3 min read


Can Dogs Play Hide and Seek?



3 min read


Can Dogs Play Hide and Seek?


Hide and seek is one of the first games you play as a kid. It's exciting, fun, and often fast-paced. So, why would you want to share that with your K9 best friend? Wait a second - can dogs even play hide and seek? 

It turns out that many pooches do and love it! So, if you haven't given it a try, and you think your pooch might love it, it's time to give it a chance! It’ll appear to their instincts and it’s always great to play with your pup.


Signs Your Dog Wants to Play

A few signs you might notice if your dog wants to play in general are panting, jumping up, putting their ears up, wagging their tail, and maybe even drooling. Generally speaking, most dogs love to play games. They exhibit these signs because they can’t contain their excitement. Playing is not only good for your dog's psyche, it's great for your and their health. Not to mention, your pup is probably a pro at fetch, catch, tag, or tug-of-war already!

If your pup isn’t in the mood to play, don’t try to force them. You can lead a horse - err - dog to water, but you can’t make them drink! A few signs you might notice if they are not in the mood include indifference, ignoring you, ignoring toys you try to use to play with them, and they might even turn their back on you. If your pupper doesn't want to play, don't take it personally. Some dogs just aren't as playful. Chances are though, that they just want to rest or maybe aren't in the mood but will be later.

Body Language

Here are some signs you might notice if your pup wants to play:

  • Panting
  • Jumping Up
  • Wag Tail
  • Drooling
  • Ears Up

Other Signs

Here are some signs you might notice if your dog doesn't want to play:

  • Indifference
  • Ignoring You
  • Ignoring Toys You Try To Use To Play With Them
  • Turns Their Back On You

History of Dogs and Hide and Seek


People have been playing hide and seek for a very long time. According to Britannica, "Hide-and-seek appears to be equivalent to the game apodidraskinda, described by the 2nd-century Greek writer Julius Pollux." So the game has been around for a very, very long time. Britannica also points out that there are many variations of the game and it is played all over the world. As for dogs joining in, we're not sure exactly when they made their debut into the world of hide and seek. However, there are numerous YouTube videos of pups happily playing with their owners and having a ball!

Science Behind Dogs and Hide and Seek


This may not be a coincidence. After all, dogs are instinctive hunters. Don’t be surprised if your pup is really, really good at the seeking part of hide and seek, too. After all, according to Service Dog Central, dogs can hear things that are 80 feet away, while humans can only hear things that are about 20 feet away. 

Your pup’s sense of smell is also much stronger than yours. Animal Planet says that dogs have “220 million olfactory receptors” while humans only have about 5 million. So, your pup definitely has the advantage over you. Also, why wouldn't they enjoy a game that lets them utilize their amazing sense of smell and hearing to find their favorite person? You! They’ll absolutely love it!

Training Your Dog to Play Hide and Seek


As for training, some dogs might just pick it up on it on their own. However, if your pup hasn't played and your not sure if they know how to, there are a few things you can try.  

Snapguide suggests taking a handful of your pupper’s favorite treats and picking an easy hiding spot. It’s key to pick an easy hiding spot to start so that they don’t get discouraged if they don’t understand/don’t find you right away. The handful of treats will appeal to their nose, and this just might give them the right idea. If you give them a treat every time they find you, that will encourage them too.  

As mentioned before, some dogs just aren’t super playful. So, your pup may not want to play, and that’s alright too. Maybe save it for a day when they are in a more playful mood.

So, yes, dogs are completely capable of playing hide and seek. So, get ready for endless fun with all of the members of your family!

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By Katie Anderson

Published: 04/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

Wag! Specialist
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