This is one of our favorite games to play at home in the house or yard! It’s a wonderful way to reinforce the come command, and it gets your dog very excited about wanting to find you and come to you! All you’ll need are some friends or family to join you, and a few bites of dog food or very tiny treats for everyone.
You’ll start the game with everyone in the same room, or out in the yard, but spread out. The person who starts the game will hold a treat in their open hand, in front of their knees, and say, “Sparky! Come!” Be sure sure to hold your hand down at your knees so that it’s more at eye level for your dog. You want your palm up and hand open so that your dog can obviously tell that you are holding something out for him. You’ll want to use a really happy, excited sound in your voice! When your dog comes to you, let him have the little nibble, and be sure to give him some nice sweet pets and praise. Then stand up straight, put your hands behind your back, and it will be the next person’s turn to call. They’ll repeat exactly what the first person did. You’ll continue to take turns until all of the treats are gone.
When you start playing this game initially, make sure your dog can easily see you, and then just simply take a step backwards with each turn until you’re out of sight when you call your dog. When we play this game in the house, after we each take a turn calling Rugby, we move to a new spot, often in a different room, so that he has to look for us and work to find us. This way, he’s having to think and problem solve, and those are skills that he really loves!! Start simply, and make it harder as you go. You want your dog to have success in finding you; not frustration over a game that’s too hard to figure out. Remember, anyone plays a game because the goal is to win!! Be sure your dog can win when you play with him!
When Rugby finds us, he’s always so very excited, and our obvious enthusiasm over his success really helps fuel his excitement in wanting to continue with the game. It’s a great rainy day game to run off energy or help re-direct a dog or puppy who is being naughty or in a mood to terrorize at home! Helping him focus on something positive will often completely change a mood from frustrating to fun!
If you have kids, they will really love playing this as much as your dog does! Really young children can be paired up with older kids or an adult. It’s a great game to help your dog see your kids as leaders instead of as playmates!
Get busy this weekend, and play some Hide and Seek Come with your own dogs!!