Playing indoor games and having fun activities to do with your dog inside your home has many benefits. Besides the fun, it helps spend more quality time with your best friend and keep your dog physically and mentally active.
The more playing time he has, is less likely to manifest behavioral problems.
Having time to play fun indoor dog games is an excellent way to have quality time and strengthen the bonds between our dog and us.
It is also an excellent way to teach or reinforce the training of our dog, especially when he’s still a puppy.
Here is a list of some of the most entertaining and fun indoor games to play with your dog.
Many dogs like to play fetch and it is a great exercise for them.
The game is simple; it consists of throwing a ball or some other toy, and your dog will go find it and bring it back to you.
You don’t have to go outside or take your dog to a dog park to play fetch. If you have a long hallway or a large room you can play fetch indoors. You can also clear away furniture or any obstacle to create a play space. Just remove dangerous or fragile things that can break.
I use a variant that my dog loves. I throw the ball into a room, and when she goes for it, I move or hide. So she has to look for me to give me the ball.
2. Game of Tag
Besides being a great game to exercise your dog, it helps to practice and reinforce recall.
For this game, you need at least two people to take part. Each one must have a bunch of treats.
It is recommended to start close to each other. Call your dog and when he arrives, reward him with a treat. Then the other person calls and rewards him and start again.
Move far away from each other until you are in different rooms or as far away as possible. The more your dog runs, the better.
One objective of this game is to increase exercise and decrease the habit of treats. Little by little, replace the treats with a lot of praise and excitement.
You can make the game more fun by running or hiding so that your dog chases you or tries to find you.
3. Hide and Seek
It is a simple game that helps to teach or reinforce the “sit” and “stay” command.
Make your dog sit and stay while you hide. Call it when you’re already hiding and when he finds you, reward and praise him.
Make the game more difficult when your dog understands it. In an apartment, there are few options to hide, but it’s worth getting creative with your hiding places. It’s fun to see the dedication and emotion that your dog puts in looking for you.
You can also mix this game with Fetch and the Game of Tag.
4. Tug of War
Este es uno de esos juegos de interior para jugar con tu perro que son bastante divertidos y que a la mayoría de los cachorros les encanta. You need little space, and it is extremely mentally and physically exhausting.
Before starting, make sure your dog has a reliable “drop it” command. You must be able to trust that your dog will release the toy or rope if things get difficult.
You can use a tough rope, but it is recommended to use a dog toy designed for tugging.
The game is simple to play; you grab one end of the toy or rope and your dog the other. Your dog will pull and shake trying to keep the toy while you do the same.
During the game, pull only towards the sides and not up because your dog can hurt his neck.
Let you pup win from time to time and you’ll see how happy and excited you dog gets. This will not make you look weak or less dominant and will make him enjoy the game more.
There is a myth that playing Tug of War will make dogs more aggressive. But it is proven that it is untrue. Even professional trainers use it as a reward for a desired behavior.
Also, Tug of War serves to redirect destructive chewing and, as mentioned above, helps teach and reinforce basic obedience training, like the “drop it” command.
5. The Chasing Game
This is my dog’s favorite game to play with my dog inside my home. We can spend hours running around the sofa until both are completely exhausted.
The game consists of chasing your dog trying to take one of his toys. When you get it, it’s his turn to chase you.
It’s important to let your dog take the toy from time to time. The face of satisfaction when he gets it is priceless.
This game can reinforce the training of not jumping on people when he is very excited.
You can make it more entertaining and varied if you mix it with Tug of War, the Tag Game, or even with Hide and Seek.
6. Up and Down the Stairs
It’s a great game to play with your dog if you have stairs in your home. If you live in an apartment without stairs, you can use the stairs of your building.
Similar to the Chasing Game, the idea is that your dog chases you up and down the stairs.
If your dog is unwilling to follow you, take treats to motivate him, and make sure to reward him every time he arrives up or down the stairs.
It is a great exercise for you and your dog, and it is likely that both end up exhausted. It’s a great game to get your dog a proper workout indoors.
If you can not go up and down stairs, you can try throwing a ball or toy for him to bring back. Praise and reward with treats when he does it.
7. The Which Hand Game
It is a great game for your dog to start playing scent games. Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, but they need to learn how to use it. This indoor dog games help to develop and perfect their olfactory skills.
For this game, you only need treats or pieces of food that your dog loves and preferably very odorous.
The game is simple. Put a treat in one of your hands. Close both hands and put them in front of your dog.
Let him find it by choosing in which hand is the treat. When he smells or points out the right hand, open your hand and give your dog the treat.
When he makes a mistake, do not discourage him and let him try it several times until he chooses correctly. Little by little, he will understand what the game is about.
8. The Three Cups Game
Also known as the Shell Game, it’s another great scent game a little harder than the Which Hand Game.
For this game, you will need a bunch of treats and three cups.
In front of your pup, start by putting a treat under one cup and let your dog choose the right one.
Once he has understood it, you can mix the cups, so he uses his nose and does not rely on sight alone.
9. Treats Hunt
This game is about hiding treats around your home so that your dog finds them. Your dog will put his nose to work and it is a great game to stimulate him mentally.
