The Which Hand Game: An Easy Way To Have Fun With Your Dog

German shepherd looking at 2 closed fists.

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Do you want to have some fun with your pup while also teaching them a new trick?

The Which Hand Game is a great way to do just that! Most dogs catch on pretty quickly, but if your dog is struggling, there are tips and tricks to help them out.

Playing the Which Hand Game is a fun way to bond with your furry friend and teach them something new. Plus, it’s always exciting to see your dog succeed at something new.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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What is the Which Hand Game?

The Which Hand Game is a simple trick that involves your dog using his nose to figure out which hand is holding a treat.

How to play the Which Hand Game with your dog 

To play the game, you will need some treats that your dog loves. We recommend using small, bite-sized pieces so that your dog does not get too many calories during the game.

Once you have the treats picked out you can start the game.

German Shepherd sniffing open hands, one with a treat and one without.

Start by showing your dog both of your hands, one hand holding a treat, and one hand empty.

Next, put your hands behind your back. You can leave the treat in the hand it started in, or move it to the other hand.

Then close your fists so your dog won’t be able to see which hand has the treat.

German shepherd looking at 2 closed fists.

Bring your hands back in front of you and show both fists to your dog.

Let your dog sniff both of your fists to figure out which one has the treat.

German shepherd sniffing a closed fist.

Your dog should then signal which hand they think has the treat. They may do this by using their paw, pointing, or barking at one hand. Or, if your dog is like Luna, they may even lick your hand.

A German shepherd sniffing an open hand.

Show your dog the hand they picked, and if it’s the correct hand give them the treat. 

If it’s the wrong hand, show that it’s empty and try again.

Tips for teaching the Which Hand Game to your dog

If you’ve never played this game before, or your dog is struggling with learning it, here are a few tips to help you out.

Use a smelly treat

When you first teach this game to your dog, using a really smelly treat will help. The smellier the treat, the easier it will be for your dog to get the correct hand.

Not using a smelly enough treat could be the reason behind repeatedly choosing the incorrect hand. Trying a stronger smelling treat may be all you need for your dog to get it right.

Use a high-value treat

Using a high-value treat in the beginning, or when your dog is struggling, can also help. A really motivated dog is more likely to pick it up quickly.

Once your dog has the hang of it, then switch to lower-value treats or even kibble.

Some dogs may just be better at it

Remember too, that some dogs may just be better at this type of dog than others. Those that have extremely well-developed scenting abilities will have an easier time with this game than other dogs. At least in the beginning.

Eventually, it’s just luck

While some dogs may start out with an advantage, eventually the game becomes more about luck than ability.

If you switch hands multiple times, both hands will start to smell like they have a treat in them. This is especially true when using really smelly treats.

If your dog starts out getting most of them right and suddenly starts to get more wrong, this is probably the issue. You can try washing your hands before continuing to see if that helps.

Or, use that as the signal that it’s time for a break.

End the game on a good note

A small white dog sniffing an open hand with a treat on it.

You always want to end the game when your dog is successful. If they get it wrong, try again until they get it right. Then give them their treat and end the game.

How to make the Which Hand Game more difficult

If your dog is a pro at the Which Hand Game, you can make it more difficult for them by adding more hands. Obviously, for this, you will need more than one person.

For this, you need to stand next to each other and put the treat in one person’s hand.

Then everyone brings their hands, in fists, in front of them and offers them to your dog at the same time.

If playing multiple rounds, make sure that each person gets a chance to have the treat in one of their hands. Otherwise, your dog will figure out that the same person always has the treat.

This game can be played with as many people as you want. The more people, the more difficult it will be for your dog.

I do recommend trying it with just two people before trying it with more. This way you can make sure you don’t make it too difficult for your dog.


The Which Hand Game is an easy game to teach your dog, and they should catch on pretty quickly.

The best part is that this game can be played almost anywhere, so it’s perfect for when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day.

Ready to get started? Grab some treats and go play this game with your dog!

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Pin image for which hand teach your dog a new game with a small white dog sniffing an open hand.

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