Dogs are fine with living both indoors and outdoors, but majority prefer the outside to staying at home in most cases. They like to run around and have fun in the open space, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t entertain your dog indoors as well. Here are a few examples of things you can do to help your dog stay active indoors when you have no other option.
To start with, the best and most obvious way to keep your dog entertained indoors is to play games with him. You will certainly have some fun along the way as well. There's an umber of dog-friendly games to do, but some are all pets' favorites.
1. Nosework Games
Nosework games are a good way to bond with your dog and exercise him mentally. If he is new to nosework, start by placing a few healthy treats around the room as he watches you. After that, give him the command “Find treats” and encourage your pooch while he does it. Praise him after he finds a treat and do it each time he does.
Once your dog learns the command, increase the difficulty gradually. First, hide the treats while your dog waits in another room and then start to put the treats in places more difficult to find.
2. Shell Game
Shell Game, also known as Three Cup Monte, will keep your dog entertained and his mind active. Place a treat in one of three cups so your dog sees it and then mix the cups for a bit. Let your pooch take a guess where the treat is and if he finds it, reward him with a healthy dog treat!
3. Tug of War
Tug of War is a great way to physically and mentally exercise your pooch. You don’t need a lot of room to play this game, so you can play it indoors. Don't worry about the common misconception that Tug of War makes dogs aggressive or dominant, which seems to be a myth. In fact, studies show that dogs that play this game are actually more obedient and have more confidence, especially when they win.
4. Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek can be a good way to teach your dog the “Stay” command or to reinforce it. This game also involves exercise and can help you improve the bond you have with your pooch. If your dog doesn’t know the “Stay” command, you will need another person to hold him in place while you hide.
Although fetch is a game best played outdoors, most of us have some extra room inside where we can play a simple game of fetch. Of course, if you have a large breed then you probably should skip this game. Another similar option to fetch is playing a game of catch with your pooch.
6. Entertain the Dog With Toys
Providing many toys for your dog to play with is one simple yet very effective way to keep him entertained indoors. Buy or make your dog a new toy if he already has some and try to rotate them as often as possible to keep his interest high. Stuffed toys are always a good choice, especially stuffed KONG toys since they don’t require a lot of preparation and they can keep your dog entertained for a long time.
7. Food Dispensing and Puzzle Toys
These toys are perfect for dogs that get bored easily, but they are also great for dogs that eat their food too fast. Food dispensing toys make your dog work for their food by solving puzzles and thinking of other ways to get to the food. West Paw Qwizl is one of the best choices on the market, but there's a number of other great toys for puppies and adult dogs alike.
8. Have a Relaxing Grooming Session
Dedicate some time to finally have a stress-free, proper and a very relaxing grooming session with your pooch. That is a good way to keep him entertained, finally enjoy the grooming process and appreciate what's being done, familiarize with other aspects of it more closely, and it is also good for your dog’s overall health.
9. Teach Your Dog to Help With Chores
Even if you don’t really need help around the house, you should still teach your pooch to help you with some simple chores. That will be good for his confidence since it will stimulate his mind and keep him entertained. After all, it can’t hurt having a well-trained pooch that can fetch your slippers or even something from the fridge from time to time (it can be done!) Most importantly, this will keep his mind sharp.
10. Teach Your Dog New Tricks
If your dog already knows a lot of tricks, you can refresh his memory and go through some of them again, especially if you haven’t done that in a while. Make sure that your pooch doesn’t get rusty and get out some treats and your clicker to run through the drills.
If you haven’t taught him any tricks or commands yet, start with some basic ones, like “Sit” or “Come”.
11. Give Your Dog a Relaxing Massage
Pain relief, relaxation and improved immune system are just a few of the many benefits of dog massage, according to experts. However, giving your dog a massage can also improve the bond between the two of you among other benefits.
Massages are particularly useful for older dogs or dogs suffering from arthritis, but it is also a great way to entertain any dog indoors. Check out Samantha's tips on how to give a dog a massage at home in this guide and video.
12. Arrange a Play Date
If your dog is staying indoors, that doesn’t mean that he can’t socialize with other pets or humans. Invite some of your or your pet's friends over for a play date to keep him entertained and active. While the dogs play, it presents a good opportunity for you to socialize yourself too, or even catch up on some of your chores.
13. Blow Some Bubbles
Teach your dog to chase bubbles. That is a simple way to provide some exercise for your pooch without having to do much yourself. And it is a fun thing to do as well, especially if you have a baby, as you can see from this hilarious video below:
There are a lot of different choices on the market and you should only make sure to buy bubbles that are non-toxic, which are basically all bubbles available for children.
14. Teach Your Dog the Names of His Toys
Teaching your dog to recognize his toys by name will keep his mind active. Dogs can learn around 200 words on average, according to Animal Planet. Of course, with proper training some dogs can learn a lot more, so learning the name of his toys shouldn’t be that hard.
Start by choosing a single toy. Give it a name while you play with it. After some time and practice your dog will learn the name of that toy. Test his skills by making him find that specific toy among others and don’t forget to reward your pooch with a treat for the job well done.
15. Make Homemade Dog Treats
Even though your pooch won’t help you with the process itself, he will surely be entertained and happy when he tries your homemade dog treats after they're done. Making your own homemade treats is the only way to know for sure what goes into them and to provide your dog with a healthy and tasty snack.
These were only a few of the most effective ways to keep your dog entertained indoors. Be creative and find more ways to keep your dog active at all times, especially when he has to stay inside.