Indoor Games to Play with Your Dog

Rain rain go away!

Indoor Games to Play with Your Dog

On rainy days, it is a bit dangerous to take your dog outside for a walk or play so you figure out certain indoor games to keep your dog active! The only problem with this games are that while these are entertaining, they are also food-based and don’t require a whole lot of movement from your dog.

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Hide and go seek

If your dog knows that “find it” or a similar command means to go look for something hidden, then hide and go seek is a great indoor game to have fun with that command. To play, just show your dog what it is you’re going to hide — like his favorite toy, or even a person! — and then put him somewhere he can’t see you. Hide the item, then go get your dog and tell him to find it. Give him vocal clues if he needs help, like “gooooood” when she gets closer or “uh ooohhh” when he gets farther afield. Give hints if needed, by pointing or walking toward the hiding place, until your dog really has a grasp of what this game is all about. When he finds the hidden object, make a really big deal out of how brilliant he is. Make the praise worth all the effort he put into tracking down that object. Eventually, he’ll catch on to what the game is about and get faster and faster about looking and finding and these games involve physical movement for the dog.

Under, over and through

Training your dog to perform new tricks like high-fives or lying down is great mental exercise. However, training them to do tricks that require physical skill exercises both mind and body, making teaching certain tricks perfect for pooping out the pooch when inside on a rainy day. One of the things you can do with your dog to get started is training him to go under, over and through objects. Set up an item like a kitchen chair, a step stool, or some other sturdy object on legs. Next, teach your dog how to crawl under the object and stay there, crawl all the way through the object, walk around the object, and how to jump over it entirely.

Stairway dash

If you have a stairway, make it a game to run up it and burn some serious energy. To get the most exercise from this game with the least risk to your dog’s joints, start at the bottom of the stairs. Put your dog in a sit-stay and throw the toy up to the top landing. Make it more exciting by keeping your dog in a stay while creating a buildup, such as saying “Reeeady…. ready….. GO!” and let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as he can to retrieve the toy. Let your dog come back down the stairs at his own pace, encouraging a slower return since it’s the downhill climb that risks injury. After 10 or so repetitions of this, most dogs will be totally tuckered out.

Tag you’re it

You’ll need a partner for this. Each of you gets a pocket full of treats. Start across the room from one another. One person calls the dog and rewards him with a treat, then the next person calls and rewards. Get farther back so that soon you’re calling from different rooms, and then from all the way across the house or apartment. The more your dog runs around the house, the better! Since we’re trying to maximize exercise and minimize food intake, once the game is going and your dog is excited, only treat every other or every third recall and use loads and loads of praise and excitement or a tug toy as a reward the rest of the time.

Puzzle & Interactive Dog Toys

There are so many interactive dog toys available – there are toys to chase, toys to chew and puzzles to figure out. If your dog likes to chase you can make your own chase toy by attaching a toy to the end of a rope and tying it onto a stick you can wave around for your dog to chase. If you’re going to make a chase toy try using a bungee as the rope so it’ll be easier on your dog’s neck when they do catch it. You can also make your own puzzle toy with a muffin tin, some tennis balls and a few treats. Place the treats in the tin & cover them up with the tennis balls and you’ve got yourself a DIY dog puzzle.

The Three Cup Game

Another great nose work starter game. Get out 3 cups and line them up in a row in front of your dog. To start put a treat under one of the cups while your dog is watching, give him the OK to show you which one is the right cup. When he chooses correctly praise him & let him have the treat. Once your dog seems to get the hang of it you can make it more challenging by mixing the cups around after you place the treat.

Updated: September 21, 2017.

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