- Indoor games are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated at times when you can’t go outside
- Playing games with your dog can stop them from chewing up furniture and stops them from getting bored
- Games that could cause your dog to become excited should be played on non-slip surfaces to avoid injury. These games include find it, tug of war and fetch.
- It’s a good idea to put toys and treat bags away after your play session, ending with a nice ‘finish’ cue for your dog so that they understand the game is over
- While playing inside, check regularly that your dog isn’t overdoing it by giving them regular breaks and making sure water is always available
If the weather is too hot, cold or dangerous to go out, there are still lots of things you can do inside the home to tire your dog out. When dogs are bored they tend to look for entertainment elsewhere and this can have undesirable consequences (chewed up items sound familiar?).
Playing with your dog a few times through the day can stop them from making up their own games, keeping their minds focused from other possible destructive habits.
This is great fun for your dog and entertaining for the family too, watching your dog unearth all of the hidden treats!
How to play with treats
- Show your dog that you have a piece of food/treat in your hand
- Say ‘find it!’ and then throw the piece of food/treat across the floor
- When your dog finds the piece of food, say a clear ‘yes!’ so they know they’ve followed through on the action that you wanted from them
You can also play this game with toys if your dog is more toy orientated.
If you’d like to challenge your dog further, you can make the ‘find it!’ game more advanced by telling your dog to stay while you hide the treat/s behind pieces of furniture. You can also place your dog in a room, hide all of the treats in a different room and then open the door for your dog and say ‘find it!’.
How to play with people
Just in the way that you can use the ‘find it!’ game to ask your dog to find treats and toys; you can also ask them to find people. To begin, you ideally need two people to play the game.
- While one person goes to hide, the other will keep the dog distracted
- When the other person is hidden, the person with the dog will say ‘find’ and then say the person’s name ie ‘find Emily!’
- When your dog finds you, be sure to make a big fuss over them
Keep this simple to begin with, hiding in obvious places where they can see you. When they approach you, give them lots of attention and repeat the exercise. You can increase the difficulty as your dog gets used to the game.
You can play fetch inside the home with soft toys that don’t bounce (to save your TV!), ensuring that you do this on a carpeted floor to avoid your dog slipping when they’re running after the toy.
Tug of war
For those dogs that love a game of tug, this can be a great way of not only exercising them indoors, but teaching them self-control when rules are put in place to make sure that play stays controlled.
Fun with food
Keep your dog mentally stimulated by using their scavenger nature to your advantage.
- Instead of using your dog’s normal food bowl, think about using a Kong, food puzzle or activity ball to keep them entertained
- Use the ‘find it!’ game to hide all of their breakfast/dinner so they play as they eat
Fun with toys
You can teach your dog the names of their toys by starting with one of their favourite toys and giving it a name. Once you have a name for that toy, you just have to say it every time you pick it up and begin play with your dog. Then, using the ‘find it!’ game technique, ask your dog to find said toy and praise them for it when they bring it back. After practicing this, your dog will learn the name of that toy and you can test them by asking them to find it among their other toys.