Indoor dog games are a great way to keep your pup mentally stimulated, physically active and happy in the winter.
Not all dogs love the winter. It's cold, icy and can be challenging to walk in. It's so important to keep our dogs mentally and physically active especially in the wintertime when they're stuck inside. Fortunately, there are many creative indoor dog games to try next time a snow storm rolls in.
When dogs don't get the exercise they need, they can become destructive and suffer from boredom. My dachshund loathes the winter. During the spring, summer and fall months, he is up for all outdoor activities. Hiking, running, long walks. He loves it. When the first snow falls, he hunkers down under a blanket and becomes a permanent “indoor dog.” When he spends the majority of the day inside, he gets bored and restless. If I'm not careful, his happiness level goes down. Playing games with him really helps stimulate his brain and his legs. Here are 8 fun indoor dog games to play.
READ: Exercising With Your Dog 101 by Pet MD.
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1. Monkey In the Middle
Monkey in the middle is a simple game that will help your dog burn energy. Grab your dog's favorite toy and toss it back and forth between you and your partner, while your pup stands in the middle. Your dog will have fun running between the two of you trying to catch the toy. Every once in awhile, let your dog capture the toy to avoid discouragement. For an added challenge, place a small hurdle between you and your partner so that your dog jumps over the obstacle while running back and forth.
2. Hide and Seek
This is one of the best indoor dog games to play. Hide and Seek is just as fun for me as it is my dachshund. It's the perfect indoor activity because it exercises your dog's body and mind while strengthening the bond between the two of you. First, tell your dog to “sit” and “stay.” Run away and quickly hide somewhere easy like behind a chair or sofa. You can have someone hold your dog while you hide in the beginning until they are able to stay on their own. Next, call your dog's name or give a command like “OK!” Once your dog finds you, celebrate your dog's accomplishment by giving them praise, a delightful head scratch or some yummy treats. Increase the difficulty of your hiding spot over time. Natural instincts will kick in, and he will begin using his nose to find you. The challenge for you will be trying to refrain from laughing when your dog catches your scent!
Variations of the game:
Hide and Seek is a terrific game for the entire family. If you have kids, they can hide throughout the house while your dog finds them. I have played this with my nieces and nephews, and they love it!
You can also play this game with your dog's favorite toys. Tell your pup to sit and stay while holding the toy in your hand. Then hide it somewhere easy at first. For example, put the toy between the couch cushions with half of it sticking out.
Check out this adorable video of three German Shepherds looking for their mom!
3. Automatic Toys
Automatic ball launchers, like the iFetch are great ways to keep your dog entertained indoors. Your dog drops the ball into the top of the iFetch. The ball is launched out of the machine for your dog to excitedly chase and collect! You can adjust the distance settings between 10, 20 and 30 feet to best suit your space. It's a fun twist on the game of fetch!
4. Tug of War
I love this game because it burns energy and also cleans your dog's teeth. Use a rope toy and tug back and forth while your dog pulls the other end. The rope will actually brush their teeth and massage their gums removing plaque and tartar build-up. You can even put a little doggy toothpaste on the rope for an extra cleaning! Make sure that your dog understands the “drop it” command. If your dog starts mouthing you or shows any signs of aggression, stop the game and review the “drop it” and “leave it” command.
Related Post: The Easiest Way To Clean Your Dog's Teeth
5. Teach your dog a new trick
Teaching your dog a new trick is a great activity to do together. It stimulates their mind, and they get to learn with their favorite person in the world, you! Here is a video of my dachshund, Rocket practicing his tricks.
Related post: Why Dog's Can Help You Live A Better Life
6. Dog puzzles
Dog puzzles are great for the mind and will keep your dog entertained for a long time.
Amazingly fun puzzles:
1. Hide a Squirrel : Your dog will be obsessed with pulling the squirrels out, running around, chewing, and fetch.2. Hide N' Slide Treat Dispensing Toy : This will give your dog's brain a workout! Simply hide treats in the multiple movable compartments and watch your dog turn into Nancy Drew to solve the puzzle.
3. Interactive Treat Dispenser : For your tenacious chewers. Fill with dog food kibble, apple slices, peanut butter, jerky strips, etc.
4. Dog Activity Mat : Your.Dog.Will.Love.This.Thing. This Dog Activity Mat is one of my favs! The mat is a great way for dogs to use their brains during the cold months. Just hide some kibble or treats in the puzzle pockets and watch your pup “hunt” for their food! This mat is also perfect for dogs that gobble down their meals. Bye-Bye boredom!
- Take an old tennis ball and cut it at the seam. Insert treats and give it to your dog. When the tennis ball starts to fall apart, be sure to replace it, so your dog doesn't ingest any pieces.
*Be sure to supervise your dog to prevent accidental ingestion and use healthy treats like cut up carrots.
7. Have a doggy play date
If it's too cold to play outside, then bring the party indoors! Have your dog's favorite pals come over for some good old fashioned playtime. Have extra water and healthy treats on hand.
8. Three Cups
This is a great game to work their nose. Place three cups upside down in a row on the floor. Let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of the cups. Give her the OK and let her pick which cup the treat is under. When she chooses correctly, give lots of praise and a treat. Increase the difficulty by shuffling the cups around after placing the treat.