Need Some Fun Indoor Dog Games to Play on Icky Outside Days? These Will Do The Trick
Once you master a few easy dog tricks such as sit, stay or go upstairs fetch my slippers, my iPad and make me coffee, what else is there to keep them learning?
- How to Mentally Stimulate Your Dog with fun Indoor Dog Games
- 1. Sniff Out The Hidden Treat
- 2. Stairway Race Day
- 3. Hide and Seek
- 4. A Quick Game of Tag
- 5. Iron Man Obstacle Challenge
- 6. Over, Under and Through
- 7. Clean up time!
Just like humans dogs need to receive constant exercise both mentally and physically. When the weather outside is frightful it just isn’t very much fun to take your dog for a walk.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an indoor dog park near you what kind of indoor activities can you do with your dog to keep them fit and fabulous?
You’ll find many fun dogs games online but here are seven of our favorite indoor dog games. You can play these games with your dog to keep them, and you mentally and physically sharp on those not so sunny days.
How to Mentally Stimulate Your Dog with fun Indoor Dog Games
1. Sniff Out The Hidden Treat
Dogs have great sniffers, so this “shell game” is a good challenge to keep them at the top of their sniffy game. You may not know this but a dogs’ sense of smell can actually be improved by frequent use. This game is a good one to work on scent training.
You’ll need four or five containers or small boxes to start. Set them upside down around you and secretly (without that nosey dog peeking) place his favorite toy, treat or bone under one of them.
Then encourage them to find the prize. When he finds the right one give him lots of praise and let him have the treat or play with the toy. Now that he gets the gist of the game keep going.
You can add more containers, space them out and make it more challenging the better he gets at the game.
A mentally stimulating alternative is to use food cubes. Place a treat inside one of the food cubes and encourage your dog to find the right one. As a bonus your dog gets to figure out how to get the treat out of the cube.
2. Stairway Race Day
The hidden prize game is a fun one, but unless your dog is good at finding his toy it uses treats. Since many training sessions involve treats it is good to find activities that don’t load your dog up on the snacks.
The stairway dash is a great one to get out some energy for your active dog – and you can have fun running too if you feel like a bit of exercise.
This indoor game only works if you have a stairway of course, but it is perfect for active dogs. What I like to do is run with my dog and have him chase me upstairs around the bedroom and down the stairs – 10 times of this and we’re both worn out. Well me more than him anyway.
An alternate way to play that is safer for older dogs is to have them sit at the base of the stairs. Work on your sit/stay commands until he is ready and waiting. Then throw a ball or toy up the stairs.
To make it more mentally challenging hold off on the GO command to build up some anticipation. The let him dash up the stairs after the toy or ball.
This version of the game is more gentle on their joints which is better for old and young dogs alike. In fact, dogs younger than one year old should not do this game as their joints are still developing. You don’t want to cause long term injury with a high impact game like this at a young age.
3. Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a good game to work on the “find it” command. Similar to the scent work with hidden treats, but with more running. Show your dog a favorite chew toy or object then have him stay while you hide it.
Now tell him to find it. You can give him some “good boys” as he gets closer to keep him interested. The more excited you are the more he gets into it.
Once he finds it really make a big deal out of it so he is excited to try again. The more he practices this game the better he will get at it.
I once saw a video about an amazing dog that could scent out and recognize toys by name – the owner had more than 100 toys in a pile and the dog would pick out the correct one by name every time.
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4. A Quick Game of Tag
We just wrote a fun story showing off a video of an adorable dog playing tag at the vet’s office. This is another game that is great for indoor play on a rainy summer day or snowy day winter day.
Not only does this challenge your dog physically it is a great way to work on obedience training by getting your dog to come on command. This game requires two people so grab a friend or family member and get ready for some intense tail wagging.
First one person calls the dog and gives him a little treat. If your dog is already a pro at coming when called you can skip the treat and just load them up with praise as the reward instead. Then the next person calls and rewards.
Go back and forth increasing the distance the dog must go to reach you. You can start to spread out so your dog is running all over the house to run to your voice. This can turn into a mix of hide and seek and chase to give your little pup a nice hefty workout.
These are great ideas. They work best, however, if you only have one dog – otherwise they’re competing for the same treat. Do you have any suggestions for games that you can play with two dogs? I’ve tried playing with each in a separate room, but, once they smell the treats, that’s all over!
Would be great if they played with each other, but they never have.
Anyway, wonderful post!
Thanks Abbey. Yes I can see how it would be challenging with two dogs. 🙂 You could attempt to work on your sit/stay commands with the second dog as the first runs for the treat. Difficult I know but eventually you could have them taking turns.
This is awesome! We already do some of these with our puppy too!
Hey, these are some great suggestions! I especially like the “over, under and through”. It’s simple yet effective. I’m a dog trainer and will definitely recommend this to my clients.