Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Entertain Your Dog: 34 Easy & Fun Ways

Written by: Jessica Rossetti

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

labradoodle dog and woman owner at the park

How to Entertain Your Dog: 34 Easy & Fun Ways

All dogs need mental and physical stimulation. The amount of each depends on your dog’s breed, age, energy level, and health status. You can keep your dog happy with outdoor playtime, but sometimes, the weather won’t allow that. You can try to keep your dog entertained indoors, but it can seem like the options for that are limited.

We have a few ideas to help you keep your dog from getting bored. In this article, we look at 34 simple ways to keep your dog entertained. A bored dog can quickly become a destructive dog. Read on to learn tips and tricks for keeping your dog busy, both indoors and outdoors.

divider-dog paw

The 34 Tips & Tricks to Entertain Your Dog

1. Give Them a Window

Some dogs like to watch the outdoors. If you’re stuck inside with your dog, or they’re home alone, give them access to a window by opening the curtains or raising the blinds. This can entertain dogs for hours as they lie in the sun and watch what’s going on around them. You can place your dog’s bed or favorite blanket in front of the window to give them a comfy spot to observe the neighborhood. But if your dog is easily excited and tends to bark at passersby, this is not the best suggestion for them.

dog on the carpet sunbathing by the window
Image by: Jonathan Sebastiao, Unsplash

2. Create a Scavenger Hunt

If you’re about to leave the house for the day or if you’d just like to give your dog something to do, a scavenger hunt can be a fun activity for them. Hide small piles of kibble or treats around the house, and then tell your dog to find them. You can use the amount of kibble for one full meal so they have to work to find their breakfast or dinner. If you do this with your dog’s breakfast right before you leave for the day, they will start to view your leaving as positive instead of negative.

3. Use a Food Puzzle

Food puzzles can hold your dog’s attention because the reward for solving them is a treat or a bit of kibble. Instead of hiding food around the house, fill a food puzzle with kibble or your dog’s favorite treats, and let them have at it. If you’re willing to invest in these toys, you can get a few different ones so your dog doesn’t grow bored of solving the same puzzle.

Image by: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock

4. Socialize Your Dog

Your dog may love you, but some dogs want to visit with other people and dogs too. Getting your dog out of the house to socialize will drain their energy and keep them mentally engaged. Plan to meet up with a friend who has a friendly dog and go for a hike together. Visit a dog park. Plan puppy play dates in a securely fenced outdoor area. If your dog is social, give them a chance to interact with others.

5. Identify Your Dog’s Toys

Make up names for each of your dog’s toys. Start by choosing one toy, assigning it a name, and referring to the toy by that name for a few days. Whenever your dog is playing with the toy, use the toy’s name. Once your dog learns the name of this toy, they will be able to identify it from the rest. Continue this process until all the toys are named. You can ask your dog to retrieve certain toys by asking them to go get each one. Your dog will enjoy being able to pick out specific toys when asked, giving them a fun job to do.

border collie dog with toy ball on the couch
Image by: Julia Zavalishina, Shutterstock

6. Send Them to Doggie Daycare

If you work outside of the home—or even if you don’t!—sometimes, your active dog needs more physical activity than you can provide. If your dog is friendly and up to date on their vaccines, consider sending them to doggie daycare. They will get exercise and play with other dogs, and you don’t have to worry about them being bored waiting for you to get done with work. A bonus is they will usually come home exhausted and ready to relax.

7. Stuff Treats Into Toys

This is similar to a food puzzle, except the toy isn’t hard to figure out. You can use a Kong or treat ball to fill with your dog’s treats or kibble. If using a Kong, you can fill it with plain yogurt or peanut butter and freeze it. Your dog will have to spend time trying to get the rewards from inside the toy so you can keep them busy for hours.

shiba inu dog chewing a kong toy
Image Credit: AlyssaRich, Shutterstock

8. Play the Shell Game

This is a classic game that people enjoy, and your dog can too! Let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of three cups. Shuffle the cups while they’re watching, and tell them to find the treat. This keeps your dog mentally engaged as they work to figure out where the treat is to get their reward. Plus, it’s a cute trick to show off at parties.

9. Play Tug of War

Tug of war may not be the most exciting game for humans to play, but many dogs love it and never seem to tire of it. This is a great game to play on days when you can’t get outside since it doesn’t require much room. Use a rope toy or a durable rubber toy for this game, and let your dog win sometimes. They shouldn’t potentially injure themselves trying to get the toy away from you, especially if you’re stronger than your dog. Letting them win makes it more fun for them to keep playing. You can use a plush toy too, but be warned that softer toys make it easier for dogs to accidentally nip your fingers when they’re trying to get a better grip.

dalmatiam dog playing chew toy
Image by: 5 second Studio, Shutterstock

10. Play Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a fun game that can challenge your dog mentally and physically. You can play this outdoors or indoors. Have your dog sit and stay. Then, go and hide, and once you’re ready, call your dog so they will start seeking. When they find you, reward them with a treat. You can play this repeatedly for as long as they’re interested in it.

