A beloved children’s game may come to mind when we hear the phrase 'hide and seek'.
However, well-known dog trainer and behaviour consultant Ken Reid offers the game as one of several indoor activities people can do with their pooches.
During a recent phone interview, Reid talked about how the relationship between humans and dogs has evolved over the years and how our four-legged pets are such a big part of the family.
“People are including dogs in their lives and doing activities with them more than ever,” he said.
When asked about some activities that can be done at home, Reid said the sky really is the limit.
“You can get your dog to do doggie push-ups, which are basically a down and an up, sit. Then there is a doggie burpee which is a sit, down, up, sit, stand ... you can incorporate yourself into it by getting really excited. The dog responds accordingly and it can be a lot of fun.”
When playing hide and seek, he said, you train your dog to sit and stay. You then hide and call your dog to come and get you.
“Dogs catch on to that really quickly. It helps teach them, sit, stay, and come, so that’s a really valuable activity to engage in.”
Hide the treat is another activity that works well, he said.
There are also puzzle toys that can be made easily - just rip up strips of cloth, tie them together and put a treat into where the knots are tied.
“Then there’s the shell game, where you take three cups, put a treat under one of the cups, move them around the floor and let the dog sniff out which cup has the treat. You can increase to four or five cups as the dogs get into that game very quickly as well,” Reid said.
Reid says all activities that you do with your dog are beneficial, not only for the dog, but also for the owner.
Well-known as Newfoundland’s dog whisperer, Reid is a social worker by profession. He’s been working with dogs and their owners since 2005, offering one-on-one behaviour modification, group classes, and consultations. He’s been doing so full-time since 2013.
“I help people deal with any issues they may have with their dog, from puppies on the floor to dogs attacking each other or getting aggressive with humans,” the St. John’s, NL resident said.
The work is fun, challenging and rewarding, he said.
“You see so much potential in the dogs as puppies and, when the owners follow through with what you are suggesting and you watch that dog turn into a happy and healthy part of the family, that’s a beautiful thing.”
Reid’s Facebook group, Ken Reid’s For the Love of Dogs, has almost 16,000 members, including Kelly Jones.
Her dog, Bentley, completed Reid’s basic obedience class. She admires everything Reid does for dogs and their owners and relies on Reid’s online material to help her come up with ways to interact with her dog.
One of the videos she’s shared on Reid’s Facebook page is of her interacting with her dog, Bentley, and teaching him to jump over a barrier. The dog’s reward after doing so is a treat.
“Ken’s videos have been a huge help, especially when we are self-isolating. Ken is great,” Jones said.
For tips and advice to help in training your dog, visit Reid’s website.