How to Play “Find It” With Your Dog

Here’s how to create your own “Doggie Easter Egg Hunt.”

My beloved mutt Baxter is a mix of who-knows-what. But somewhere in there, I’m pretty sure there’s a hound. Dude looooves to sniff!

When we first adopted Baxter, I started playing “find it” to test his nose and to have fun together.

Basically, it’s a doggie version of an Easter egg hunt. So I thought, given that we’re a week away from Easter, I’d share it with all of you.

I’d love to hear what games you play with your dogs, and especially any nose games those of you with sniffy dogs play.

How to play “find it” with your dog

1. Select a favourite treat. Small bites are best.

2. Put your dog in a stay (or, for the advanced version, put your dog in another room).

3. Hide treats around the room. Under tables, behind chairs, or just along a wall. I like to make it a bit more challenging by varying the height of the treats, so I will put a couple on the fireplace hearth or on the TV stand.

How to play Find It with your dog

4. Hold a treat in your hand and let your dog get a good sniff. Feed him the treat and then tell him to “find it.”

5. If your dog is new to the game of “Find It,” you may find it helpful to escort him to the first treat.

6. Once your dog has found all of the treats, acknowledge his success with a “good dog” and scratches or a toy.

Here is a video Baxter playing Find It:

Click here if the video is not showing.

Do you play “find it” with your dog?

What other games do you play with your dogs? Any tips for games for sniffy dogs?

Let us know in the comments!

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada.

15 thoughts on “How to Play “Find It” With Your Dog”

  1. I technically shouldn’t play this game with my dog because we do Nosework and she’s on odor – but sometimes I am just too lazy to get out the scent kits.

    I put her in a down-stay out of sight and hide stinky treats all over the room, then release her to “go find.” Each subsequent round is more challenging because of lingering treat odor and my dog having to discern which is old and which is new.

    We’ve also played this game with a hidden teaball containing a stinky treat. It’s an easy way to give her a bit of a mental workout.

      1. I wouldn’t say advanced – just lazy! I was looking for activities that gave the most bang for the buck in terms of mental exercise for her relative to exertion for me. Sometimes at the end of a long day, it’s nice to have something easy to fall back on.

      1. I didn’t have to teach my dog this game. I hid the treats when she was outside one time and told her to “go find” when she came back in. To my surprise, she started searching and just picked up the game.

        My only guess is that she somehow figured out what “go find” meant when we would ask her to locate a certain stuffed animal (“go find Fish!” or, “go find Fox!”), the scent of the treats was lingering in the air, and she found that scent quickly.

        I’m curious as to whether a dog bred to hunt would be similarly quick to pick up on a hunting game.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          I’ve played it very briefly outside where I just have him sit and I toss one piece of kibble into a woodchip area. He finds it pretty easily. I haven’t played it indoors yet or with multiple pieces of food at once. It might be a game the two dogs could actually play together.

  2. We did nosework with Stetson and on Easter week the instructors put about a hundred plastic easter eggs in our training room and only one had odor (I think we were doing birch). Stetson was pretty quick to find the correct easter egg. He loved nosework class. I’m hoping to get him back into it as soon as they start offering classes again.

  3. This is by far one of the best games ever. It’s such an easy way to give them a mental workout and keep them busy. We play it a couple times a week and Laika loves it every bit as much as the last time.

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