The “Find!” command
“Find”: Most dogs love finding hidden treats. This is also a perfect activity for keeping your dog occupied indoors in bad weather! Remember to be consistent in your training rules: if your dog is not allowed to climb onto the settee or go in your bedroom, don’t hide treats there! Choose a room where your pet will feel comfortable searching and sniffing everywhere, without any risk of injury or breakages.
Use one word only, and always the same word, to give your dog a command. Say your dog’s name before giving the command. For example: Jack, find! Your dog will therefore soon make a connection between the sound and the action to be performed. Keep the sessions short, no longer than ten minutes, and pleasant for your dog. If you think your dog is becoming tired or losing concentration, do not insist or get cross, but simply change activity and start again later. Reward your dog with a treat at the exact moment he performs the desired action. As your dog learns the trick, you can give him a pat and verbal praise instead of the treat! For example: “That’s right!” or “Good dog!”
Train your dog to find a treat by allowing him to sniff it, then placing it a distance from him and asking him to find it, saying “Find!” Repeat this exercise until the command is fully understood.
The next step will be to allow your pet to watch you hide a treat out of his sight, in a place which he will need to sniff out, for example, behind a settee, a flower pot, or door. Go back to your dog and say “Find”, and let him find the treat.
Repeat this exercise, this time asking your dog to sit and stay outside a room, while you hide ten or so treats, leave the room and say “Find!” Your dog will love finding all the treats one by one.
When your dog has learnt the trick, you can hide treats in more challenging places or extend the search to several rooms, or even outside!
Dog trainer: Karina Laproye. Specialising in dog casting, coaching and training, the DogActing® firm provides film, television, advertising, photography and events professionals with its specialty dog services. For more information, visit www.dogacting.fr