How to play Hide and Seek with your Dog
As we start winding down to Christmas, I try to take less session bookings and I had a rare Sunday off from shooting yesterday. Johnny wasn't working either, so I decided to take advantage and swapped my usual Monday off for Sunday. We wandered up to Yarraville Gardens with Lyra bear to grab some brunch from the food trucks. My friend Wendy (who runs Daisy and Friends, the dog walking/pet minding service) and I have just started to try out living a vegan lifestyle (a long time coming for me, so I'm really excited). Unfortunately most of the veggie options at the food trucks contained mayo or cheese, but Gridiron Grills had a vegan falafel wrap that was delicious (once I picked the pickled radish out!)
We played hide and seek in the sunny gardens, one of Lyra's all-time favourite games. We've been playing this since she was tiny and I really believe it's one of the key reasons that she has such a rocking recall. The lady has been trained that finding us is FUN and she comes running from wherever, whenever. Plus, it's pretty handy to be able to send her off to find her Daddy when we're at home (especially if she's bugging me to play or for dinner, haha!)
How to train Hide & Seek:
1. You need two people to start training - once you've been playing the game for a while and they have a solid sit/stay, then you can play with just one person 2. Both people need a lot of yummy treats 3. Have one person hold back your dog, while the other goes and hides. Start by hiding in the same room (e.g. behind a couch). Later you can move onto hiding in different rooms and more difficult locations (e.g. inside the cupboard downstairs). 4. Start calling your dog. When they come to you, make a HUGE deal and reward with lots of treats, cuddles and happiness. Hold them still, while your partner hides. 5. Your partner calls your dog and again makes a huge deal when your dog comes. 6. Once your furry is consistently and excitedly finding you both in varied locations, it's time to introduce the command "Go find *****" (we use Mummy and Daddy, because anthropomorphism.) 7. Your partner holds your furry in one room, ideally with a sit & stay. Say your command "Go find *****" and release them from their sit/stay with your free command hand signal, if applicable. This time, you don't call your dog. They'll will still be in the mindset that looking for you = rewards and will almost definitely start searching. 8. Repeat vice versa, allowing your partner to hide silently and using the command "Go find *****". 9. This is such a rewarding game that it really only took Lyra a day or so to have it down pat. It satisfies her hunting instincts and I find it genuinely fun to play (so much more so than fetch!) The key to continuing the success is to always make a big deal when your pup finds you. Have fun!!!
(p.s. once they've been playing for a while, it's worth making them sit/stay facing away from the hider. Lyra really does try to sneak a peek!)