Train Your Dog

What Do Dogs Think

I believe our dogs are each descended from the wolf, having a hunting ancestry deeply written into his brain. With this in mind, we can understand how his instincts and senses are geared for the hunt. As we take our pets on "off-lead" adventures they may refuse to come to us when called. Our comprehension of this canine behavior may be misunderstood as defiance or disobedience. But, if we look at things from a dogs perspective, we can immediately recognize that his instincts are hard at work.

Golden Retrievers are some of the best water dogs on earth, so toss a stick in the lake and watch his instincts blossom!
Golden Retrievers are some of the best water dogs on earth, so toss a stick in the lake and watch his instincts blossom!

The Canine Hunter Drive

How Dogs Think And Process Thoughts

  1. The dog receives the rich scent of something new, it grabs his attention.
  2. Our human goal is to return him to control and the limited freedom of the leash.
  3. His brain is confused, because he needs to find from where this smell is coming.
  4. Because you are part of the pack, the dog does not understand why you aren't as excited as he is about the possibility of a successful hunt.
  5. He is driven to continue the hunt, while you are driven to gain control, condemning his actions as disobedience.

Your Dog's Behavior

How To Use Your Dog's Instincts to Your Advantage

Of course your dog is smart, sharp and full of high energy. So why won't he stay connected and obey the rules? if we change our strategy from overcoming and denying your dog's natural hunting instincts to a style that uses his ancient drives—utilizing the natural actions of our canine to work in our favor—we might find that the control and enjoyment increases vastly improving our relationship with our K9 companions.

A Dog Park Outing

Even an easy to climb obstacle can increase your dogs learning abilities and help make him a better companion all around.
Even an easy to climb obstacle can increase your dogs learning abilities and help make him a better companion all around. | Source

A Better Dog All Around Dog

Mental and Physical Interaction with Your Dog

I have found that over the years my interaction and relationships with dogs has always been far better when I do more than simply feed and exercise them. We need to involve ourselves with the dog, as much as we expect them to be involved with us. If you are able to physically as well as mentally exercise your dog at the same time, he will become more interested in what you are asking him to do. Which triggers his attentiveness to expand tremendously.

Getting Your Dog To Listen

How To Activate Your Dog's Attention

Nothing a dog does in this life outweighs his ability to seek out, recognize, follow and find a particular scent. You can exercise this extraordinary talent by teaching your dog certain games. By activating his canine urges you will be able to help control what you perceive as his disobedient K9 behavior. If you can employ the right approach when playing these games, you will be bragging on your dog's brilliant displays of prowess in no time. Your dog will begin to look forward to your involvement and the stimulation you trigger when activating his natural abilities. When your dog feels this use of what he recognizes as being most comfortable for him, confidence will grow and his need to go off and stimulate his instincts on his own will evaporate, because he will look to you for this type of stimulus. The result will be a far more attentive dog, resulting in greater control for you. By mentally and physically exercising your furry best friend, you will soon notice him becoming a better dog all around.

You and Your Dog

How much time each day do you spend interacting with your dog(s)?

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Beautiful Dogs like to play hide-and-seek also! A blindfolded dog is an unusual sight!
Beautiful Dogs like to play hide-and-seek also! A blindfolded dog is an unusual sight!

Instinct Stimulating Dog Games


  • Have your dog "stay" (or have a friend hold him if he is too excited or won't remain in place).
  • Show your dog a treat or favorite (or new) toy, giving him the scent as reference.
  • Act like you are hiding the item in several places in the room, under cushions, behind chair legs, under throw rugs etc.
  • Leave the item in one of the places along the route and return to your dog.
  • Tell your canine to "hunt" (I always use the term "hunT", with a sharp 'T' sound).
  • If he isn't understanding the game yet, guide him around the route until gets the idea.
  • Make sure to offer-up huge praise when he finds the item.

Three or four rounds will be enough as an initiation. You will want to increase the difficulty of the hunt as your dog becomes more proficient with the game. Your dog will appreciate the gift of a treat or toy if he can seek-out, recognize, follow and find it using his wolf derived ancient instincts.


  • Hold you dog in place while a companion shows him a toy or treat before running quickly out of the room and hiding. (not too difficult of a hiding spot at first.)
  • As quickly as you can, verbally direct your dog to find the hiding person by saying "search". Walk with the dog in the beginning until he understands the concept of the game.
  • As soon as your dog finds the hiding individual give him very high praise and the toy or treat (both handler and the found person must give the praise reward.)
  • Once your K9 is proficient and understands the idea of the game, you can discard the treat and toy and just have him search for the person.

Playing search games with your puppy will train him to learn new games easier as he gets older. Use his natural abilities to build his K9 confidence.
Playing search games with your puppy will train him to learn new games easier as he gets older. Use his natural abilities to build his K9 confidence.


  • Get a handful of dog treats, making sure your dog is watching while he's restrained by leash or human and scatter the treats like chicken-feed, tossing them all around the yard.
  • Return promptly to your dog and tell him to "seek".
  • The first time you may have to walk your dog around by his leash until he gets the idea of the game.

This kind of search game works very well if you are dealing with two or more dogs. The pack mentality causes them to hunt more competitively, becoming far more stimulated. This is very good for your dog's confidence and self esteem. In the wild, he would have to hunt before he eats, feeling like he's a good provider when he, "brings home the bacon" improves his mental attitude in a big way.

How to teach DOG Games VIDEO (44 seconds)

Teach Your Dog Properly in the Beginning

Each of the above games can be played in an enclosed yard, outbuilding and while on a walk. It is important to keep the search areas small during the learning curve. Feel free to expand the search zone as your dog's ability to search improves and his excitement increases. Be very mindful not to over-stretch your canines budding abilities at first: otherwise you may abruptly lose everything you gained when you taught him properly in the beginning.

One Last Dog Game Tip

If you have a dog who is not eating as well as you would like, or he needs to put on a few pounds, try the above hunting games. The games can stimulate his desire to eat due to the genetic sequence built into his chemistry; seek, hunt, find and then eat. Of course if your dog is showing serious signs of not eating, a vet visit would be in order, before the condition worsens.


More by this Author

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    Discover some pretty common reasons why your female dog is humping. You will also find simple techniques for stopping humping behavior in your k9.

Comments for "Dogs, How to Train Your Dog to Play Games" 6 comments

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I love this hub! I'm going to link to it in an upcoming grammar hub - grammar you say? Yes...I have a dog in the story. Hehe.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California Author

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read and comment on my humble little hub. I am so pleased that each of seem to know the joy that a dog companion can bring! They are a most remarkable being and we all now know "dogs love a good game"!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

My children used to have so much fun playing hide and seek with our dog. One child would cover the eyes while they hid his bonea and then the dog would find the bone very quickly. The boys didn't know how well dogs could smell. There was a lot of laughter over that silly game. I enjoyed you hub.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

The thing that I miss most about working overseas is not having a dog, I don't know about the dog but mine used to provide me with exercise..

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

K9KS - Our little buddy, "War Dog" trains us.:)


patdmania profile image

patdmania 6 years ago from waterford, mi

Good hub, as always!!!!!!

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