Once in a while, someone will tag Rugby or I in a video of their dog playing the “Find the Cookie Game” on Facebook, or I’ll get a post or message telling me that they played it with their dog and had a lot of fun with it! I absolutely LOVE watching dogs and owners playing games together, or interacting in some form or fashion….especially when it’s one of Rugby’s very favorite games! “Find the Cookie” has been a staple game that I’ve played with Rugby for years, and he never tires of playing! Every time you use a new room or patio, you’ve created a whole new game for your dog, and they’ll come to life! If you’re new to the blog, you can search the blog for “Friday Fun: Find the Cookie Game” to get instructions about how to play with your own dog.
This is a bit of a variation of that game that you can try with your own dogs when they’re ready. After playing “Find the Cookie” for a very long time, I realized that Rugby really understood that the word “Find” meant to look for something. He just needed to be told what he was looking for! I thought I’d try teaching him something new, and of course, I knew that Rugby would be completely excited to do that!
So, it was natural to start with asking him to “find the piggie,” because he already knew what a piggie was. I started working with the piggie in plain sight, in the living room…pointing to it, so that Rugby knew what I wanted. Then I started taking him out of the room and hiding the piggie in the living room, and bringing Rugby back into the room to hunt for it. I hid it under blankets, pillows, or behind furniture or on a shelf that he wasn’t expecting. When he would find the piggie and pick it up, I gave him a treat and let him play with his piggie.
Over time, I started hiding the piggie in new rooms, and teaching Rugby the names of those rooms by sending Rugby to find the piggie in the kitchen, or the dining room, or the bedroom or my office, etc. Over time, Rugby has learned the names of additional toys, and he also knows the names of most of the rooms in our house. I’ve been able to expand his vocabulary, and make a simple game a whole lot more fun for him.
This has had additional benefits I never thought I would see. If I need Michael for something, I can send Rugby to go find Daddy in the living room. Rugby will run to the living room and bark at Daddy. This is just another simple way that I can give Rugby a job to do, and he loves that!
Many of the fun things that we do together have just come from taking a basic idea and putting a little twist on it to create something new. I’ve let Rugby often take the lead on this by showing me the things that he’s interested in, and just going from there. He’s always ready for some fun, and very simple ideas are sometimes the best ones!