For those of you who have been doing training challenges with us for a while, you’ll recognize this one. It’s so beneficial to our pets that I had to bring it back!
Play “Find it” 3x per week
I’m a big fan of “lazy man’s” find it: scatter a bunch of treats or food on the floor and let your pet search for them. I play this with Oso while I’m watching TV at night. He has a great time and I get to relax. Win-win!
I recommend playing for just 10-15 minutes to start with, 3x/week and see how that impacts your pet’s behavior. For many pets I see that this relatively small amount of scent work is sufficient to decrease attention-seeking behaviors and increase periods of rest. You may decide to increase or decrease how frequently and how long you play for depending on what you see from your pet! And keep in mind that this isn’t just for dogs; there are many species who would love to play this game, too. I’ve known many cats who love this!
Check out our Facebook Live Training Challenge video for instructions on how to teach your pet to play the “lazy man’s” version of “find it”:
Why “Find It”?
There are several reasons why we love this game and it’s one that we recommend to almost all of our clients. Here are some of our favorite reasons:
- Great for relationship-building, especially for kids.
- Ticks the box for several categories of enrichment: foraging, mental exercise, and for some individuals the calming category.
- Fantastic for animals with anxiety, fear, and compulsive behaviors.
- Can be built upon for behavior modification techniques later.
- Grab some treats and start playing!
- If your pet doesn’t already have a cue to search for food on the ground, teach them a word or phrase (the video above tells you how).
- If your pet is already a pro, you can increase the difficulty by playing outside in the grass or by hiding treats under furniture or items.
- Make sure you’re only hiding food in places where your pet is allowed to search. For instance, don’t place food on a table or counter if you don’t want your dog to search there normally!
- Post videos on our Facebook page of your pet searching! We would love to see your pet enjoying this game.