How to teach your dog the “hide and seek” trick

“Hide and Seek” is a fairly popular freestyle exercise that is suitable for more experienced trainers. This trick can be performed in two ways: when the dog is driving and you are hiding, or, conversely, you are driving, and the animal needs to find a suitable shelter.

The content of the article

  1. The dog is driving, the trainer is hiding
  2. The trainer drives, the dog hides

The dog is driving, the trainer is hiding

The first variant of the “Hide and Seek” trick is that the dog stands against a wall, fence or other object, resting its front paws on it and then pushes its muzzle down, as if it were counting. The trainer at this time moves back and hides.

Choose a non-slip object for support, otherwise it will be difficult for the dog to hold on to its paws.

Before practicing the exercise “Hide and Seek” make sure your dog is familiar with the Waltz command… If not, study this command first.

Next, place your hand with the treat close to the wall at a height appropriate for your dog’s size and say “Waltz.” When the dog is in the right position, reward it. Practice the exercise several times so that the pet gets used to rest against the wall.

How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
Dog in position “Waltz”


Now you need to teach the dog to lower its head while it is in the “Waltz” position. This can be achieved in one of the following ways:

  • Option 1: Order the dog to lean against the wall, say “Count it!” and slip a treat underneath her paws. Wait for her to lower her head between her paws and immediately encourage. Repeat the exercise several times.
How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
We stick a treat under the paws
  • Option 2: Another way to teach your dog to lower its head is to use a pointer and bounce. More details about this command have been written in the previous lessons. Hold the tip of the pointer under your dog’s paws so that he has to bend down to reach it.
How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
The dog lowers its head to touch the pointer with its nose

After the first steps are completed, start increasing the time between the command and giving the treat so that the pet learns to stay in this position for a while. Also, gradually reduce the help – the dog should lower the muzzle just at your command.


Next stage – order the dog to take the desired position, and yourself take a couple of steps back… At first, go back only 1-2 steps, come back and encourage, but gradually bring this distance to a few meters.

How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
The dog “counts” while the handler is hiding

After the pet has studied the exercise well, you can draw up a full-fledged scene. The essence of the performance will be that you tell the dog to “count”, while you yourself are hiding behind a shelter at this time. After that you command “Seek” and wait for the dog to find you.

To make the scene even more interesting, replace the command “Seek” with some kind of signal, imperceptible to the audience, for example, a cough.

Trick variant

  • Work out the variation where the dog raises its head, looks to the side, and then lowers it again. You will need a stick or mop to teach your pet this trick. Place the dog with his back to you, grab the mop on the sides so that the middle remains free, and hold it across the animal’s chest. Command “Waltz” for the dog to place its front paws on the mop and then “Count”. Then wait until the dog starts to raise its head, say a new command, for example “Look”, and praise it. Alternate between “Count” and “Look” so that from the side it seems like the dog is peeping while you are hiding.
How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
The dog rests on the mop and holds his head first at the bottom, then at the top

The trainer drives, the dog hides

In the second version of the “Hide and Seek” trick, the roles are reversed: now you have to count, and the pet must hide. The countdown “Ra-az, two-a …” can act as a voice command signaling the dog that it is time to look for cover.

First, decide on a shelter, it can be a cabinet, cabinet or any other object. With the help of a treat, bring the dog to the object and command “Ra-az”, “Sit, wait”. Make sure she sits as close to him as possible and encourage. Repeat the exercise several times and achieve perfect execution.

How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
Teaching a dog to “hide” behind an object

Gradually omit intermediate commands. At the command “Ra-az” the dog must independently approach the object, sit down and wait for further instructions. Also, start giving the command not only when you are in the immediate vicinity of the object, but also at a distance, and later – even from another room. Praise and reward your pet when it does everything right.

Trick variant

  • You can make the trick more difficult by making the dog peek out from behind the object, as described in the Peeking trick. To do this, place your dog close to the subject and use a treat to encourage him to briefly peek out of the hiding place. At the same time, the treat should be given not when she looks out, but when she removes her head again. So it will seem to the audience that the pet is quickly sticking out and hiding its head so that the driver does not have time to notice it. As a voice command to look out, you can use the phrase “I’ll find it now!”. Thus, the finished scene will look like this: you say “Ra-az, two-a”, after which the dog hides. Then you pretend to look for her and say “I’ll find it now” so that the dog looks out. You continue your search a little more and in the end you find your pet.
How to teach your dog the "hide and seek" trick
The dog looks out from behind the shelter
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