Mental games for dogs: Hide & Treat
Keep your dog entertained with a canine spin on classic ‘Trick or Treat’. ‘Hide and Treat’ focuses on encouraging your dog's impulse control. Impulse control is an essential tool for a happy, healthy, well, behaved dog. Once learnt can then be moulded to suit different situations.
Is this game right for my dog?
Your dog may be in need of better impulse control if:
- They zoom off to the front door as soon as someone appears.
- They try to jump out the boot as soon as it opens.
- They snatch treats from your hand, or;
- They snatches things like food off the floor etc.
How to play
It is an especially useful tool at this time of year when more tempting foods are around. Teaching your dog impulse control will provide a safety net, for example if a chocolate was to fall off the side. Try this short game with them a few times a week this halloween.
- Start by holding several treats in your hand. Close your hand and present your treat-filled hand just above nose level to begin with.
- Let your dog investigate so they know treats are inside. Ignore any attempts at interactions made with your hand such as pawing, licking, nibbling.
- As soon as they lose interest and stop interacting with your hand, give them a treat from your other hand.
- Quickly shut your hand closed again when your dog returns to investigate and repeat the exercise.
Repeat and repeat
- Repeat this step until your dog is deliberately staying relaxed and calm or away from your hand that is holding the treats.
- At this stage, you can start to make it more difficult by opening the palm of your hand so that the treats are on show.
- If your dog moves to eat the treats, simply close your hand.
- Once your dog can observe the treat in your open hand and not try to snatch it, you can reward them.
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