A Game For Your Dog – Which Hand?

A Game For Your Dog – Which Hand?

There is no doubt in my mind that the way we think shapes our lives.

Games are an easy way for dogs to learn, and grow and to develop their skills.  Whether they be innate breed instincts or good ol’ nose work or basic obedience commands.

Games trick us in the best way.  When we play games with our dogs we are teaching and they are learning.  But we can’t tell cause we are just having fun.  The best part is that games help to keep a dog interested and engaged.  The point is that we want our dogs to WANT to listen to us, not do what we say for fear of punishment.

Dr Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist and writer.  He is a great resource for the concept of games to train.

And why shouldn’t interacting with your dog be fun?  Don’t fall for the “I have to be a serious pack leader for my dog to listen to me.”  I followed that advice too for awhile.

The truth is it’s a balancing act.  Having a good time with your dog plain and simple bonds you two together more.  But too much fun and no discipline can turn a dog into your boss.

If we start thinking of training as a series of games it becomes a lot easier to do and helps us avoid frustration, which can be one of the biggest blocks to effective training.

Lastly, dog games help families get their older children involved in training as well.

So here’s a super short intro to one game.  See if you like it.  Maybe you’ll find a taste for them, maybe you’ll find out your dog is a genius or maybe it won’t be for you.  I’ll demo different games for you in the future.


Which Hand?

  1. Grab a stinky treat

  2. Place both hands behind your back with your dog in front of you.

  3. Place treat in one closed fist and now place both closed fists in fron tof you and present them to your dog.

  4. Ask “Which Hand?”

  5. Your dog will probably sniff and nudge both and then settle on one.  Key word: probably.

  6. Open the hand he chose and if it had the treat you can praise him exuberantly for being so smart.  If the hand is empty show him the empty hand and show him the treat in the other hand.  KEY: I know you!  Do not give your dog the treat for getting it wrong!


Note: If your dog got it wrong than place the treat in the same hand again.  That’s important as you’ll see in the video below tha the kept getting them wrong and I kept switching hands.  Finally I realized my mistake but had a good laugh nonetheless.

The video below is turned around somewhat (sorry! On your phone try locking your screen!) and it demos the game.  This is a filmed live streaming video from Periscope @camidogtraining and live viewer comments are not displayed.


What about you?  Do you have a favorite activity or game you like to do with your dog?  Have you given this game a try or want to?  Let me know in the comments below!

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