5 Reasons to Play Hide-&-Seek With Your Dog
Are you feeling restless? Do you need more fun in your life? Do you feel like you're losing that spark that you once had? When was the last time you laughed together...REALLY laughed together?
I'm talking about you and your dog, of course!
Daily play time is essential for your dog, but it doesn't have to be boring for you. Hide-&-go seek is one of my all time favorite games to play with dogs...and here's why!
1. It helps cultivate a killer Sit-stay. This game involves putting your dog in a sit-stay for increasingly long periods of time, so it has many practical applications and can be considered part of your training routine. And when the dog is finally released, the reward is major - he gets to hunt (weeee!) and then find (WEEEEEE!!!!) his target (you WEEEEHEEEEEE!!!!), and is then showered with lots of happy praise and affection. This teaches the dog that there is a MAJOR pay off for fighting the urge to break a stay command and increases the likelihood that the dog will actually WANT to remain stationary in anticipation of the reward.
2. It channels his natural drives. Hide-&-go seek is essentially a hunting a game. That makes it an excellent way to channel a dog's natural instinct to hunt, track and trail. Dogs that are given healthy and constructive ways to channel these natural drives are more balanced and better behaved.
3. It builds confidence. Yes, dogs need confidence too! The act of a successful find is a great way to help boost your dogs sense of confidence, autonomy and prowess. These qualities are important for a dog to feel comfortable and secure in new environments and situations. Fearful and insecure dogs can benefit greatly from playing games that help to bolster their confidence.
4. It will deepen your bond. Playing any game with your dog is a great way to enhance the bond between you, and this game is no exception. It will help build trust, leadership and communication. It will also help your dog to view you as a source of fun and excitement, which in turn makes him want to pay more attention to you!
5. It's fun. It can be easy for life with a dog to become routine. Playing games like hide-&-go seek will put that spark back into your relationship. It will have you both genuinely engaged, and will most likely result in a ton of laughter and sloppy pooch smooches. When you can find ways to make fulfilling your dog's needs fun for both of you, you'll find that you and your dog are happier, and your dog reponds to you more readily. It's a win-win for all!
Christine Fasan is the head trainer and canine behaviorist for K9 Holistics. She specializes in German Shepherd Dogs and healing reactivity in dogs of all breeds. K9 Holistics offers dog training and behavior modification in St. Petersburg and throughout Pinellas County. We also offer pet care services including dog walking and pet sitting. Please contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org