My favorite game to play with my first husky, Natasha, was hide and seek. As a little girl it was great fun to have my dog find me no matter where I stowed myself. This game with my dog was something I would occasionally show friends. Remember how no one ever wanted to be "it" when playing hide and seek with your childhood friends? Well, Natasha was always "it!" Not once did it occur to young me that this amusing dog and kid hide and seek was a cool trick, great exercise or excellent recall training. But as an adult, I continue to have fun playing hide and seek with my dogs and while it is still entertaining, it is also easy fit dog fun and productive training time.
When I used to play hide and seek with Natasha, my brother or a friend would hold Natasha's collar while I hid. Sometimes I still play this way, with Jason, my mom or another training partner distracting one or all of the dogs while I hide. But more often, I will sneak away to hide while Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley are distracted with a nap, a chew or a wrestling match. It doesn't take them long to notice I am missing and dash off to find me. And when they do, they get lots of praise and a jackpot of treats.*
To begin teaching the hide and seek game, either have a helper human assist your dog in finding you or hide somewhere very close to your dog, in a place that your dog frequents and finding you is relatively easy. When I taught this game in junior handler classes, partners would encourage beginning hide and seek dogs to "find Susie." After playing only two or three times, most of the dogs would leap about the room to find their young handlers. If your dog needs any extra encouragement, pleasant noises like giggling or even happily saying your dogs name will get them started or sped up in searching for you. Avoid using any recall words like "here" or "come" while playing hide and seek with your dog. This training game is a fun and informal way to get your dog to want to be near you. Hide and seek doesn't necessarily need a training label or word but using "find" before any family members