11 Fun Enrichment Games to Play with Your Dog Inside
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We take agility classes with our dog, Ginger. But there are many of these things you can do on your own, using everyday household items. Using chairs, broomstick, boxes, hula-hoop, pillows, be creative and use what you have.
Use your dog’s nose to play this game and it will mentally tire him out quicker than you think. Start simple by hiding a few treats around a small area, give the command “search” or “find the treats”. Give a lot of excited praise once she finds each treat. Once you feel your dog has an understanding of the command “search”, then start expanding the area where you hid the treats, making it more difficult as your dog gets better at the find the treats game.
If you have a long hallway or basement you can play fetch indoors. It’s as easy as grabbing a tennis ball or favorite toy and have fun! This is one of my go-to rainy day dog activities when it’s raining or too cold outside to go for our regular long walks. Our dogs love this rubber ball , it’s easy to grab and it bounces to make it fun to chase! This is a great way to give your dog the physical exercise indoors .
If you have a muffin/cupcake pan and a few tennis balls then this is super simple to set up. Place treats or kibble in about half of the cups, then place tennis balls in each cup. Next, let your dog find the treats by moving the balls with their paw or nose. This dog game is so much fun to play, even your kids can play it with the dog.
Get three or more cups, boxes or containers that you can hide a treat under. Set the cups upside down, placing treats under only one of the cups. If your dog has never played this game, you can start out by showing her where the treats are and covering them up. Once she gets the hang of the game, make it more difficult by not letting her see which cup the treats are under.
Training is the best indoor activities for dogs in winter or rainy days. Indoor dog training is simple, all you need is your dog and maybe a few treats. Whether your dog is an ace on basic commands or is still learning, even 5 minutes of practicing your sit, down and stays can be mentally challenging. Have you ever heard of the saying, “use it or lose it”? Make this fun by using treats or toys. Add some playtime between commands, whatever it takes to keep your dog engaged and having fun.
Hide and seek may be a great children’s game, but is also a lot of fun for your dog! If you have kids, you can kill two birds with one stone with this one! Have your children hide and the dog find them. If you don’t have another human to play with, then your dog will need a good sit/stay command. Have your dog stay and go hide, yell out your release word and wait for your dog to find you.
Playing tug of war with your dog is the perfect indoor dog activity. Tug can be a great bonding experience; plus is both mentally and physically challenging. The goal is just to have fun. There is a great article from Puppy Leaks about the art of playing tug with your dog .
Puzzle games are a fun way to play with dogs indoors. You can place your dog’s daily kibble inside the puzzle, so you won’t risk overfeeding him.
This is a great way to teach a dog impulse control by playing a game. I learned this one from Susan Garrett . Start by holding treats in a closed hand, not allowing the dog to have any until he backs away. Once he backs away, open your hand and if he stays back, offer him a treat. If he charges back to you, close your hand. This “game” can help with a lot of unwanted behaviors, while still making it fun for you and the dog.
Yes, you can teach any age dog a new trick! My favorite trick commands are the “sit pretty”, “middle” and “spin”. But you can teach your dog any trick you desire, how about “roll over” or “play dead”? Here is a list of some fun tricks to teach your dog:
Physical and mental exercise is so important for your dog’s health, so when it’s not possible to go outside, turn to this list of inside games for dogs.
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