How to Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog

Are you wondering what kind of activities you can do with your beloved canines inside on a chilly or particularly swealtering day? When it’s too cold or too hot for outdoor fun, your pup is bored of his usual dog toys and has mastered all of its food puzzles, try a good old-fashioned game of hide and seek!  

Playing inside forces dog owners to get up off the couch and makes for happy memories! Here is how to teach your dog to play a fun game of hide and seek using training and instinct.

Game on!

how to play hide and seek with dog

Hide & Seek is a fun game that can also help with dog training. This game works especially well with Labrador retrievers and hunting dogs, but any dog can play!

It’s important that your dog understands the commands “sit/stay,” “come,” and “find.” These are the main commands you will use in this game.  

If your pooch does not yet understand these commands, playing this game with him or her for the first time can be a great training opportunity. Teaching your furry best friend this great game is also a fun way for them to learn while providing mental stimulation. 

How to Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog

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Step 1: 

Lead your dog to a room or on his bed with the “place” command and say “sit.” Get your dog’s attention, then walk backward away from your dog telling him or her to sit and stay.

Initially, make sure your canine pal can still see you as you back away. After your dog stays while you’ve walked away approximately ten feet, dash back toward your dog and reward him or her for sitting and staying. Give your four-legged friend a pat on the head or a hug and say, “Good dog!” 

(If necessary and as appropriate, give him or her a small dog treat. Or if not treat-motivated, their favorite toy. Eventually, substitute treat-giving with only a verbally expressed show of appreciation for sitting and staying and a loving hug or pat.) 

Make sure your dog can see you first and understands that you want him or her to sit and stay in this first training segment. 

Step 2:

Next, position your dog with his or her back against the wall or furniture. Then say, “Sit and stay.” Walk to the other side of the door or entryway so your dog can no longer see you. Your dog may look around for you, but simply make sure he or she stays where they are. 

As appropriate, continue to use the sit and stay command so your dog understands what you want him or her to do. In this step of the training, you are out of your dog’s eyesight. If your dog stays sitting while you momentarily disappear, come back and reward him or her for obeying your commands.  

You might need to repeat this step a few times until your dog gets the hang of it with a consistent “stay.”

Step 3:

When you think your dog is ready, repeat step 2 again, then disappear from his or her field of vision. Be silent and go hide. Once you are hidden, then say your dog’s name followed by “Come,” “Find me,” or “Come find me!” 

At the beginning of teaching your dog this new game, don’t make your hiding place too difficult for your dog to find you. Over time, make your hiding spot a little bit more challenging for him or her. 

Tip: If they are still struggling to find your hiding place, hold a handful of kibble or treats so your dog’s sense of smell can find you. 

Step 4:

Once your dog finds you, remember to lovingly reward him or her for successfully retrieving you! 

Adding players

A variation of playing this game with your dog is to include another person (or the whole family!). Your dog must know the other hider’s name and be familiar with them.

The game begins with you placing your dog in the “sit” and “stay” position. Then, command your dog to “find” the other person. Or, the other person can call your dog from his or her hiding place. If your pup finds the other person, both people need to reward the dog with “Good boy!” 

Play the game as long as your dog and you and the other person want to play. Make the hiding places more and more challenging. For an extra challenge, try to switch things up by having your dog hide!

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Have fun!

Don’t let the winter blues or rain ruin the whole day. Once you train your dog to play, Hide n’ Seek will be one of your dog’s favorite games in no time. Looking for more ways to have fun with your dog inside? Check out Social Distancing Before It Was Cool: Solo Fun With Your Dog for other great ideas.

Have fun with your dog. The more time you spend with him or her, the more you strengthen the bond between the two of you.