiliar places away from home, too. That will have the biggest impact on helping him realize that he can't afford to lose track of where you are.

Happy training!

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