While your pup can’t have chocolate or candy, there is still a way for them to partake in the festivities of Easter—an Easter Egg Hunt! To turn this fun classic into a dog’s dream game, we’re going to let them search for food hidden in places that are easy for our dogs to find. Once they understand what to do and are finding their hidden treasures quickly, we can make the game a bit harder.
What you’ll need:
- Several large plastic eggs, cardboard toilet paper tubes, or metal pet food dishes.
- Stinky treats like hotdogs, cheese, deli meat, freeze-dried/dehydrated dog treats.
What to do:
- Let your dog sniff and taste one of the treats you’ve picked. You’ll want to ensure they’re excited to take and eat the food they’re going to be searching for (otherwise they won’t bother searching).
- Once you’ve picked your food item, place several pieces in different containers. The type of container you choose to hide your treats in will be dependent on the size of your dog and their inclination to chew or eat unsafe items. If you’re concerned that your dog might ingest the plastic eggs or cardboard toilet paper tubes, simply use several metal pet food dishes to place your food inside of.
- Show your dog the container with the food in it, place it on the ground several feet away from them, in plain sight, say “Find It!” one time then allow them to go eat the food. If you’re using a closed container, you’ll have to help them open it to get the food inside.
- With your dog distracted, hide your containers with food in them in a few easy locations; around a corner, behind a door, under a chair, near a tree, under a bush, etc.
- Send your dog to search! You can encourage them to look by cueing them with the words “Find It!”. If they’re far off, you can help them by walking towards the hidden treats and pointing to where the items are. If you’re playing this game in a safe, enclosed space your dog can be off-leash as they search. If you’re playing in an open area that is not secure, keep your dog on a leash and let them guide you toward the hidden food.
- If your dog is having a hard time, simply make the game easier for them. You can practice Step 3 several times to teach them what the cue “Find It!” means and to increase their level of enthusiasm. To troubleshoot you may also need to choose a more valuable, stinky treat!
* We would recommend playing this game with only one dog at a time to avoid any chance of resource guarding.