You must use treats he really loves and are very smelly.
To teach your dog how to play, you can start by throwing the treats at his sight and saying “find it”. Once he has mastered it, you can hide the treats in another room. It is useful to drag the treats across the floor so he can easily follow the scent.
If he has the necessary training, make him “sit” while you hide the treats. If he can not sit still, lock him in a room in the meantime.
Make sure to start with easy hiding places and gradually make it harder until your dog gets used to using his nose. Motivate your dog to sniff them out.
10. Flirt Pole
You can buy a Flirt Pole at any pet store or create one yourself. All you need is a stick, a rope and any toy that your dog loves. It’s like a fishing rod with a toy as bait.
Start by holding the toy out of his reach and ask him to “sit”. At your signal, you can use a “go”, move the toy around you. Your dog will try catching the toy.
When he catches the toy, ask him to “drop it” and go back to “sit” to continue the game.
This game can be very hard on a dog’s joints, so it is recommended to keep the game sessions short.
This game is great because your dog can do a lot of exercise in a very small space.
Besides reinforcing the basic dog training commands such as “sit” and “drop it”, it helps him to learn to control himself when he is very excited.
11. Indoor Obstacle Course
Although it seems complicated, this is a really entertaining game to do with your dog indoors.
Create an Obstacle Course at your home and guide your dog through each of the obstacles. Once he has mastered it, gradually make him go faster.
Remember to reward him with praise or treats every time he finishes the course.
Do it according to the capabilities and needs of your dog, and you can gradually complicate it by adding new obstacles.
Be creative with the things you have at home and create a circuit as varied as possible. Some ideas you can try are:
- Arrange chairs in zigzag for your dog to pass through.
- Place one or more brooms on buckets so he can jump them.
- Make your dog “sit” and “lay down” on a blanket or cushion.
- Arrange one or several chairs, so he passes over them.
- In a row of chairs or a table, place a blanket to create a tunnel for him to go through.
This activity is a great way to keep your dog stimulated physically and mentally. It also helps strengthen the relationship and create bonds of trust between your dog and you.
12. Blow Bubbles
Some dogs like to catch bubbles. It might seem silly for some people. But in reality, it is a simple fun game that your dog may love and keep him very entertained and exercised at home.
There are many pet bubbles you can use. But you can also use bubbles for children that are non-toxic.
If you have small children, this is a great game they can play with your dog.
13. Practice Basic Training
When you are indoors, it is a good opportunity to work and reinforce the basic training of your dog, besides being excellent games for dogs
You can reinforce basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, “lay down”, “drop it” and the recall. You do not need too much space for this.
At first glance, they cannot seem like fun things to do with your dog at home, but in reality, it is very entertaining and useful.
Even if your dog handles the basic commands well, it will always be fun and exciting for him to practice them. But if you have not worked the basic training with your dog, it’s a good time to start.
Training your dog should always be fun for you and your dog. It is easier to learn when you are having a good time.
14. Teach New Skills and Tricks
Besides reinforcing the basic training of your dog, you can use indoor time to teach your dog new skills and tricks.
It may sound a lot of work and boring for your dog, but it can be a lot of fun for him. More if you are excited and use positive reinforcement to train him.
You can teach him new skills such as “rolling over”, “healing” or “spinning”.
Teaching your dog new things is one of the best ways to keep him mentally stimulated. A single 10-minute session helps burn a lot of mental energy.
15. Teach the Names of Their Toys
To teach your dog the names of his toys, start by playing with him with a specific toy. While playing, clearly and constantly name the toy.
After a while and practice, your dog will identify the toy with his name.
You can test if he identifies the toy by placing several toys in front of him and asking him to choose the toy you ask for.
When he does it right, praise and make a big deal of it.
Gradually add new toys or objects to the practice.
16. The Go Find It Game
When your dog knows how to identify his toys by name, you can teach this game.
Leave his toys in a pile or in a box and ask him to find a specific toy. When he finds it and brings you the right toy, reward him with treats or praise.
This is one of those indoor games to play with your dog great to stimulate him mentally.
17. Teach Him to Put Away His Toys
Clean up time can be a lot of fun for your dog and you.
First, teach him how to pick up a toy. For this, your dog must master the “drop it” command.
Have him picked up a toy and tell him to “put it away”. When he is standing on the top of the box or where the toys will be stored, ask him to “drop it”. Praise him when he achieves it.
When he has mastered picking up a toy, spread the toys in a small area. Whether pointing a toy or by naming it, tell your dog to “put away”.
When he achieves it, reward him and continue until all the toys are in the box.
While he is mastering the game, gradually increases the difficulty. Distribute the toys further and further away. You can put them in different rooms or even hide them, so your dog has to look for them.
It is not always easy to find great indoor games for dogs. But to keep your dog entertained and busy indoors you don’t need a lot of fancy toys.
When you are stuck inside with your dog, fun indoor games are a great way to give your dog quality time and to stimulate him mentally and physically.
I hope that some of the ideas of indoor dog games mentioned above will be very helpful.