3 Easy Indoor Games that Become Impressive Outdoor Tricks
Maybe it’s a snowy or rainy day and you’re stuck indoors, or you’re working from home, or your car is in the shop. Whatever the motivation, playing these three indoor games with your dog will help you have a better trained pup when you venture outside. Impress your friends and family with your dog's new skills and gain confidence on your “on” or “off” leash walks.
1. Find It
Find it is a great game to play to tap into your dog’s naturally excellent sense of smell. To start, grab a toy like a kong or a ball that you can hide a tasty treat inside. Place a treat in the toy and keep the toy in your hand. If your dog is in another room and you can “hide” the toy in plain sight, go ahead and do that now. If your dog is watching you like a hawk as you mull around the house with a treat filled toy, either put your dog in a sit- stay or snap a leash on. The goal is to have your dog on leash at your side and have the toy “hidden” somewhere in view.
Next, walk your dog towards the toy, and say “find it!” When they see the toy, say “good find it!” and reward your dog with the toy and the treat inside. Keep playing this game and increasing the difficulty of the hiding spots. Eventually, you’ll be able to hide the toy under objects or even within drawers. As your dog plays the game, they are learning the “find it” command.
When you head out on your next outdoor adventure, or even the back yard, bring the toy and hide it somewhere creative. When you say “find it” your dog will be exercising their brain and body while they search for their toy and treat.
2. Hide N’ Seek
Hide N’ Seek is a game that works on your dogs recall or “come.” It’s very important to have an established and obedient recall. Not only is it frustrating to say your dog’s name and get no response, but it can also be dangerous. If your dog slips their collar or sneaks out the front door, having the assurance that a simple “puppy, puppy, puppy, come!” will turn your dog right around could save their life and save you a whole lot of stress.
To play the game inside, first grab a special treat (something good that your dog doesn’t usually get like these liver treats). Squat at your dog’s height and let them slowly lick or chew the food between your fingers. While they lick, gently say their name three times followed with the word “come” eg. “tucker, tucker, tucker come!” open your fingers a bit and as they finish the treat say “good come!” Do this several times. Next, either put your dog in a sit-stay or ask a friend or family member to hold their collar while you move into an adjacent room. Once you and your dog are separated, say your recall and have the person holding the dog, let go. Your dog will be searching for you. You may need to repeat your recall to help them locate you, once your dog finds you, excitedly say “good come!” and reward them with the special treat. You can increase the difficulty of this game as your hide in rooms farther and farther away from your dog’s starting point.
Teaching Hide N’ Seek lays the perfect foundation for a strong recall and provides fun for your dog on an indoor day.
3. Give and Take
Give and Take is the starting point for a successful game of fetch. To play, you’ll need a dumbbell toy, or something similar, that’s easy for your dog to hold in their mouth, and easy for you to take back. First, place the toy in your hands and allow your dog to gently take it from you while you say “take.” When they take the toy, reward them by saying “good take!” Next, (you may need a small treat in hand) say “give” while you either gently take the toy from your dog or swap the toy for a treat. When your dog releases the toy to you, say “good give!” Repeat this until your dog begins to understand the meaning of both the “give” and “take” commands. Make the game more challenging by placing your dog in a sit-stay and tossing the toy. From a sit-stay, release your pup by saying “take!” and have them return to you and release the toy with the “give” command.
Give and Take is an awesome way to teach your dog to have a gentle mouth. You can take the game to expert level by associating words with specific objects and assigning tasks for your dog like “take the newspaper” and “give the newspaper.” In no time, you’ll end up with a very obedient dog who knows how to play fetch and get objects around the house or yard.
The End Result
No matter what games you choose to play with your dog, remember that exercising their mind is just as important as exercising their body. Find It, Hide N Seek and Give and Take are three easy, fun, indoor games that will translate to outdoor obedience and joy.
Obedience training helps build confidence in insecure, fearful, nervous, and shy dogs.