We all know that our furry friends need lots of exercise each day, but it’s not always easy to help them achieve enough. In fact, most dogs need at least 30 minutes of physical and mental stimulation each day to ensure they are happy and healthy.
I’m sure you will agree with me that there are days when you just can’t leave the house for whatever reason and don’t know what to do to exercise your doggo.
We all struggle with this problem from time to time, so with that in mind, I’ve put together this helpful list of indoor dog activities to give you some inspiration.
Why You Might Want To Exercise Your Dog Indoors
Let’s face it, it’s not always possible to exercise your dog outside in the fresh air. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons why you might want to exercise your dog inside.
It’s raining or snowing outside
If you live someplace with pretty cold or pretty miserable weather, or if it’s Winter, you can’t always assume that you’ll be able to venture outside when you feel like it.
You might have to dig the car out from under a mountain of snow or put on all of your rain gear just to go to work or to the store.
With this in mind, it can be a huge relief to learn that you don’t have to go outside to exercise your dog.
It’s too hot outside
On the other side of this, in some cases, it can be just too hot to bring your dog outside. Have you ever placed your hand on the pavement or the tarmac on hot days? Remember how hot it was?
Well, think about having to walk on it in your bare feet. That’s basically what our dogs are doing.
Dogs can suffer from extremes of heat just like we can so it’s important to understand when it’s best to stay inside rather than venture out.
You can’t leave the house
Let’s face it, in the current state of things, we can’t get outside nearly as much as we would like.
Depending on where you live, you might only be allowed outside to exercise during certain times of the day, or you might not be allowed to leave your home at all.
Given these extraordinary times we find ourselves in, it can be difficult to find order and routine in our days.
Finding some fun and engaging ways to play with your dog inside can go a long way to making your days feel slightly more normal.
What Are The Benefits Of Exercising A Dog Indoors?
Exercising your dog indoors might seem like a cop-out or you might think that outdoor exercise can’t be replaced. There is some truth to this I’ll admit. A run along the beach or a stroll through the park isn’t the same as playing fetch indoors.
With that being said, I would argue it’s certainly better than no exercise. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation each day tend to become bored which is the fast track to destructive behavior.
For the reasons we mentioned above, it’s not always possible to exercise outside so it certainly helps to have a backup plan to give you peace of mind.
To further add to this, here is a list of just some of the benefits of exercising your dog indoors:
- Any form of exercise or play will encourage bonding between you and your dog.
- Exercise, no matter what form it takes, is essential for a physically healthy dog; and owner too.
- Indoor play can encourage everyone in the household to take part, creating a fun environment.
- Exercise and play also encourage mental stimulation which is another key pillar to having an overall healthy dog.
Indoor Dog Activities
So now that we’ve talked about the benefits of exercising your dog indoors, let’s dive right into the best part.
1 Playing With A Kong
Kong toys are excellent for play and exercise for your dog.
They are super durable and chewy which your dog can spend endless hours playing with.
What’s more, you can fill the insides of the Kong with delicious treats or even peanut butter that will encourage play for even longer.
It’s important to get the correct size of Kong for your dog to ensure they can safely interact with it.
As your puppy grows, the size of the Kong should grow with them.
The Kong website even has a helpful size chart to reference which you can find here: Kong Size Guide.
Another great aspect of these toys is they are dishwasher safe so you can easily keep them clean: How to Clean a Kong.
2 A Game Of Tug Of War
Playing tug of war with your dog can be a great source of exercise for both you and your dog.
Combining tug of war with fetch can add to the experience and provide much more exercise.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to understand just how to train your dog to play a game of tug of war. If you don’t do it correctly, every sock or shoe or TV remote your dog finds is fair game to tug on.
There are plenty of guides and tutorials for showing you how to do this but here is a really great video I found that steps through it very well:
3 Playing Fetch
I’ve mentioned it before many times on this blog, but teaching your dog to play fetch is the best way to get your dog running around without tiring you out.
With just a little initial investment into training your dog to play fetch, the rewards are totally worth it.
What’s more, you can play fetch with any toy, from a tennis ball to a tug rope or whatever toy your dog can retrieve.
As with tug of war, there are plenty of guides to show you how to teach your dog to play fetch, but this one for me is excellent.
4 Practicing Obedience Training
A quiet and clear space can be an excellent setting to practice obedience training with your dog. Indoor spaces when set up correctly can prove to be less of a distraction for your dog and therefore an optimal place to work on your training.
By regularly practicing things like sit, stay and come when called, you’ll reap the rewards later when you do venture outside and your dog responds to these commands without hesitation.
5 Teaching Your Dog To Retrieve Their Toys
This can be a fun party trick I’ll admit but it’s very rewarding nonetheless.
By assigning a keyword to each of your dog’s toys, you can teach them to retrieve them on command; with enough patience of course.
If you have nicknames for toys simply use those and your dog will quickly pick up what they refer to.
The first time our Bichon Scully retrieved the tennis ball when I said “Get your ball”, I was nearly floored. Of course, now her first reaction to most things I say to her is to get the tennis ball. She gets it right sometimes at least. I should probably work on that a little bit more.
6 Playing With Puzzle Toys
Specially designed puzzle toys are a super engaging way to mentally stimulate your dog.
These toys can take a variety of shapes and styles so there is a lot to choose from.
In fact, we’ve already talked about probably the most well-known puzzle toy, the Kong. Yet another reason why you should consider adding this to your dog’s toy box.
Most of these types of puzzle toys often feature some sort of reward or treat dispenser when interacting with them, which is likely why dogs love playing with them so much.
Based on my review of some of the best selling puzzle toys on Amazon, here are a few notable toys worth looking at:
7 Trying Out A Ball Launcher
I was skeptical about this idea at first, at least until we actually bought a ball launcher and trained Scully to use it herself.
A ball launcher like the iFetch can be a different experience from simply throwing the ball yourself. At least, that’s how I’m justifying the purchase.
By teaching your dog to pop the tennis ball into the machine and have it deploy the tennis ball, your dog will find this totally amazing. This is all great mental stimulation for your dog.
If you are curious about what a ball launcher exactly entails, I wrote a review on my thoughts after buying the iFetch ball launcher a little while back. You can check that out here:
8 Indoor Dog Park
Such things as indoor dog parks actually do exist which boggles my mind. This can offer you a chance to exercise your dog with other dogs all the while remaining indoors.
During the before times of this whole global pandemic, this would have been an excellent place to visit. Hopefully, in time, we’ll be allowed to do so again.
9 Scheduling A Play Date
Playing with other dogs is simply the best mental stimulation your dog can have.
They learn how to interact and socialize with other dogs which helps to develop their social skills. All the while they are engaging in tons of physical exercise.
Again, this is another thing that we can only dream of right now but hopefully, not too long from now, this is something we can start to do again.
I hope you enjoyed this list of 9 best indoor dog activities. Let’s summarize everything before we finish:
- First, we looked at some reasons why you might want to exercise your dog indoors.
- Next, we talked about the benefits of exercising your dog indoors.
- After that, we reviewed the 9 best indoor dog activities which are:
- Playing with a Kong
- A game of tug of war
- Playing fetch
- Practicing obedience training
- Teaching your dog to retrieve their toys
- Playing with puzzle toys
- Trying out a ball launcher
- Going to an indoor dog park
- Scheduling a play date
I really hope you found this information helpful. If you enjoyed this article and found some value in it, I’d really appreciate it if you would share this on social media. It will help others to find this information and would also help me out.
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