Brain Games For You and Your Dog
Updated: Jul 26
Did you play hide and seek as a child? You remember-someone would hide their eyes and count to 100 while everyone else hid.
The announcement, “Ready or not, here I come!” meant you risked being found if you weren’t quiet and still.
You can also play hide and seek with your dog. If you’re working from home or the weather is too nasty for a walk, you can play short brain games.
It’s been said 20 minutes of brain games equals about an hour of physical activity.
So if you’re pressed for time or are just looking for something to do on a bad weather day, consider one of more of the following games to help pass the time.
Hide and Seek
To start: Have your dog sit or lie down. If you’re by yourself, tell him to stay and walk a short distance away, perhaps just around a corner.
Then call him to come to you. Reward him with a treat or tug toy or just petting and verbal praise.
Then have them sit, down, and stay again in that spot while you find a new hiding place.
If there are two or more people available to play the game, have one person call the dog to them while the second finds a hiding place.
When the second person calls the dog, have the first person find a new hiding spot. Children especially like this game and the entire family can be involved in the fun.
This game strengthens the dog’s recall, making it fun for them to run to you.
It will help them burn energy but also uses their brain power to find you, especially when you have moved from your previous location.
Go Find It
You can play a different version of hide and seek using your dog’s favorite toy.
To teach your dog this game, tell him into a sit or lie down and stay. Let him see you have his toy and put it on the floor a few feet away from him.
Then walk up to him and tell him to “go find it”. Since it’s right there, he’ll find it in no time and if he’s reluctant at first, try to beat him to the toy.
When he finds it, use the toy to play for a few seconds and then tell him to sit and down or stay and hide it again.
After awhile, you can put the toy in the next room or on top of a couch cushion or under a desk.
Dogs love this game when you make a big deal of finding the toy and this will also help wear the dog out mentally.
Find the Treats
Another brain game is to hide treats in one room or around the entire house.
You can put the dog in one room while you hide the treats or have the dog stay with one person while the other hides the treats.
Then bring the dog into that room and tell them to “go search” or another cue.
If the weather is nice, hide the treats outside. Here’s a video of my dog, Hokie, finding treats in Easter eggs. It was her first time and she loved it.
These games are a fun way for the entire family to take a break and enjoy their dog while letting him put his nose to good use.
***If you’re looking for help training or walking your dog, or are going out of town and need pet sitting services, check out our services pages at The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care and let us know how we can help.