Finding the time to fit in enough activity & exercise with your dog every day can be a challenge, especially when it’s crappy outside.
But with some help from my dog we’ve come up with a big list of fun indoor games & activities to play indoors, and they’re prfect for rainy days.
And the best part is the majority of these activities don’t require any special toys or equipment. Just you, your dog and a bit of creativity.
You Can Entertain Your Dog Without Destroying the House
Is your dog bored? Are you looking for simple ways to keep your dog entertained? Do you need to find a way to keep your dog busy while you’re at work? You can, and best of all you don’t have to destroy your home in the process.
Playing frisbee inside the kitchen is out, but there are lots of creative ways to keep your dog busy inside. Without giving our dogs something meaningful to do we find ourselves dealing with chewed up shoes, shredded newspapers, and a tables that no longer have legs. Bored dogs get into trouble, but luckily there’s some simple ways to keep your dog busy.
How to Keep Your Dog Busy (and out of trouble) Indoors
Remember that just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Trying to come up with ideas on how to keep your dog busy can be more exhausting than actually getting up and doing it.
So whether you’re looking for some So whether you’re looking for some fun games to play with your dog or just some easy ways to keep your dog busy try out some of these indoor activities with your pup. They’re a simple way to help keep your dog mentally and physically active, even when indoors.
The Which Hand Game
If you’ve been thinking about teaching your dog some scent work games this is a great game to get you started. The only thing you’ll need is some dog treats. If you don’t have dog treats on hand you can use fruits & veggies, or make some simple dog treats of your own.
How to play the which hand game with your dog:
1. Place a treat in one of your hands.
2. Close your fists and hold them out in front of your dog.
3.Let the dog choose which hand it’s in.
4. When your dog sniffs or paws the correct hand open it up and give them the treat.
5. If he chooses incorrectly don’t discrouage him, it takes a few tries to catch on.
6. A gentle “touch” command will be helpful.
Our dogs have excellent noses but they need to learn to utilize them.
Just like us they’re used to relying on visual cues in their normal day to day activities. Simple nose work games help hone in their natural sniffing ability, and it’s a nice mental workout.
Chopped up carrots make excellent dog treats. We use them for scent work games and training. They’re low in calories, easy to prepare, and (most) dogs absolutely love them.
Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog
This is by far one of dogs favorite indoor games. Have your dog sit and wait while you go find a hiding spot. Call them once when you’re hidden and praise them enthusiastically when they find you.
Use the Stairs For a Workout
If you’re snowed in you might not have an opportunity to get in your regular amount of physical exercise with your dog. If you have stairs in your home utilize them. Have your dog follow along as you get in some exercise going up and down the stairs. If your dog isn’t clumsy you can also try playing fetch on the stairs.
Make a Scavenger Hunt or Play Find The Treats
Grab some smelly treats and have your dog stay while you go hide them around the house. Start with some easy hiding spots and work your way up once your dog is accustomed to using his nose.
Fetch My Slippers/Paper
Dogs love having a job to do, even if it’s something as simple as fetching you your slippers. Make them feel extra useful by teaching them the names of some items you wouldn’t mind them retrieving for you. If you want to impress all of your friends teach your dog to fetch you something from the fridge. To make it easy on your dog tie a towel around the handle so it’s easy to pull open the door.
Use a Stuffed Kong For a Nice Challenge
If you’d like to keep your dog busy with a toy for awhile stuff a Kong with something yummy. You can freeze peanut butter or broth, or just put some treats inside and give your dog something to work for. There’s a ton of dog safe options.
Teach Your Dog The Names of Their Toys
Have you seen Chaser the Border Collie? She knows over 1,000 words and can pick out any given toy among 800 just by it’s name. We can’t all be overachievers like Chaser, but we can teach our dogs the names of their toys.
Start by playing with one specific toy and giving it a name while you do. After some practice & praise your dog will assign that verbal name with the chosen toy . Once your dog has learned that specific toys name you can test their skills by seeing if they can pick it out among their other toys.
The “Go Find It” Game
Once your dog knows the names of some of their toys teach them the “go find it” game. Have your dogs toys in a pile or container and tell them to “go find” their favorite toy. Keep it fun for them by rewarding them handsomely with a treat or quick game of tug when they succeed. This game will give your dog a great mental workout.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Does your dog know how to weave through your legs and jump through a hoop? There’s always a new trick you can teach your dog.Once your dog knows a bunch of tricks step it up a notch and combine their learned behaviors into new tricks.
Work on Clicker Training
If you don’t have a clicker I’d recommend picking one up next time you’re at the pet store. When training a dog every second matters; it’s so easy to miss the chance to communicate with our dogs the instant they do the behavior you desire. When you use a clicker you can mark the exact moment your dog made the right choice.
Make Them Work for Their Food
We give our dogs a nice comfy life – they get a warm bed, lots of attention, and their meals for free. But our dogs were bred to work alongside us, many of our dogs are missing out on some mentally stimulating activities. One of the easiest ways to challenge their minds is to make them work for their meals. You can make your dog perform some tricks before he gets his dinner, or you can have them eat from a food dispensing toy.
Play a Game of Fetch
Most of us do have some extra room indoors for a simple game of fetch, but if you live on the 5th floor with a St. Bernard you should probably skip this game. Hallways, stairways, and big living rooms are popular choices. My dog and I love playing soccer in the basement with her Jolly ball. Be careful with heavy toys around anything that’s fragile or able to be tipped over, and it’s probably not a good idea to play fetch inside the kitchen.
Make a Doggie Play Date
Does your dog have some nice dog friends? Invite them over for some play time. It’s so satisfying to see dogs engaging in play with one another, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll have one tired dog at the end of the day. You’ll also have a chance to catch up on some chores while the dogs create their own wrestle mania in your living room.
Brush up on Some Old Dog Tricks
Just like us our dogs need a refresher now and then. When’s the last time you asked your dog to roll over or play dead? If it’s been awhile get out your clicker or treats and run through the drill. Have your dog practice all of their commands to make sure they’re not getting rusty.
Keep Your Dog Happy and Busy with Interactive Play
Being indoors doesn’t have to be dull. Play some fun games with your dog or teach them something new. Dogs thrive with interactive play, it’s necessary for a dog’s health and well being. To keep your dog busy you don’t need a bunch of fancy toys or access to the outdoors, you just need a little bit of time and dedication.
We might not be able to provide them with the full time job they were bred for – but we can give them something meaningful to do with a few simple games and tricks. And when you look at your dogs happy face after a simple game of tug you’ll know exactly why dogs are mans best friend.