When your dog knows “find it,” you can distract them away from or pass distractions in the environment. It’s also a great way to give your dog a mental workout.
What You Need
- Treats like kibble, biscuits, or freeze-dried liver that won’t leave marks on furniture. Alternatively, use a favorite toy.
- A clicker, if you use one. Otherwise, say “yes!” to mark the behavior.
- A quiet area without distractions for practicing.
- 5 minutes 2–3 times daily.
Your dog should know sit and sit-stay.
How to Train It
Step 1. First, introduce a treat shower: Toss a whole handful of treats onto the ground and say “find it!”
Step 2. Repeat this many times a day for several days. When your dog starts to search the floor when you say “find it!” and have yet to toss any treats, move on to the next phase.
Step 1. Either put your dog in a sit-stay position, have a helper hold them in position, or use a baby gate to keep your dog in place. Place a treat under an easily movable object such as a pillow or a small unbreakable object, a box or a paper bag. Make sure your dog sees you do this. Release your dog and tell your dog “find it!”
Step 2. Practice this exercise in several locations within a room around objects that are safe for your dog to move with their paw or body.
Step 3. Next, increase the difficulty slightly by placing two treats in different locations. Once your dog is very good at uncovering the treat in several settings and rooms, move on.
Step 1. With your dog in a sit-stay position, go into another room and place a few treats in various locations. As this is the first time your dog hasn’t watched you place the treats, make it easy for your dog by leaving them partially visible or just in various locations on the floor. Release your dog and tell your dog “find it!”
Step 2. After several sessions, start making it harder by hiding the treats completely while your dog is out of sight.