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Things to Do With Your Dog Indoors: 15 Fun Ideas

Lonely Dog Looking Out Window

So you’re stuck inside for the day. The weather is terrible. Your dog is getting antsy. You can’t go out.

Being cooped indoors can dampen anyone’s spirits, including your dog’s.

But just because you can’t go outside doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to mentally stimulate your dog and meet their needs. Cue this epic list of engaging things to do with your dog indoors to keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied.

Say goodbye to the indoor blues and hello to a happy, active pup!

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Do Dogs Get bored being inside all day?

Yes, dogs can experience boredom if they spend the entire day indoors, especially if they don’t receive sufficient mental and physical stimulation.

The extent to which a dog gets bored can vary widely based on their breed, age, energy level, and individual personality. Some dogs may be content with a more relaxed lifestyle, while others may become restless without daily activity.

Signs that your dog might be bored include:

  • Excessive licking or chewing on themselves or objects
  • Pacing or restlessness
  • Frequent barking or howling with no apparent trigger
  • Overexcitement when you pay attention to them, indicating a lack of sufficient interaction
  • Attempts to escape or constant gazing out of windows

You can combat that pesky boredom by checking out the fun indoor activities below.

15 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog Indoors

Read on for a list of fun and realistic activities to keep your dog entertained indoors.

shiba inu burying its nose in snuffle mat dog toy

Snuffle Mat

A snuffle mat is a simple yet effective way for indoor entertainment. This interactive toy works with dogs of any size, and different brands offer a variety of textures like strings, ribbons, and fabric pieces, all designed to conceal treats or kibble. It taps into your dog’s olfactory abilities, encouraging them to sniff out hidden morsels, thus providing an excellent source of mental exercise by mimicking foraging behaviors.

Dog Puzzle Toy

Puzzle toys are an exceptional choice for indoor enrichment, offering dogs a chance to engage their problem-solving skills. These toys, equipped with compartments for hiding treats, challenge your dog to figure out how to retrieve the hidden rewards.

This interaction boosts their mental stimulation while providing a source of entertainment. Puzzle toys can redirect their energy into a positive and satisfying activity for dogs prone to boredom or anxiety-induced destructive behavior.

Dog Treat Dispenser

Food-dispensing wobbler toys are another excellent option for indoor enrichment. As your dog learns to manipulate the toy to release the food, they receive both mental stimulation and a light physical workout. While similar to puzzle toys in concept, wobblers are distinct in their operation—releasing treats as the dog bats or nudges the toy.

cute dog using lick mat for eating food slowly

Lick Mat

Lick mats are basically what they sound like – a mat that is meant to be licked. They are designed for you to spread soft, lickable treats like yogurt, pumpkin, or peanut butter across their surface. As your dog works to lick off the treat, they experience both mental stimulation and a soothing effect, making it an excellent activity for anxious or high-energy dogs.

For an added challenge and to prolong the enjoyment, try freezing the mat with the treat applied. This makes the task more engaging and can be a refreshing treat, especially on warmer days. The lick mat is a simple yet effective tool to keep your dog occupied.

Play Tug of War

Play with your dog in a spirited game of tug-of-war. Tug is a common favorite for many dogs and adapts well to indoor settings (as long as the play isn’t super intense). This activity is not just a way to tire out your dog; it also engages your dog’s mind and fosters a deeper connection between you two.

Establishing guidelines for tug-of-war can enhance your communication, teaching your dog when to hold on and when to release, turning the game into a teaching moment that reinforces good behavior.

Search for Treats

Create an indoor treasure hunt by hiding treats around your living space. This activity leverages their keen sense of smell and encourages them to use their natural foraging skills. They hone their cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills as they hunt for hidden snacks.

Give Your Dog a Stuffed Kong

Give your dog a stuffed Kong to provide excellent mental enrichment. Kongs can be filled with different treats and foods, such as peanut butter, shredded cheese, or blueberries, providing a tasty puzzle for your dog to solve. Working to extract the treats offers a stimulating mental challenge and will keep your dog busy and content.

small scruffy dog walking on treadmill

Hop on the Treadmill

While treadmills are commonly associated with human fitness, they can also be excellent for indoor doggy fitness. A treadmill session is an excellent way to exercise your dog and stay in shape, all within the comfort of your home, especially during inclement weather.

For those with high-energy breeds, a treadmill can provide the extra exercise needed to keep them content. If you want to offer your dog a mix of mental engagement and physical activity without the need to venture outdoors, treadmill training could be an excellent choice.

