An Egg-travagant Event
First and foremost, Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate at this time of year or not, we hope you have a relaxing bank holiday. This time marks the end of Lent where many families celebrate with an easter egg treasure hunt for family and friends. Though large gatherings are limited this year, keeping our spirits high and chins up really matters, so I’m going to share an idea for some Eastertide fun, with a difference!
The Easter Egg hunt, with a puppy spin, is a personal favourite of mine. As children we all loved treasure hunting and so this game is not one we have been saving up for this holiday, but playing for years. In fact, we have been playing ‘treasure hunt’ with our puppy every week, and with his button nose, he’s already a lot better than any of us.
SO easy and engaging, your pup is going to love it. If you haven’t played this with your dog before, no fear, they’ll soon get the hang of it. All you need is, either, some dry kibble/treats or your pup’s favourite toy – whatever your choice of item, we shall call it ‘the treat’ for now.
Disclosure: Chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs, do not feed your dog chocolate.
Let’s just start it easy…
1. Close off one room of your house or go into the garden with your dog.
2. Ask your dog to sit and stay - Whilst they patiently sit and ponder, move to another part of the space, making sure your dog can still see you.
3. Place the treat on the floor, or on a piece of furniture that they can easily reach, return to your dog, and release them with a ‘search’ command. Everyone uses different commands and it doesn’t really matter, but it might be ‘find it’, ‘fetch’, ‘expelliarmus’, or WHATEVER.
4. If your dog is learning a new command repeat the command often while they are hunting, especially if that tail starts to wag, and again when they find it. They will soon pick it up.
5. If your pooch doesn’t quite understand what is going on and looks at you in a disbelieving manner, as if to say, ‘What did you go and do with my treat now??’ Step slowly nearer to the treat, saying the search command. If you get so close to the treat that you’re practically standing on top of it, point to it and say your command again.
6. Once they find the treat, praise them & fuss them repeating the ‘search’ command. The more they hear it the better chance they have of remembering and associating the command with their hunting game.
7. When they’ve got it, move on to Stage 2! This is a fantastic and fun game to encourage them to use their best piece of equipment - their nose - to sniff out specific goodies!
Stage 2 - Reset
8. Place the treat near to where you first placed it, (this just helps our little guys to understand what the aim of the game is). Again, have them sit and stay, walk back to them and release them with the search command. Some dogs will understand the aim of the game, others may still need encouragement. Ensure that upon each step closer to the treat with your dog that you say your command, as well as when they find it, giving them lots of praise.
9. If they wander off sniffing in a completely different direction, stop saying your command, and then return to using it once they are headed back in the direction of the treat – just like the hot and cold game!
With a lot of fun under your belt, your dog will have learnt their new command, and will go sniffing for their reward upon command. To keep this interesting for your pup you can:
A) Use a different hiding place each time
B) Hide the treat in a different room so that they can’t see your movements – as long as they know what they’re looking for, they’ll go sniffing on command, just make sure they know what they’re looking for!
C) Expand the area that they have to search - with our older dog, we would have her stay in the kitchen whilst we hide it in an upstairs room.
D) Put it under or in something – under pillows or in a cardboard box
E) If you’re using a toy, have them return it once they have found it
Treasure hunt’s are a marvellous source of enrichment for your dog’s lifestyle. Problem solving stimulates their brain, boosts their confidence and engages your dog with their natural instincts.
For the perfect treat or toy to play this game with, we have a list of our go to's just for you!
ROPE TOY Natural materials rope toy - https://www.kerapets.co.uk/product-page/eco-ball-good-chaps
HOME MADE TREATS Make your own ‘fun shaped’ treats to hide, get our favourite recipes when you order - https://www.kerapets.co.uk/product-page/canine-cookie-cutters
RABBIT Wainwrights rabbit dog toy – a personal favourite, with rustle and squeaker - https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/wainwrights-rabbit-dog-toy