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12 Indoor Dog Games to Play When You’re Stuck Inside

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Corgi dog bent over interactive educational puzzle toy

12 Indoor Dog Games to Play When You’re Stuck Inside

There’s nothing worse than being stuck indoors, especially when you have a dog to keep entertained. Although it’s not ideal for the day-to-day, there are multiple activities that you can provide for your dog when they’re indoors to keep them entertained. These activities can not only help your dog physically, but they’re also great enrichment activities that can exercise your dog’s brain.

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The 12 Games to Play With Your Dog When You’re Stuck Inside

1. Puzzles

Dog playing sniffing puzzle game for intellectual and nosework training
Image Credit: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock

There are a ton of dog puzzles on the market these days, making them readily available to most people. If you’re struggling to find dog puzzles near you, though, you can always make your own. Empty water bottles, empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes, PVC pipes, and newspapers can all be used to make puzzles to entertain your dog. You can use puzzles to give your dog treats, but some people even feed their dogs their meals in puzzle toys as well to make them more engaged and slow their eating speed.

2. Snuffle Mats

Snuffle mats are another good option for feeding your dog treats or meals. These mats are typically made of fabric and often have multiple textures, pockets, flaps, and fabric strips. You can purchase snuffle mats, but you can also DIY them with things like felt and leftover fabric. The more textures and shapes on the snuffle mat, the harder your dog will have to work to get to all the snacks, keeping them engaged for longer than other toys might.

3. Obstacle Course

Dog being trainned in agility indoor
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

When you think of an obstacle course, you may automatically think about an agility course. However, you can make your own obstacle course for your dog right in your living room or hallway. Hula hoops, cardboard boxes, broom handles, and even pieces of scrap wood and fabric can all be used to create obstacles in your home to get your dog jumping, running, and crawling around your house. The best thing about obstacle courses is that you can mix up the items and the order, keeping things interesting for your pup.

4. Chase

Chase is a simple game that you can play with your dog to get both of you up and moving when you’re stuck in the house. All you have to do is get to running, encouraging your dog to chase behind you. There’s really no point to this game except to get both of you some exercise, so all your dog has to figure out is that you want them to follow you when you run from them. Some dogs will even turn and encourage you to chase them in return.

5. Hide-and-Seek

Black dog hinding behind a curtain
Image Credit: MoBuay, Shutterstock

Playing hide-and-seek with your dog is a good way to get them moving and to encourage them to use their senses and their mind. You can hide somewhere in your house and call your dog to find you. Try to make your hiding places increasingly difficult as you play the game. Alternatively, you can play this game, with toys or treats. Simply hide these items around the house and then encourage your dog to start looking for them.

6. Keep Away

Many dogs enjoy getting a hold of a toy and working to keep it away from everyone else. To play keep away with your dog, you can continue to let them get away with a toy, or you can keep a toy away from them. This game can be a lot of fun for both of you, but some dogs may become frustrated if they can never get the object, so make sure to let your dog win the game of keep away every now and then. To burn even more energy, you can get a second person to play this game by tossing the toy back and forth and encouraging your dog to try to catch it in the air.

7. Fetch

Dog playing fetch indoors
Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

Fetch is often considered to be an outdoor game, but if there’s enough space in your home, you can play it indoors. Make sure to avoid areas with breakables, objects on the walls, and lots of furniture. A long hallway is an ideal option for this game. If you have specific toys that you typically use for fetch, you may pull those into the game. This will let your dog know that it’s time to play fetch and encourage them to play the game as normal.

8.  Training Sessions

Training is an excellent way to entertain your dog, and when you’re working on training your dog, you’re also building trust between the two of you. Training can require lots of physical movement, but no matter what you’re training, you’ll be encouraging your dog to work their brain and providing them with an enriching activity. Try to keep training sessions to under 10–20 minutes to ensure your dog doesn’t lose interest or become frustrated with the process since this will likely reduce their willingness to perform the command.

9. Balance and Mobility Exercises

Dog training balance with a woman
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

Balance and mobility exercises can be done with a variety of props, many of which you can find in stores and online. Canine physiotherapists and other professionals can provide you with information on how to do these exercises with your dog. These types of exercises are typically low-impact activities that don’t require a lot of physical activity, but they will help entertain your dog. They’re also an excellent way to help your dog learn how to move their body better, which can often reduce the risk of injuries with certain activities.

10. Nose Work

Nose work and sniffing games can be as simple or difficult as you choose to make them. You can play games that are simple, like hiding treats under cups and encouraging your dog to find the treats, or complex, like hiding a lightly scented item somewhere in your home and creating a scent trail to it. You can purchase nose work kits to get your dog started with this type of training, but if you’re just looking for something to do on a rainy day, then sticking to simple sniffing games with treats is ideal.

11. Stairs

Beagle going down the stairs
Image Credit: Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

Going up and down stairs can tire your dog out quickly and provide them with physical activity that helps build muscles. Tossing a toy up the stairs and encouraging your dog to get it is a good way to incorporate your home’s stairs into your games. Keep in mind when using stairs, though, that coming down the stairs can put a lot of pressure on your dog’s joints, so this should be minimized. When your dog goes down the stairs, encourage them to come down slowly and carefully by hiding treats on the steps.

12. Playtime

Sometimes, all you need on a rainy day is just to play a random game with your dog, and bringing new toys into your games can make things even more entertaining. It’s a clever idea to rotate your dog’s toys regularly to keep them from losing interest in them. You can also keep a stash of old favorites or brand-new toys to pull out when the two of you are stuck in the house for hours on end and looking for something to do.

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It’s ok to have a lazy day every now and then, but some dogs simply won’t let you! Whether you have a high-energy dog trapped in the house or you have a lazy dog that needs to get up and move around, there are games you can play with them to get them moving and help burn some energy. Try a few of the games listed above to keep things interesting!

Featured Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

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