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Create an Easter Scavenger Hunt for Your Dog

While kids are participating in Easter Egg hunts, we want our pups to have an activity, too. Here's a DIY version of putting together a scavenger hunt for a dog.

First, we have to teach him the concept of "Find It." We can do this with either treats or toys. If you use toys, make sure your dog actually likes the toy he is supposed to find! For brevity, we're just going to say "treat" here.

Begin indoors (to avoid distractions), and put your dog on a leash (or on a Stay if he has a reliable Stay) and show him a treat. It's important at the beginning that your dog sees what you want him to find. What you're doing now is connecting the words "Find It" to his looking for the treat.

  • Toss the treat just in front of him and say "Find It."
  • Drop the leash and let him get the treat.
  • Tell him he's a good dog when he finds it.
  • Repeat about 6 times and keep throwing the treat further and further, making sure he looks at the treat each time before you throw it.
  • Now tether the leash to a piece of furniture that's heavy enough so it won't move if he pulls. Walk away from where your dog is tethered and place the treat so he has to go into another room to find it - but he should still be able to see it - perhaps put it on the floor just inside the doorway.
  • The next time and succeeding times, place it further into the room so eventually it is out of sight and he has to search for it. Tell him to "Find It."
  • Then vary the places that you put it - instead of just putting it on the floor, put it on a chair, a table, the couch, a bookshelf. (If you don't want your dog on your furniture, then omit this part.)

You can also put it behind a door, underneath a rug, behind a chair, etc.
If he needs some help, you can go with him and use your hand to guide him where it is.

Now you can make it even more interesting and take the game outside and/or put the treats inside something. Your dog should be able to rip apart the "something." Use empty boxes, toilet paper tubes, newspapers, etc. Make sure he doesn't eat the "something" while eating the treat! You can also nestle several "somethings" inside each other - such as putting a treat in a piece of paper which is in a toilet paper tube which is in a box.

Outside, you can hide the treats behind trees, on a chair, behind a bush, etc. If he's racing around the yard and has no clue what he's supposed to do, then you go with him guide him with your hand as you did inside and also can say "Find It" as he gets near it and "Good Dog" when he discovers it. If the yard is where your children's egg hunt has been, be sure that there is no human food left in the yard, especially chocolate which can be deadly to dogs.

Children can also participate by hiding the treats themselves. And everyone has had a good hunt and played a fun game - and has settled down....

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