12 Days of Christmas Challenge!

At the beginning of the month I challenged you to spend some time with your furry therapist this season to help you beat some holiday stress!  I was sitting here today, wondering how many of you had taken me up on my recommendation.

I probably should have dared you to comply!  I am sure there are more people out there like me, who have trouble committing unless dared to do something.  This got me into a little bit of trouble in high school, and even though I am barely (wink, wink) into adulthood I still suffer from the need to take a decently proposed dare.

I also noticed today that there are 12 days till Christmas.  So here it goes, I Double Dog Dare you to complete each day of training posts while you and your dog work your way towards the Christmas Holiday.

Hide & Seek

To get the 12 days of Christmas started out right and on a completely fun paw, I want you and your family to play hide and seek with your dog tonight.  This is my favorite game, because it teaches your dog to find you, and to come when called, which is crucial.

If your dog already knows this game, teach him to find family members by name or just indulge him in his favorite game.

You’ll Need

  • Some good high value treats (Chicken, liver, cheese) peas sized or smaller
  • A clicker if you are clicker training (and I hope you are)
  • Your children and/or your spouse or roommate
  • A desire to have some serious fun
  • Your dog

The Game

Don’t go and get your dog, in fact, wait until he is not paying any attention to you ; call his name and praise him repeatedly as he comes to you.  When he arrives, click and treat.

If you are playing solo (just you and your dog) wander off and wait until your dog is again seemingly disinterested in you.  Call his name, as soon as he looks at you praise him over and over again, click and treat when he gets to you.

Get use to praising him constantly as he looks up, rises and begins to come toward you.  If you don’t continually praise him, he might get bored and decide not to come.

  1. Scenario 1: “Pooky, Come!.....................COME………….”  versus,
  2. Scenario 2: “Pooky, Come!  Good boy, Good boy, Come!  Yeah, Good boy!” with some clapping and excitement.

Which scenario do you think he would prefer and would be most motivating?  You must get animated and convince him how sincerely fun this game is!

If you have family to help you engage in training, make sure everyone fills their pockets with treats.   Have one person lightly hold the collar of the dog while the other personal almost teasingly gets down in front of the dog, claps and then dashes off to a hiding spot.

NOTE: You're going to also want to avoid making any of these 5 critical coming when called training mistakes as you train your dog this fun game.

Your dog will be almost over stimulated and beyond excitement when the person calls his name and gives the Come command.  Remember even though you can’t see the dog looking for you when you are hidden, you must assume he is…so continue calling and praising.  Good Boy!!

When he reaches his destination, give him a click, a treat and praise.  Then this person holds the collar while the first person, excites and dashes off to hide.   Continue playing until everyone is getting a little tired.

At first hide in simple spots, perhaps just from one room to another, then as your dog gets more proficient, you can begin hiding in more elaborate places; in the bathtub, under the bed, and my favorite: in his crate (wait till you see the look on his face).


  • You must hide somewhere where he can reach you
  • You MUST continually praise him, even if you can’t see him looking
  • You must have fun!

You will see as you continue to play this game, that your dog actually has a sense of humor and enjoys nothing more than spending good quality time with you.  This game is fundamental if your dog ever gets lost, or you need him to come to you when there are distractions around.  Hopefully it will become his favorite game and he will learn leave everything else and come to you quickly the moment he is called.


You are also teaching him to use his other senses to locate you.  He learns to use his ears and his nose to locate you.   Some dogs panic when they are lost and their basic senses shut down, but you are teaching him to hone his many senses and to look for you in all kinds of silly places.

Playing Hide and Seek Can Be So Much FUN!

This game can also be played outside (and should be played outside occasionally), so if the weather is good; take it outside and have fun!

Don't forget NEVER, EVER, EVER yell at your dog when he comes to you, or do something distasteful when he comes.  Don't call him when he is in trouble, or all your hard work will be ruined!

Keep loading that clicker, more clicker training games to come!

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  1. Nancy says:

    I hope everyone is having fun with your games. I loved game night with Chingy and you. I’m hoping to finally get another dog once I’m back home and settled. So all your advice will come in very handy. I might even get some agility stuff built. Chingy loved everything but the jumps!


  2. sue glazer says:

    hi, bleu and i always play hide and seeks outside, besides being a frisbee dog, he loves to find me behind the trees, in the barn and down at the corral and he also runs to hal when asked “where is dad”? he is a love and we love him just as much as he loves us.


  3. Barbara Ames says:

    Ping loves this game. We have one of those floor plans where you can do a figure eight and we have two floors, so we can get quite a variety of searches in. We rely on this game a lot because we’re guessing now that her dad was a Border Collie (mom was a Corgi/Chow mix) and she is very high energy, whereas my husband and I are a couple of old farts. We’ve got about 1//10th of her energy, so we had to get creative. I might mention that we adopted her from a shelter where she was born and she was chosen because of her quiet, gentle disposition. Well, she still has her gentle disposition, but quiet is something she works very hard at for us. Any other battery burning games out there for folks in our situation? By the way, Ping is beside me right now, “huffing” at me to shut the computer down and come play. Send help…please? (he he)


    Minette Reply:


    Games and fun are my specialty! Go back and search through my blog http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog and you can find all kinds of stuff. But this will help get you started.


    Not to mention, each day of that 12 days of Christmas challenge has a game to play or a quick task to teach! Tell Ping you need just a few moments to get these read and then get out there and have some fun together!

    Also if you go to the video vault http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/DogTraining/Dog-Training-Videos/
    and I have lots of training video to help you play some games and teach her some tricks!


  4. Barbara Kondrath says:

    Where do I buy a “clicker”?


    Minette Reply:

    Any pet supply store, some Walmarts, or do a search for dog clicker online


  5. Mollie says:

    Tippy,a large puppy that looks kinda like a red bone coon hound, appeared on the back of my house on my back patio, in my chair on a cold, cold January day. I looked at her, she at me, got out the chair, I opened the den door, she got down on her belly and crawled into my den. I sat down, didn’t try to touch her as thought she might be injured, gradually she got up and came to me. I didn’t want a dog, didn’t need a dog, but I have a dog and we are having a “whose in charge conflict”. Walking w/leash is a big deal, She is so stong and I am 80, she can pull me around the block if I let her. Am using a choke chain, but she will choke herself to death I don’t really jerk her to heel. Still she is not wanting to do that. Want to sniff everything. Have read all the above info and will apply those lessons. Love the play “Hide N Go Seek and will do that because she does not come when called. I do use the clicker, not consistently because have to hunt for it like my my glasses! Will try to do better. She loves her rewards, especially cheese. She loves me, I do her, have fenced part of the yard, got her spayed in Feb. Vet said she approx 4 mos. old at that time. She is very playful, very rambunkuous, loves everyone and will, one day, grown up and be a good mate for me as she outgrows her puppy stage. Not a huge barker but is dependable if stranger is around. Thanks for all you do.!!


    cheryl Reply:

    Mollie i have a very rambunctious 14 month old, 55 kilo plus english mastiff puppy. I found that the choker chain, may as well have not existed when he decided that he wanted to be off. I invested in one of the halter leads that go over there nose and around the back of the head. I swear i went from walking a bulldozer to a lamb. he rarely pulls now and even when he does, he cant go any where and i have the control. LOVE it 🙂


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