Play Hide and Seek

Hide-and-seek offers a blend of mental and physical stimulation and can be a delightful indoor game for you and your dog. This game is versatile and can be modified to fit any indoor environment. Understanding your dog’s perspective and play habits can make hide-and-seek an inclusive activity, suitable even for dogs with lower energy levels or those in their senior years, ensuring they can enjoy playful interaction indoors.

Pomeranian dog chewing treat for clean teeth and healthy gums

Relax With a Chew

Offering your dog a chew is a fantastic way to encourage relaxation and mental stimulation indoors. Chews serve multiple purposes: they keep your dog engaged, promote dental health by cleaning their teeth, and can have a calming effect. By providing a suitable chew, such as a bone, benebone, or bully stick, you’re giving them a treat and a fun and beneficial activity to pass the time.

Rotate Dog Toys

Rotate your dog’s toys to maintain interest in their playthings. This simple yet often overlooked strategy ensures that your dog is regularly presented with a “new” toy, which can prevent boredom and keep their playtime exciting. Rotating dog toys means that each reappearance is a novelty for your dog, keeping them engaged.

I regularly introduce this to clients who have dogs that get bored quickly with their toys, and they’re always pleasantly surprised when it works – give it a chance!

Play the Shell Game

The shell game involves concealing a treat beneath one of several cups and encouraging your dog to find it. This is a budget-friendly and fun game. As your dog uses their sense of smell to identify the correct cup, you can gradually increase the difficulty by adding more cups. Regular play enhances their problem-solving skills and provides valuable mental exercise.

Close up of a beagle dog standing

Brush Up On Obedience Training

Revisiting obedience training is an excellent way to deepen the bond with your dog and refine their skills. Whether you’re reinforcing known commands or introducing new ones, this training is a mentally enriching activity that benefits you and your dog.

It’s a constructive way to spend time together and ensures your dog remains well-behaved and mentally sharp. If you haven’t worked on obedience, let this be your sign to teach your dog to sit (and more)!

Seriously, you’ll thank me later.

Create an Indoor Obstacle Course

Unleash your creativity and construct an indoor obstacle course that perfectly blends fun and challenge for your dog. Use pillows, boxes, and furniture to create tunnels, jumps, and weave poles that encourage agility and mental sharpness.

It’s a great way to exercise their body and mind and strengthen your bond as you guide them through each challenge. Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to incorporate obedience training.

Teaching tricks, sitting on the front paws. Man is playing with his maltese dog indoors at home.

Teach Your Dog a New Trick

Training your dog to do new tricks is a beautiful way to enrich their indoor experience. Dog training sessions keep your dog mentally stimulated and strengthen the bond between you as you work together towards a common goal. Learning new skills is not just entertaining for your dog; it also provides cognitive stimulation, sometimes lacking in an indoor environment.

Play (Mini) Fetch

Fetch can be adapted for indoor play, provided you take some precautions. Choose a space that’s free of obstacles and has a non-slip floor to prevent any mishaps. Soft toys are ideal to avoid any breakages, and a hallway or a room with ample space is perfect for a mini-fetch session.

This game can be a great way to work on your dog’s retrieval skills and ensure they get a dose of their daily exercise. It’s also an excellent way to reinforce commands such as ‘drop it’ in a controlled environment.

Pro Tip: Keep the throws low and controlled to keep your dog safe and your home intact.

Reading a book on bed and cuddling the dog

Relax With a Snuggle Session

If your dog loves to cuddle, settling down for a cuddle following a mental or physical activity session is a wonderful way to relax. This quiet time allows for a peaceful connection, reinforcing the bond between you and your pup. It’s a gentle way to show affection and appreciation for the day’s earlier efforts, providing comfort and companionship.

Conclusion

Finding entertaining and engaging things to do with your dog indoors isn’t just about passing time; it’s about strengthening the bond you share and ensuring your pup’s mental and physical well-being. From interactive games that challenge their minds to cozy cuddle sessions, the possibilities are as endless as they are enjoyable. Embracing these indoor adventures can turn any rainy day into an opportunity for fun and learning for both you and your dog.

Remember, the essence of these activities is to deepen the connection with your dog and discover new ways to enjoy each other’s company, all while keeping them active and happy indoors. So, the next time the weather or circumstances keep you inside, look at it as an invitation to explore new dimensions of your relationship with your dog.

Craving more creative ideas and expert tips on making the most of your time with your dog, indoors and out? Join my vibrant community of dog lovers. Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss out on innovative ways to keep your dog happy, healthy, and entertained, no matter where you are.

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