Dog treat game: the treat trail
Looking for a dog treat game that will exercise their mind as well as their legs? Have fun with your dog by creating a treat trail with some tasty Bakers® Allsorts or another one of their favourite treats. We’ll show you how!
Tip before starting
Remember that treats should be given to your dog as part of a balanced diet with enough exercise, and that any treats they eat should count towards their daily food allowance.
It helps if your dog already know the ‘wait’ and ‘find it’ commands, or variations of them. If they don’t, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to these commands.
This game is particularly suitably for dogs who were originally bred to follow scent trails, such as Beagles. However, any dog can enjoy this game – just adjust the difficulty level to suit their skills, and progressively make it trickier to keep them entertained.
- Show them the Allsorts - So your dog knows that you’re about to play this dog treat game, open the bag of tasty Allsorts (or another favourite Bakers® treat) and let them have a sniff. This way they’ll know there’s a treat on the horizon – but they’re not allowed one yet!
- Hide some treats in full view - Go into another room, making sure your dog doesn’t follow just yet, and ‘hide’ two treats in full view. Call your dog in to find them – they’ll probably have no trouble at all!
- Make it harder - Now, when your dog is out of the room again, hide another one or two treats. This time you should make it harder by having them out of view, for example under a cushion. Call your dog in and let them find the treats, then praise them when they have finished.
- Use the ‘wait’ command - Now they have the hang of this dog scent game, it’s time to make it more challenging! If they know the ‘wait’ command, use this to make sure they don’t start hunting for the treats until you tell them to. This is a great way to add to the anticipation of the game, as well as exercising their patience! If they don’t yet know the ‘wait’ command, this is a great opportunity to teach them.
- Introduce the ‘find it’ command - If your dog knows the ‘wait’ command, use the ‘find it’ command to let them know when to start! This may mean saying ‘wait’ while holding their collar, then ‘find it’ while releasing the collar – this will help signal to them what they are meant to do. Give them lots of praise when they start to follow these commands. After a while, you should no longer need to hold their collar.
- Make the trail longer - Now your dog knows how to play the game, you can make it last even longer. Put a treat in different rooms around the house, or even the garden, and let your dog start at the front door. They’ll have to work out which rooms the treats are in by using their nose! You can also make a scent trail from the front door to the different hiding places by rubbing the treat lightly along the floor to help them out. Make them wait with the ‘wait’ command, then let them start with the ‘find it’ command.
- A fun variation - There’s no need to stop with Bakers® treats – why not use other objects in this fun scent game for dogs? Show them their favourite toy, a spring of mint, or something else that has a distinct smell (and is dog-friendly), then instruct them to wait while you hide it somewhere. Once they understand the aim of the game, they should be able to sniff out a wide variety of different objects! Just remember to praise them, and maybe give them a treat, once they’ve sniffed out their target.
Why play scent-based dog treat games with your dog?
There are plenty of reasons why you should play scent-based games with your dog – and having fun is only one of them! Playing this game with them can:
- Build their confidence
- Help you bond with your dog
- Keep them mentally stimulated
- Make them feel satisfied and rewarded
- Encourage gentle physical activity inside the house
- Introduce some basic commands to them