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August 28, 2014


A couple years back I tried a fun experiment with Eko which tested a trait unique to dogs – the ability to follow human body language cues. Eko took to the hidden treat game pretty quickly so I was interested to see how puppy Penny would fare.
A couple years back I tried a fun experiment with Eko which tested a trait unique to dogs – the ability to follow human body language cues. took to the hidden treat game pretty quickly so I was interested to see how puppy Penny would fare.28.1

It’s funny how dogs always know when something is up. I put down the two cups and Penny jumped to attention.


“Ok, what’s the game? I know there’s a game here somewhere.”


“Will, I see the treats, stop messing around and let’s play!”

I corralled Penny into the bathroom where she couldn’t view the cups and then hid a treat under one. I remember Eko took a number of tries to catch the gist of the game, but to my surprise Penny got it from her very first time.


Penny dashed to the spot and looked immediately to me for a cue


When I pointed to the correct cup, Penny went right for it


While Eko coached her on from the sidelines, Penny nailed the challenge even when there were four cups

The most interesting part of rerunning the experiment was how Penny instantly followed my cues. I’m not sure if that means she keeps a closer eye on me than Eko did, or if it means Eko just preferred smashing the cups. Or maybe it means puppies tend to watch closer than adult dogs?  Any theories?


Next up, Eko will teach Penny to play three card monte!

If you have a few cups at home, run the experiment and let me know how it goes! It’s easy and a lot of fun.

Comments for Hide-and-Treat

  1. I’m sure Eko can show her how it works, he is a pro :o) Easy only destroyed the cups but not at the end like Eko, he came in, ignored the treats and made a mess with the cups :o)

  2. AMAZING!! How did you teach Eko to do this? We play “Which Paw” at home, where I hide the “squeaky” of a squeaky toy that has been killed, and he usually gets it right but sometimes he will keep tilting his head to figure out what is squeaking! It is hilarious!
    We do it with treats too. I have seen he usually favors my right paw.

  3. Emmadog says:

    Mom has learned an awful lot about canines and noses this year. Last night at Bailie’s first tracking class, she learned even more about how incredible our noses are. While she may be watching you, she is I would say with about 100% finding the right cup because of the smell. We can tell the age of an odor by milliseconds, so our noses know. Some dogs aren’t as good as others and some don’t know how to express it, but I think Penny has a good nose on her.

  4. PigLove says:

    Oh dear piggy heavens. I think mommy will be bringing out the cups tonight to ‘test’ me. Help. Snorts – XOXO – Bacon

  5. That’s kind of like the Dognition test – putting treats under the cups. Eko is a pro at three card monty – you ought to take him to Vegas!

  6. FABULOUS!!!!!! Totally fabulous…………..they’re both super smart kids!

    Hugs, Sammy

  7. pawedblog says:

    Aww they both did great! And it looks like so much fun! we will be sure to give it a try over here!
    Hugs, Carrie and Pups x

  8. coastingnz says:

    Penny and Eko are absolutely gorgeous! I’m going to have to try this with my boys although I suspect “someone” may get too excited at the prospect of treats and just destroy the cups in anticipation……

  9. You have such clever pooches and you guys have the best fun! As for the “any theories” question about Penny being a fast learner, multi-tasker, super clever – well – she is female. He, he! Sorry, Eko, buddy – and Will, of course!

  10. Bahahaha! That would not work here since the little girls are afraid of plastic cups. Who knows what goes on in those pea sized brains of theirs 🙂

  11. Oh my!!! I should try this too!! And love the part Eko was tearing up the cups hahahaha

  12. I also wonder if it has something to do with age…

  13. Mom plays this with me a LOT. She wishes she bought stock on tiny bathroom cups. I crush them all like bugs as fast as I can and eat the treat underneath (and a little piece of the cup when I can). She will try the big red cups and see if I have better luck with them.

    Love and licks,

  14. Kids can learn so much in their first few years of life, it seems true for dogs too.

  15. great video, I think if gambler did it he too would smash all the cups and rip them up. I might just have to do it. Good girl Penny.

  16. I started doing this with Dakota after I saw your video last year. He figured it out right away!

  17. […] think Eko is so perfect at finding the treat! Look at the video in the very end. Perfect! Will says most pups are naturals so I decided to see how much of a natural our very own […]

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