Free 10 Day Canine Enrichment Challenge: Day 5 “Which Hand?”

Which Hand

The Aim of the Game “Which Hand?” is to develop a game that can keep your dog’s attention on you. This Canine Enrichment game can help keep a puppy busy while waiting for the veterinarian or keeping their attention while sitting at a bench at the park. This game can be particularly useful in any situation that is going to distracting or scary for your dog. It can keep your dog focused and lets them have fun while doing so. At the genius level, you can maintain your dog’s focus for a long period of time helping create sustained attention on you.

Requirements

  • Can be played on or off leash in any environment

Equipment

  • Food or treats

Step by Step

  1. Start by putting a treat in one hand. Offer both hands in front of you, closed fist about 1 foot apart. Let your dog sniff both hands. When the dog sniffs the hand with a treat, open your hand and let them eat the treat. If the dog sniffs the hand without the treat, simply open the hand and let them see there is no treat. They should then investigate the other hand and you can open it so they get the treat.
  2. Continue at this level until your dog has 3 consecutive correct guesses on the first sniff. This means they go to the correct food filled hand on the first try, 3 repetitions in a row.
  3. Now it’s time to make it harder. Put the treat in your hand behind your back so the dog can’t visually see which hand you put the treat in. Present both hands equal distance apart from the dog. Continue the procedure above until you get the 3 consecutive correct guesses again.

Helpful Hint:

If at any point your dog gets frustrated or gives up, you can put the “correct” hand slightly closer to the dog than the incorrect hand. This will help them get it correct quicker.

The Genius Level

The Genius level is where you start asking for a stay behavior while you present your hands. You can do a stay in any position, including: sit, down or stand. The dog should wait until you get both hands in front of you and you give a release word like “okay.” You can have them just wait a short period to start with, and slowly increase the duration of the stay. If your dog is truly a genius, you will have to get creative in your hand/treat switching as shown in the video. You can switch the treat from hand to hand, moving your hands all around, before finally presenting your hands and releasing your dog to find the treat

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