11. Block Their Way

Dogs often know their house layout well and can navigate it easily, running around corners and jumping up on the couch without having to think about it. Mix it up for them. When your dog is in another room, block their path with a chair turned over on its side. Place boxes in the hallway to narrow the path. Place treats up on shelves or hang them on strings from the ceiling low enough so your dog can reach them if they try. Call your dog, and as they come to you, they’ll discover these new obstacles and have to work to figure out how to navigate them.

two dogs standing behind the gate
Image by: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

12. Leave the TV or Radio Playing

The sound of a TV is usually common for a dog to hear, and many dogs are used to this ambient background noise. If you’re leaving the house for a while and don’t want your dog to get lonely, leave on what you’d normally be watching or listening to so they can be comforted by the familiar sounds. You can even turn the channel to a show featuring dogs or other animals.

13. Get Them Comfy

Dogs love to relax and sleep. Make sure the spot they choose for their naps is as comfortable as it can be. If your dog is sleeping, they can’t be bored or sad while waiting for you to come home. This is a good way for them to pass the time until you come back. Dogs will stay asleep longer in places where they feel the most comfortable. Choose a comfy bed for them and add a blanket to it. If they sleep on the couch or in your bed, you can spread a blanket over this area for extra softness and warmth. If your dog is older or suffers from arthritis, an orthopedic bed might be best for them to help take pressure off their joints.

dachshund dog sleeping at home
Image by: Stepan Soloveiv, Pixabay

14. Change the Walk Route

Many dogs look forward to their walks because it gives them a chance to explore the neighborhood and investigate their surroundings. If you walk the same route every day, things can get a little mundane. If you don’t have time in the mornings to give your dog a leisurely walk to explore the area, set aside time in the evening for this. Take them on a new route so they can smell, see, and explore new things. Switching up the route regularly will add more variety to their routine.

15. Work on Obedience

Dogs that are always learning new things can keep from getting mentally bored. Obedience training forces your dog to focus on a task, so they expend mental energy. Just 10 minutes a day will give your dog a mental workout. Teach them commands like sit, shake, lie down, roll over, and come. If your dog has already mastered those, you can move on to more complex commands, like fetch.

Red Heeler Plays Fetch
Image by: DortmundFan, Shutterstock

16. Tidy Up

Your dog makes a mess, so it’s only right that they should clean it up. Teach your dog to pick up their toys. You can direct them to place the toys in a basket or bin. Hand your dog a toy over the toy basket. When they accept it, tell them to drop/clean up/tidy up or whatever command you want to use. They should drop the toy in the basket and be rewarded with a treat. Eventually, instead of handing your dog the toy, have them retrieve it from the ground and place it in the basket. Repeat these sessions a few times a day until your dog understands what you’re asking them to do. It might take a while before they get the hang of it, but once they do, you can teach them to clean up dirty clothes and put them in the laundry basket too!

17. Change Their Toys

Dogs can get bored playing with the same toys every day, especially if they are worn out or falling apart. Swap a few of your dog’s old, worn toys with new ones to keep them entertained. If your dog’s toys are in good condition, you can rotate them with new ones instead of getting rid of them. Continue to alternate the toys every few weeks so your dog always has a fresh batch to play with.

white dog playing puzzle toy
Image by: Lenti Hill, Shutterstock

18. Get Your Dog a Dog

This won’t be an option for everyone. Some dogs don’t like other dogs, and others prefer to be an only dog. You may also have a pet limit in your residence or be unable to fit another dog into your budget. However, if your dog is friendly and likes other dogs, and you can bring another into your home, consider getting your dog a playmate. They can play together and keep each other entertained.

19. Use a Dig Box

Does your dog love to dig, but you’re tired of them destroying the garden? Give them their own box to dig in! It’s like a sandbox for your dog. You can use sand instead of dirt to keep your dog cleaner. Bury a few toys or small treats in the sand to encourage them to dig there. If the sand is kept damp, it’s more inviting for dogs to dig through it.

20. Give Them a Massage

Dogs like to relax and unwind, just like people do. Giving them a massage is a great way to show them how much you love them and want to bond with them. It will also make them feel relaxed and stress-free. Start by gently massaging their head and neck, and work your way down to their back, chest, and legs. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort, stop. They will let you know what feels good to them.

French Bulldog snuggling beside owner
Image by: Mylene2401, Pixabay

21. Create Games for Solo Play

If you can’t play with your dog, set up games that they can play by themselves. If your dog likes to play tug of war, you can attach a tug toy to something stationary so they can pull whenever they want to. Dogs can also play fetch on their own. Teach your dog to drop their ball down a flight of stairs or roll it down a hallway so they can chase after it.

