Your four-legged friend needs some playtime and exercise, whether it’s raining or sunny outside. It helps your dog to stay fit, alert and healthy. That’s why you should embrace indoor games during bad weather to keep boredom at bay, and allow your dog to let off steam.
As an owner, you stand to benefit too! Instead of getting stuck in front of your TV watching Netflix (we’ve all been there) you’ll be up and working with your dog.
Here are several fun games to play with your dog inside that are sure to tire out your pet and add some excitement to those nasty days.
Hide and Go Seek
This is an all-time favorite indoors game that goes by many names — search & find, hide & go seek, search & sniff, etc.
Whatever you call it, this type of dog game will certainly engage your dog’s body and mind. Let your dog use his nose to sniff out hidden treats. It’ll tire him out faster than you can imagine.
We recently started doing professional nose work training with our dog and it is said that 30 minutes of nose work is said to be equal to 1 hour of fetch. I can’t comment on the accuracy of that statement, but I can tell you that our high-energy pooch is incredibly tired after her nose work sessions!
Start easy by hiding the treats within a small boundary, and then order your dog to find them. Don’t forget to reward and praise your dog abundantly once he finds the treasures. You can expand the “hiding” territory every time your four-legged friend finds the hideout.
Items that work well for hide and seek are:
- Stinky cheeses
- Your dog’s favorite toy
Don’t be afraid to make it harder and harder as your pet becomes better at hide and go seek game!
Kong Toy Time
There are so many different ways to stuff a Kong toy!
Many dogs absolutely love Kong toys! Kong toys make it easy for you to hide treats and give them to your dog to him busy trying to fish out the treats. The beauty of Kong toys lies in the design.
Its opening is designed to be small enough to make your dog work for the treat. And yet it’s also large enough for the treats to come out. This makes sure that your furry friend doesn’t become too bored or too frustrated with the game.
Kong toys don’t take up very much space, making them a perfect game to play with your dog inside.
Tag, You’re It
The next game to play with your dog inside is also going to work their recall!
Recall is a very important skill for dogs to have as you’ll be able to call them out of potentially dangerous situations.
Simple yet effective, tag you’re it is one of the most exercise-heavy games to play with your dog inside. However, you will need someone else in the room to make it work, each with several treats.
Begin the game across the room from your partner. Call the dog to your end and give him a treat, and then the other person does the same. In the next round, increase the distance the dog has to run to get to the other person. Keep increasing the distance apart, as well as rewarding the dog and praising him. All the running and practicing of recall will do him good.
The Cup Game
Many of us are familiar with the magic trick that involves placing an item under one of three cups, moving the cups around, and then getting the audience to guess which cup the item is under.
But did you know you can play this game with your dog?
This is more like hide and sniff game, but using a set of three (or more) containers, boxes or cups. Put the containers upside down and check if the dog can identify which one has a treat. You can show him the container that has treats before you cover it (or don’t if he is getting the hang of it).
Here’s an easy-to-follow instructional video to help you get your dog familiar with the cup game:
Name the Item
Teaching your dog the names of their different toys is a handy skill for them to possess.
This dog has learned the names of over 1,000 of their toys and can fetch them when asked!
To teach your dog the names of various items, you’ll want to start small and work your way up. This game is a fun way to tire your dog out mentally, and also makes for a great party trick.
Here are the steps to teach your dog their toy’s names.
Yoga is a great activity to improve your mental health and is something you can do with your dog!
Dog Yoga (also known as “Doga”) is the perfect activity for days when you want to bond with your dog, relax your mind and move your body.
Practicing Doga with your dog is a wonderful way to practice basic commands, learn new tricks and try something fun together.
With Doga, it’s important to go with the flow and have fun!
Set up an Obstacle Course
One really fun game to play inside with your dog is an indoor obstacle course and surprisingly, you don’t need much room.
When creating an indoor obstacle course for your pooch, get creative! You can use cushions, furniture, hula-hoops and whatever else you have on hand.
An obstacle course is a great way to teach your dog to follow your lead and learn new skills (such as crawling or navigating small spaces).
Run the Stairs
If you live in a building with some stairs, most healthy dogs can benefit from a little stair activity.
If your dog is young or has joint issues, stairs might not be a good idea. You can always check with your vet to doublecheck.
Running the stairs is an activity you can do with your dog or you can simply stand at the top of the stairs and throw a toy down for your dog to retrieve.
Work for Their Meal
Another simple game to play inside with your dog is to get them to work for their meals by sniffing out their food.
The easiest way you can do this is by taking a towel and sprinkling their food in it. You will want to fold up the towel in a way that challenges your dog so that they need to figure out how to unravel the towel to get all the tasty bits of kibble out!
This idea is similar to a snuffle mat but is readily available.
Time to Have Fun Inside With Your Dog
Next time you find yourself stuck indoors with your pooch, try incorporating some of these activities into your daily routine to tire your pooch out!
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About the Author:
Dana is a Sheepadoodle owner and expat in Germany. While living in Europe, Dana and her husband always make sure that when they go on road trips, their pup Kaya gets to come along. Dana loves to highlight dog-friendly places you can travel to with your pooch so that your entire family can have fun together!