Dog treat games
Treats are a great way of showing your dog affection and rewarding them for good behaviour, but they should always be ‘treated’ as a reward for something done well. Teach your pet how to work for their treats with these fun and simple games.
Dog treat games are great for training, developing skills, focusing your pet’s attention, and even building the bond between owner and animal. Try some for yourself to find out just how fun they can be for both of you!
Remember: any treats should be accounted for within your pet’s daily food allowance. Don’t forget to adjust the quantity of food that you’re serving for their main meals, in order to avoid weight gain.
Sniff the treat
It’s just as it sounds, but here’s the lowdown on how to play ‘sniff it out’ with your canine companion.
First, select a tasty Bakers treat variety to excite your dog’s senses. Choose something with a tempting scent, such as our delicious Meaty Twists. Hide the treats around the room, or house, or garden… wherever you don’t mind your dog sticking their nose!
Once concealed, encourage your pet to seek out the treats, and reward them with additional audible praise when they find anything. If your pet struggles at first, try putting the treats in more obvious, visible places. Your dog will soon learn to rely on their nose in this great treat game for dogs.
Once they have the hang of this dog treat game, you even use it to develop their other skills and commands. Use ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ to begin the game, and come up with a new command to let them know when the hunt is on!
Top tip: Remember not to hide your treats anywhere your dog can cause damage or disruption.
Guess the hand
This is a great treat game for dogs that haven’t practiced their sniffing skills much before. Just as you would a magic trick for children, offer your fists to your pet to see if they can sniff out which hand has the treat hidden within.
If at first your dog is confused, demonstrate the game to them clearly. Hold out both of your hands, palms up, in front of you. Have somebody else place their favourite Bakers treat in one of your palms, and then close your hands into fists. Encourage them to gently touch their nose to the correct hand, and offer them the treat when they do so. You can gradually build to putting your hands behind your back, and even swapping hands when they can’t see.
Top tip: It’s a great party trick, too.
Tug of war
This energetic dog treat game will certainly get your pet working for their reward! A little bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone, and playing a game that involves both of you will really help to build your bond.
A good ‘tug of war’ depends on setting the rules from the start. Ensure that your pet understands ‘drop it’ before you begin to encourage them to pull a rope against you! If they ever become overly enthusiastic with their rope tugs, then cut the game short, and don’t reward the behaviour. Be sure to treat your dog to a yummy Bakers treat whether they win the pull or not. It’s the taking part that counts!
Top tip: If you’re dealing with a bigger dog, or one with a lot of energy, make sure you’re strong enough to take them on. A good old tug of war is a great treat game for dogs to get rid of excess energy, but be sure that you’re up to challenge of your canine.
Hide and seek
The ‘extended’ or ‘bonus’ edition of ‘sniff out the treat’ involves both owner and pet. Your dog will absolutely love the added thrill of finding you as part of their dog treat game! You’ll need two humans to every canine for this version.
Select their favourite Bakers treat, and find yourself a place to hide. Your dog will play the role of ‘seeker’, along with their other human companion, who can encourage them to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ whilst counting to ten. You’ll all get the bonus of seeing an extra happy dog receive their dual reward: a treat of tasty food, and a treat of happy affection from their favourite found person!
Clear your room!
This is the ultimate in dog treat games that will teach your pet to work for their reward!
We already know that dogs have the ability to recognise many sounds and names that humans give to objects, and you can use this skill in more ways than the usual commands of ‘sit’ or ‘stay’.
Start by teaching your pet the names of their favourite toys. Whenever they play with a particular toy, repeat the name to them often. Once your dog has learned to associate names with their toys, you should be able to command them to fetch certain items: reward their clever behaviour with a tasty piece of Bakers kibble. Eventually, you should be able to get your dog to ‘clear up’ their toys one by one. Now that’s a dog treat game worth learning!
Your dog will soon learn that treats require work once you start playing games with them. But it isn’t so much work after all, as dog treat games give your pet added stimulation, activity, and affection, which will make for a happy animal and a happy owner!