When it comes to holiday fun, dogs have always drawn the short straw.
Christmas? Don’t feed the puppy the extra ham. Thanksgiving? Make sure the puppy doesn’t get a hold of any turkey bones. And don’t get us started about Easter — all of the shiny, delicious eggs that just look so chewable? Nuh-uh. None for you, pup.
Well, this Easter, that’s going to change!
This Easter will be a little different for most of us. The usual extended family lunch or trip to the vacation home is most likely called off, and we’re all — for lack of a better description — stuck inside with each other.
The upside is that as a puppy owner, you’ve got so much extra time for your new pup.
And what better way to introduce your puppy to Easter than with a good old-fashioned Easter egg hunt? Of course, we’ll be skipping the chocolate — but your puppy will love the treats you hide way more (the smellier, the better!)
In this post, we’ll give you 3 easy steps to create an Easter Egg Hunt for your puppy — oh, and we also have an extra surprise for you at the end!
How can I teach my puppy to use their nose?
Creating an Easter egg hunt is using a scent game, or basically, teaching your puppy how to use its sense of smell to find things. In this case, delicious treaties. And if you’re wondering if they’re old enough to start — a dog’s sense of smell is functional from birth.
Puppies need both mental and physical training to keep them fit, healthy and stimulated. And at the moment, it may not be possible for your dog to get as much outdoor activity as they usually get. This, unfortunately, could lead to behavioural problems stemming from boredom and inactivity.
Don’t be fooled by its simplicity — just a short session of scent games and your pup will be pooped.
The benefits of puppies using their nose include:
- It helps build confidence — puppies feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement when they’re using their brains to solve problems
- It soothes and relaxes the puppy — the mere act of sniffing is calming for dogs, and it’s even been found to make them more optimistic and increase their sense of wellbeing
- It’s utterly exhausting — as we mentioned, scent games are great for giving your puppy a workout (which helps avoid destructive boredom behaviour at home)
- It keeps a pup’s brain healthy — just like us humans, dogs can fend off cognitive decline by training their mind (enrichment games are basically like doing algebra or crossword puzzles for dogs!)
Scent game elements to use in your ‘Easter egg’ hunt
There are plenty of different game elements to use in your Easter egg hunt, and the ones you choose will most likely depend on the age of your pup.
Today, we’ll be focused on creating a ‘find the food’ type game for our Easter egg hunt.
Alright, let’s get cracking!
Building your Easter egg hunt using find the food
Building a find the food game is exactly what it sounds like — you’re using treats your dog loves (the smellier, the better) to create a trail for them to follow with their nose.
Use these steps as a guide to building your sniff-tastic scent game for your pup:
1. Choose the space
Considering that your pup is likely quite small, it’s wise to just choose one room for their first Easter egg hunt. This might be your living room, as there are probably many nooks and crannies you can hide their treats in, on or around.
2. Choose the treats
Whatever treats your puppy likes most, use those — it’s much more likely they’ll stay engaged with the hunt if they can smell the tantalizing scent of their favourite treat. Stinky treats are best — chicken, meatballs, or dried smelly treats (just make sure your puppy finds them all!)
3. Choose the hiding places
Naturally, this one depends on the size of your pup. Smaller pups will only be able to reach hidden treats at their level, while larger pups will have a little more room to explore.
Think creatively about where you want to place them — you can set the treats on top of, underneath or inside objects.
Place the treats close enough to each other that the puppy can identify a trail of smells. So, if the scent is too far away, they might not be able to pick it up.
- If it’s your puppy’s first time, let them see where you’ve hidden the first few treats. You might also have to give them a helping hand by leading them towards the hiding spot.
- If they seem to be catching on, hide the treats without your puppy seeing the exact locations, so they can use their little brains to work out the positions.
It’s essential to give your puppy the time to do the work — they’ll be so proud when they figure it out for themselves! And of course, you’ll celebrate when they do too.
Does that sound like fun or what?! Not just fun, but great enrichment for your puppy too.
Oh, and as for that extra surprise — we’d love you to explore our online puppy training program, Puppy Training by OneMind Dogs, at a special Easter discount.
With over 100 detailed lessons with videos, tips and tricks and personal support from our puppy coaches — it’s everything you and your pup need to have fun and learn together while building a magical connection for life.
Simply sign up for your 7-day free trial from the link below, and enter the discount code at checkout.