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 perfect 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.
There is a growing acceptance among scientists that play is very, very important and the type and frequency of play are a really good indicator of a dog’s quality of life. – Mark Evans, former RSPCA chief veterinarian
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 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 indoor games to play with your dog when it’s raining or just some easy ways to keep your dog busy while you’re at work this list will help. These activities are a simple way to help keep your dog mentally and physically active while indoors.
Here’s a list of 33 simple ways to keep your dog busy indoors.
1. Play 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:
- Place a treat in one of your hands.
- Close your fists and hold them out in front of your dog.
- Let the dog choose which hand it’s in.
- When your dog sniffs or paws the correct hand open it up and give them the treat.
- If he chooses incorrectly don’t discrouage him, it takes a few tries to catch on.
- 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.
2. Try The Three Cup Game
One step up from the which hand game this game is also commonly referred to as the shell game. You place a treat under one of 3 cups and have your dog choose the correct one. Once they get the hang of it you can start mixing up the cups so they’re not just relying on visuals. Don’t let this cat put your pup to shame.
3. Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog
This is by far one of Laika’s 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.
4. Play a Game of Tug for a Nice Workout
If you’re snowed in you might not have an opportunity to get in your regular amount of exercise with your dog, but that’s where tug comes in handy. Not only is a game of tug great for teaching your dog some basic impulse control, it can be a great workout for you both.
5. 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.
When we started working on this game I would drag the treats along the carpet so my dog could easily pick up the scent. If you don’t have any dog treats on hand make some simple ones with 5 ingredients or less or use some fruits & veggies that are good for dogs.
6. Teach Your Dog to 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.
7. 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, here’s 39 healthy foods you can stuff in a Kong.
I love using classic Kong’s because they’re nontoxic, indestructible, and dishwasher safe. If you’re looking for a great Kong alternative that’s just as durable check out the West Paw Zogoflex toy; their smaller size makes them perfect if you’re watching your dogs weight.
Recommended: Looking for some truly indestructible dog toys to keep your dog busy? Check our our top 5 picks for tough chewers.
8. 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.
9. Teach Your Dog How to Play 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.
10. Master the Basics of Obedience Training
Does your dog know all of the basic obedience commands? Does he have a reliable recall and stay? Even well trained dogs need a refresher course now and then to keep them sharp. All dogs should have a reliable sit, down, stay, drop it, and come here.
11. 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. Here’s a list of 52 tricks with instructions that you can work on. Once your dog knows a bunch of tricks step it up a notch and combine their learned behaviors into new tricks.