The Water Bowl
Breed & Health Resources

Bobbing for Biscuits

By Liz Palika

Bobbing for Biscuits
Bobbing for Biscuits is great fun. The purpose of the game is for your dog to pick up a dog biscuit, ball or toy that is floating in a wide container of water. Your dog must then relinquish the biscuit when you ask him to and go after another one.

This game is great for dog parties and get-togethers. The dog who can grab and relinquish the most biscuits in 30 seconds wins a prize.

Some Training is Required

Your dog will need to know how to give you something that he’d really rather keep for himself and then do it over and over again. This is hard, so you want to make the training a lot of fun.

Begin with a toy your dog likes; perhaps a tennis ball or a squeaky toy. Play with it for a few minutes, tossing it and encouraging your dog to play.

  • Have some high value treats in your pocket. Swiss cheese, roast beef, liver or something else that has a good smell and you know your dog likes.
  • When your dog has the toy, call him to you as you show him a piece of the treat.
  • To get the treat, he has to open his mouth and drop the toy. Praise him, “Sweetie, good give!” Practice half a dozen times then let him have the toy and play.
  • At your next training session, have the toy in one hand and the treat in another. Offer the toy to your dog but don’t let go of it. Tell your dog, “Sweetie, give!” and then let him smell the treat. Praise him when he lets go of the toy and give him the treat. Practice half a dozen times, then give him the toy and let him play.
  • Repeat these same steps with other toys. When your dog understands, try it with something more tempting. An apple, an ear of corn, or another food item. If your dog is very food motivated, keep a leash on him so he can’t run away from you with the food item.

When your dog will trade you an ear of corn (or something similar) for a high value treat and your praise, your dog is ready to play the game.

The Game

You will need a container that will hold several inches of water. If you have a small dog, the edges must be low. A new, clean, kitty litter pan or something similar could work. Bigger dogs can have a deeper container.

Put the water in the container and to introduce your dog to the idea of the game, drop in a piece of his high value treats. Encourage him to get it and when he does, praise him and give him several treats. Repeat until he’s comfortable with putting his muzzle in the water to get a treat.

Now take several dog biscuits, balls, or toys (that can get wet) and drop them in the water. Have some high value treats in one hand.

Encourage your dog to grab a biscuit or toy and when he does, cheer him on. Then, when he lifts it clear of the water, ask him to give it to you and trade him for a treat. Repeat this until he’s gotten all of the biscuits or toys. Then tell him what a wonderful dog he is!


To do this at a dog party, you just need someone with a stop watch to call a start and a stop to each dog’s efforts, and someone to count how many biscuits the dog picks up. If a dog tries to eat the biscuit, if he gives it up to his owner (even partially eaten) it still counts. If he eats the biscuit without giving it up, it doesn’t count towards his final score. 

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