By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 12/10/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
Scavenger hunts are a "furrific" way to add some pizzazz to your daily dog walks. So how do you go about setting up a scavenger hunt dog walk? You're about to find out!
Set out on your regular walking path before your walk. Hide some of your pup's favorite things along the walkway — mix things up with a bone here and a toy there. Change the "difficulty settings" by partially covering some of the hidden treasures with leaves or sticks.
Dogs that are unaccustomed to scent work may find completely obscured objects too difficult to find. You may need to experiment with different hiding methods and locations to determine what works best for your pet.
Other sizable treats
Pick toys that are brightly colored if your dog is new to hunting games, but neutral colors will be fine for dogs used to scent work. It might help to pick larger toys when starting since they'll be easier to find. As for treats, choose dog biscuits and meat sticks rather than small moist bites.
Before setting off, show your dog a treat, then hide it with them watching. When Fido retrieves it, praise them. This short exercise will introduce the idea of scent work to your dog.
When you're ready to start the scavenger hunt, begin the walk as usual. As you approach hidden objects, give your pup the same cue as earlier — this will let your woofer know that a "treasure" is nearby. When your pooch finds something, praise and pet them enthusiastically.
If your pup is having trouble locating the treasure, use your foot to direct their attention to the general vicinity of the find. Your dog may be confused at first, but they'll be a pro by the end of the walk!
Doggy scavenger hunts benefit pets and their parents too. Any game between pet parents and their fur-babies encourages bonding and mutual respect. Scavenger hunts also help your dog learn scent work and gives them practice obeying commands like "find it" and "drop it". Engaging young dogs in games can help expend some of that endless puppy energy, which translates into peaceful dreams for dog moms and dads.
Let's be honest — daily dog walks along the same streets can get a little boring. We hope this article inspires you to spice up your dog walk with a scavenger hunt or other games. Even if the game is a flop, your pup will appreciate the thought you put in. Half the fun is watching your dog get excited over their finds. The real treasure is the kisses you'll get when they find those treats!
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