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Let’s Play: Find it!

Find it! is Tank’s favorite game in It turns out that it is a great training exercise as well! In find it, dog’s use their nose to locate a hidden toy or treat. It’s an excellent way to begin nosework and can build confidence in dogs!  This is another great idea for a game to play with kids and dogs. Here’s how to start:

Step 1: Which hand? Find it
Start with a treat in one fist, but not the other. Offer both fists to your dog and say “Find it”.When he nudges the fist with the treat, reward him with another treat! Try practicing by switching hands. When your dog catches on, you’re ready to play the next part of this game.
Step 2: Basic Find it
With your dog nearby, “hide” a treat in plain sight. Say “Find it!” If your dog runs to you, show him your open hands. If you spent enough time on the first step, your dog should start looking for the treat right away! If not, go ahead and practice the first step again. Once you are confident that your dog understands the cue “find it”, you can start to make the game more challenging. Try hiding a treat or toy in a single room. Let your dog watch you “hide” the item at first. Always try to set your dog up for success. If they are struggling to find the item after looking, help point them in the right direction!

Step 3: Advanced Find it
In advanced find it, I first tell my dog to “stay”. If your dog doesn’t know how to stay, try having a helper keep your dog busy or putting your dog in the kennel while you hide the item.  Experiment with hiding the item in different places. First try different rooms. You can also try hiding the item under a box or blanket or by hiding the item at different heights in my house.  I also vary the amount of time between hiding the object and saying “find it”. We also love to play this game in the backyard!

Variations on Find It

  • Take a number of empty boxes or bins and place them near each other. Hide the treat in one of these boxes and ask your dog to find it!
  • Have a friend or family hide and have your dog find the person!
Try find it today! It can be a quick game to play for a few seconds a game can go on for as long as you like! It’s a great way to keep your dog (and maybe your kids) busy on rainy days but is just as much fun outside in the back yard. If you’ve already tried this game, leave a comment and tell us what your dog thinks!
Remember, if you get stuck, I’m you’re friendly neighborhood Petco trainer, ready to help!

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