Indoor Games with Pets

Are you stuck at home with your furry friend? Don’t worry, you can still have fun together. As an owner of an energetic pup, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re confined inside with a canine companion used to lots of activity. But there are ways to stimulate your dog mentally and physically without going outside. I’ve come up with a few games and activities to keep you both entertained the next time you find yourselves homebound.

Hidden Treasure: Stimulate Your Dog’s Nose

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, with scent receptors that are 45 times more sensitive than humans. Tap into your pup’s super sniffer with this fun game of hide and seek.

To play, gather a few containers – boxes, baskets or bowls will work great – and place a tasty treat under one of them while your dog isn’t looking. Once the treat is hidden, encourage your dog to start sniffing around the area where you placed the containers. As they get closer to the treat, enthusiastically praise them to let them know they’re on the right track. When they locate the treat under the correct container, reward them with lots of praise, belly rubs and of course, the treat itself.

This simple game exercises your dog’s powerful nose, challenges them mentally, and reinforces their natural scavenging instincts. Vary where you hide the treat each time you play to prevent boredom. Start with larger containers placed farther apart, then progressively make the game more difficult by using smaller containers placed closer together. Keep the game short, around 5 to 10 minutes, to avoid frustration. Provide lots of positive reinforcement and treats along the way.

Other scent-based games you can try with your pup include:

• Scavenger hunt – Hide several treats around the room and have your dog sniff them out. Provide clues to help them along.

• Scent discrimination – Place different scented items in separate containers and teach your dog to identify each scent. Use treats to help them associate the correct scent with the reward.

• Tracking – Have someone walk through an area while dragging a treat or toy, then let your dog follow the scent trail. This helps build their tracking and trailing skills.

Exercising your dog’s mind and nose will tire them out just as much as physical activity. Engage your pup’s super sniffer with fun games like Hidden Treasure that tap into their natural abilities. Keeping their mind active and challenged will help fight boredom and behavioral issues when stuck inside. Most importantly, have fun while playing with your best friend!

Fill the Kong: Slow Feed Your Dog

Fill the Kong: Slow Feed Your Dog A Kong toy is one of the best ways to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated when stuck inside. Kongs are hollow rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats, kibble, peanut butter, or canned dog food. As your dog works to get the goodies out, it provides mental enrichment and extends mealtimes.

To get started, choose some of your dog’s favorite treats and a Kong-sized appropriately for them. For small dogs, use a Kong Puppy or Kong Classic. For large dogs, the Kong Extreme works well. Next, stuff the Kong with the treats and seal the end with peanut butter, canned dog food, or kibble and peanut butter. Finally, give the Kong to your dog and let them go to town.

Some suggestions for stuffing a Kong:

•Kibble and peanut butter: Fill the Kong about 1/3 full with your dog’s kibble, then seal the end with peanut butter. This takes dogs a while to get through and keeps them occupied.

•Banana and yogurt: Mash up a banana and mix in some plain yogurt or peanut butter. Spoon into the Kong and freeze for a few hours. The frozen filling will keep dogs entertained even longer.

•Canned dog food: Spoon your dog’s favorite canned dog food into a Kong. Freeze for an easy, long-lasting treat.

•Kibble, treats and broth: Combine kibble, dog treats, and low-sodium broth into a Kong. The broth helps all the pieces stick together. Freeze for a challenging treat.

The key is to start easy and gradually make the Kong more difficult as your dog gets better at emptying it. Be sure to supervise your dog with a Kong at first to ensure they don’t get frustrated. Kongs are a great way to turn mealtime into playtime and provide mental stimulation for your pup when you’re stuck at home.

Find the Toy: A Scent Game

Find the Toy: A Scent Game This fun game taps into your dog’s powerful sense of smell. Gather a few of your pup’s favorite toys and treats. Have your dog stay in one room while you hide the items around the house, making sure to place them in spots your dog can reach. Start with just one or two items at first, and increase the number as your dog improves at the game.

Once everything is hidden, bring your dog into the room and encourage them to “find the toy!” Let them sniff around, following their nose to each prize. Give lots of praise and treats when they locate an item. This mental stimulation will keep them engaged for hours. Some tips:

•Choose spots at your dog’s nose level, not too high up or in tight spaces. Make it challenging but not frustrating.

