We have often played “Hide and Seek” in our back garden with Ray.
We have a very old and large Soft Maple tree and a couple of sheds there, so we have a few places where we can hide, and Ray would appear to have a lot of fun trying to find us and gets really excited when he does!
Carol and I will often “work together” in that she may hide down the side of the house, and while Ray is looking for her, I’ll be hiding in the opposite corner of the garden. As soon as he finds Carol, she will say “Where’s Colin? Go find him!” and off he goes with his nose to the ground.
He clearly has a lot of fun running around tracking us and is quite jubilant in his own way when he finds us!
Recently we have been working on his separation anxiety (believe me there is a connection)! Working with Ray to get him comfortable being on his own is very much a 3-steps forward and 2-steps back kind of arrangement. i.e. Progress is being made but it is painfully slow.
Leaving him with a frozen stuffed Kong was ineffective because he can clean out one of those very fast. He also became so distraught on couple of occasions that he even ignored the Kong! We also realized that whenever he saw it coming out of the freezer, he would make the association with us leaving and stress himself out before we had even touched a door to go out. The final blow for the Kong came when he decided, upon seeing it, that he really had to go outside…….. never to come in again! No doubt, in his mind we could not leave while he was out there!
Without the Kong seemed to be a better approach, as did training him at various times of the day so he did not get set on a particular schedule, and we managed to get him up to 5 minutes some time ago. We are still at 5 minutes (or less) at this point in time. One of the problems we have now is that as soon as we leave, it would appear that he goes running around the house trying to find us. Doesn’t that sound a little like “Hide and Seek”?
We’re experimenting of course but it seems to us that playing “Hide and Seek” where he always finds us, is setting a bad precedent for when we leave …….. and he cannot find us. We are therefore going to stop the “Hide and Seek” games immediately!
We’ll have to see what he dreams up next in order to thwart the next round of separation anxiety training sessions!