If you are a dog lover and you are seeking adventure, you might be interested in ways to train your dog for a treasure hunt.
Most of our four-legged friends are, by nature, curious, super active and love spend time outdoors. If you let them, they can spend hours in nature, playing, sniffing, and looking for different traces. If you like to be outside as much as your dog, you can do a lot of things together. Some people take their pups when they go cycling, running, rollerblading, and so on. Even if choices are numerous, a lot of people don't have the time always to entertain their furry family members adequately.
If this is a case for you and you are struggling to find a way to appropriately challenge your dog, both mentally and physically, with a limited amount of time, we suggest that you try a treasure hunt.
Training Dog to Treasure Hunt
Keep in mind that we are not talking about a real exercise for a treasure hunt. Although you cannot know what might happen if you develop searching skills in your dog. Maybe one day, they lead you to some long lost, hidden treasure.
But in the meantime, you can have fun with your pup while he or she is developing their cognitive and physical capacities. One of the games that don't take a lot of time is the scavenger hunt.
There isn't a dog owner who doesn’t know that dogs are natural scavengers and love to search for food. You can use the passion that they have to turn it into a way for them to expand their mental and physical energy to get the treat. When you realize how to make a treasure hunt, you don't need a lot of stuff – even the DIY toys and doggy puzzles where you can put scavenger hunt clues will suffice. Of course, you need to check safety issues with the vet before starting playing.
- Start slowly. Not every dog is the same. Regardless of how much they like to eat, each dog will react differently to the proposed treasure hunt ideas. If you notice that your pup is getting nervous or is hiding for some reason, take a break.
- If your dog is afraid of something, for example, a toy, use distance instead of pushing her or him to come closer. Let them get them to sniff and get to know the thing on their terms.
- Give your puppy some treats. For instance, if your dog doesn't seem interested to look for a toy with snacks inside or is afraid of it, you can create and treasure trail with kibble or treats. Your little four-legged friend will munch on pieces on the way until they arrive at the treasure they were meant to find. Even if they were showing signs of fear, when they sense that toys smell delicious, this will pass, and the dog will be thrilled about this prey treasure hunt.
- Keep in mind that this is all about having fun with your puppy, not about preparing them for a real treasure hunt. The more relaxed and patient you are, the happier the dog will be. Forcing dogs to do something they are not interested in doing will never be successful.
- As the dog gets older, you can do some more complicated exercises. Some people call this K9 hunt. You instruct your dog to sit and show him or her the treat. Then hide the gift somewhere but in a way that the pup sees what you are doing and tell the dog to look for the treasure. Once they master the first step, you can pretend to put treats in different places while you are putting them in one a let your dog have fun.
There are plenty of ways you and your pup can have a lot of fun, and the treasure hunt is one of them. Besides being fun, it is also an excellent exercise for times when you don't have opportunities to go jogging with your four-legged best friend. Remember to be always patient and gentle, and things will develop quickly. How do you spend time with your dogs?
About the Author
Thomas Quarry is a journalist and a dog lover who lives with three dogs, adopted from the shelter. As all of them were already adults when they came to live with him, it took more time for them to get used to each other. During this adjustment period, he researched to find out about different fun things to do and later decided to share experiences.