Search Party

During the section discussing toys I encouraged you not to throw a ball constantly for your puppy. A fun alternative game is to make the puppy search for hidden ball or a toy instead.

For this game you need to get your puppy focusing on a toy it really likes such as a tuggy or on this occasion a ball. You will also need either some treats or a second toy that you have hidden in a pocket.

Play the “Play and Swap” game with your puppy in a small, enclosed environment so that it really likes the toy or ball. Once it is focused on the toy or ball:

  1. Hide the toy but allow your puppy clearly to see where you are hiding it
  2. Let your puppy search for the toy, you can even give a “Find it” or “Search” command as it is searching. This should be a relatively easy task as the puppy watched where you hid it.
  3. When your puppy finds the toy use your clicker and then either get the second toy out of your pocket and use it to play the “Play and Swap” game or reward with a food treat.
  4. Play with your puppy; make finding the toy a big event.
  5. Gradually start increasing the distance and the difficulty of the search.

A useful tip if your puppy does not bring back the object is to keep your puppy on the lead or long lead.

This game is not only great entertainment but encourages your puppy to use their sense of smell. The game is suitable not only for puppies but for dogs of all ages and can be played in a wide range of locations. As examples you can play the game in virtually any room, along a forest track, or in a field in long grass.

You never know maybe someday you could teach your puppy to find your missing keys or your phone (I wished I had taught this to Manouk!).