22. Teach Your Dog Agility

Agility competitions for dogs have them running through tunnels, jumping over hurdles, and winding through poles. Find a local indoor or outdoor agility course, and head over with your dog to see how they do. With a bit of training, you can show them how to run the course while honing your dog-handling abilities. If you don’t want to bring your dog to the course, bring the course to your dog: Set up an agility course in your own backyard.

agility training
Image by: SnottyBoggins, Pixabay

23. Use a Splash Pad or Pool

Setting up a splash pad or pool in the yard is a great way to keep your dog with you when the weather is otherwise too hot for them. Leaving them inside with the AC running is always an option, but your dog can get lonely and bored without you. If you’re headed outdoors for gardening or sunbathing, give your dog a way to stay cool. Make sure your dog is comfortable by setting this up in the shade. Always monitor them when they are using their pool.

24. Blow Bubbles

Blow bubbles for your dog to chase. You can do this while you’re sitting and relaxing because it doesn’t take much effort but will keep your dog entertained. They can chase and try to pop the bubbles, and you won’t have anything to clean up afterward!

25. Play Interactive Games

Playing fetch with your dog is always a winner. This simple, classic game is one that almost all dogs seem to enjoy. You can also hide the ball and have them find it. Hide their toys around the house and have them collect them all.

golden retriever playing fetch with ball throw toy
Image by: Katrin B., Pixabay

26. Mix Up the Treats

Your dog appreciates every treat reward, but they may get bored of the same thing every day. Have a variety of store-bought treats on hand so you can always give them something different, or incorporate fresh fruit and veggies into the mix. Many of these foods are good for dogs and can provide health benefits. Carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples (with no seeds or cores) can give your dog’s taste buds something new. Always check first to make sure that what you want to give your dog is safe for them to eat.

27. Involve the Kids

If you have kids, send them outside to play with the dog. Children can match a dog’s energy level and excitement. By playing together, they can tire each other out and keep from getting bored. If you don’t have kids, invite friends or family members over with their kids to keep your dog busy. Just make sure your dog likes children before you do this.

child hugging the dog
Image by: FamVeld, Shutterstock

28. Hire a Dog Walker

If you don’t have the time or ability to give your dog a long, leisurely walk, hire a dog walker to do it for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re home or not. The dog walker will come in and take your dog for a walk at your chosen time. If you’re not home, the dog walker can also give your dog any meals, treats, or medications that it might need.

29. Use Chew Toys

An edible chew toy can keep your dog busy for hours and may even clean their teeth as they chew. Bully sticks or Busy Bones are also fun options for your dog to give them a variety of flavors and keep them entertained.

dog playing with chew toy
Image by: AnnaD, Pixabay

30. Play the Hand Game

Place one of your dog’s favorite treats in your hand, and close your hand around it. Hold both of your closed fists out in front of your dog, and let them smell your hands to choose where the treat is. You can even hide your hands behind your back to switch the treat from one hand to the other. Reward your dog when they get it right with the treat and plenty of praise.

31. Take Your Dog on an Adventure

Pack water for you and your dog, along with a travel dog water bowl, and head out on a hike. If you know of a good dog-friendly trail, even if it’s a bit of a drive to get to, jump in the car with your dog and head to it. A change of scenery can be fun for you both, and you will have a happy and tired pup on your way home.

Man with dog on hiking trip
Image Credit: furry_portraits, Pixabay

32. Use Clicker Training

Teaching your dog to respond to a clicker opens up a new way of talking with them. You will be able to communicate with your dog at the exact moment that they perform the desired task. The clicker is a positive reinforcement training tool that helps keep your dog mentally engaged.

33. Use a Snuffle Mat

A snuffle mat is used to keep your dog busy as they search through it to find treats or food. The mat is made of different textures that mimic grass or fields. Your dog is stimulated to find the food that’s hidden inside. If you take the time to pack the mat full, you can keep your dog entertained for long periods.

34. Give Them Extra Attention

Sometimes the thing that your dog wants most is your attention. Spend time giving them extra belly rubs or even start a grooming session. Some dogs enjoy being brushed, and you can keep their coat looking shiny and clean too. Bonding with your dog by spending time together is a meaningful interaction that will keep your dog from being bored.

dog standing on owner in bed
Image by: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock



There are so many ways to keep your dog entertained, and we hope that this list has given you a few new ideas or inspired you to create ones of your own. Anything that you do with your dog will be something that they enjoy because they get to do it with you. Keep this list handy during periods of inclement weather or when you’re too busy to give your dog all the attention that they want. These ideas can help keep your dog occupied so you don’t have to.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.