•Start with larger treats or toys with a stronger scent before moving on to smaller items. This helps them build confidence in their sniffing abilities.

•If your dog seems stuck, gently guide them to the general area of an item. Don’t give away its exact location, just point them in the right direction.

•Once your dog has found all the items, play again! Varying the locations and the items hidden will keep it interesting for your pup.

•For an extra challenge, try hiding one item while your dog watches, then hide the rest when they aren’t looking. This tests their memory in addition to their sense of smell.

•Make it a family game by having everyone hide an item for the dog to find. Whoever stumps the dog the longest wins!

This scent game provides mental and physical exercise for your dog. Best of all, it’s an interactive game you can play together to strengthen your bond and provide enrichment during long days at home. Your dog’s nose knows – give it a chance to shine!

Tug of War: An Interactive Strength Game

Tug of war is a classic game that provides mental and physical stimulation for dogs. To play, you’ll need a sturdy rope that’s an appropriate size for your dog. Hold onto one end of the rope and have your dog grab the other end with their mouth. Gently tug on the rope to encourage your dog to pull back. This back-and-forth action helps build strength and coordination.

Start with short bursts of tugging, around 30 seconds at a time. Provide lots of praise and maybe a small treat each time your dog tugs. Over multiple rounds of play, slowly increase the time. Always keep things positive and stop if your dog seems uninterested or anxious.

For small or less active dogs, keep sessions shorter to avoid overexertion. Larger, high-energy breeds can handle longer, more rigorous games. But for all dogs, limit tug of war to 2-3 short sessions per day to prevent joint strain.

Some tips to keep in mind:

• Choose a rope that’s specifically designed for playing tug of war with dogs. Regular ropes can fray and come apart, posing a choking hazard.

• Never jerk or yank on the rope, as this can injure your dog’s neck or back. Keep things gentle.

• Allow your dog to win occasionally by letting go of the rope. This makes the game more fun and rewarding for them.

• Avoid tug of war right after eating or drinking, as this can lead to digestive issues or bloat in some dogs.

• Supervise your dog closely and end the game if they start to become overly aggressive. Tug of war should remain a friendly game.

• Provide interactive dog toys for your pup to play with on their own in between games. Puzzle toys that dispense treats are ideal for keeping dogs engaged when you’re not playing.

A fun game of tug of war is a great way to release pent-up energy and strengthen the bond with your canine pal. With some basic safety precautions and by keeping play sessions short and positive, tug of war can provide mental and physical exercise for dogs of all ages.

Agility Course: An Indoor Obstacle Challenge

An indoor agility course is a great way to provide mental and physical stimulation for your dog on a rainy day. Set up a series of obstacles for your pup to navigate, using things you already have around the house. Start with some basics and build up the difficulty as your dog gets the hang of it.

To begin, gather some obstacles like chairs, laundry baskets, tunnels (you can make one with a sheet), platforms (like a table) and weave poles (use broomsticks or rolled up towels). Place the obstacles a few feet apart in a circuit. Walk your dog through the course once or twice so they understand what to do. Then, encourage your pup to run through the course at their own pace. Give lots of praise and treats when they complete it!

Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can make the course more challenging. Have your dog weave through the weave poles, then go under a chair, through the tunnel, over a platform and into a laundry basket. Increase the number of repetitions or rearrange the obstacles into a figure eight pattern. You can also add in commands like ‘over’, ‘under’ and ‘through’ as your dog navigates the course.

An agility course provides mental stimulation by training your dog and giving them obstacles to problem solve. It also provides much needed physical exercise and play when stuck inside. Start with the basics, keep training sessions short and fun, and your dog will get lots of enjoyment out of this indoor activity. Pretty soon, you’ll have your very own agility champion competing on an obstacle course right in your own living room!


You’ve got some entertaining indoor activities to keep your faithful companion occupied now. So don’t let being stuck inside get you down. Make the most of your time together and bond over some fun games. Your dog will surely appreciate the extra stimulation and quality time with their favorite human. And who knows, you might even discover a hidden talent or two you never knew your pup possessed. The next time the weather confines you inside, grab some treats or toys and get playing. Your dog will thank you for it.


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