With the recently introduced quarantine and social distancing, people are adapting their habits to the new rules. Responsible pet parents are reducing their dogs’ exercise to short walks, leaving their furry kids without many fun street and park activities that keep pups happy.
Quarantine is not the only thing that can keep you indoors. The cold season can be challenging both for dogs and their parents. In areas where temperatures get very low, it’s ill-advised to take a dog out for long walks, and consistent exercising becomes a rare occurrence.
From time to time, you may simply get sick and have no one else to give your pup a long walk full of energetic outdoor exercise. In all these cases, knowing how to entertain a dog at home and what games to play indoors can be crucial to keep your pooch fit and happy.
We came up with some great indoor dog activities that will help your pup stay healthy and entertained and give him some mental stimulation.
How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day
The short answer is 30 to 60 minutes on average. However, the daily exercise amount may vary significantly depending on a dog’s breed, age, and health condition.
For some “lazy” breeds, like French Bulldogs and Bullmastiffs, a 30-minute slow walk will be enough, whereas other more active dogs, like Dalmatians, might need more than an hour of intense exercise every day. However, even the laziest dog needs some physical activity, so aim to exercise your furry baby at least half an hour every day.
Also, be aware of the training peculiarities of your pup’s breed. Some dogs, like huskies, are natural “marathon runners” and can take longer exercise sessions, while others, like Jack Russell terriers, are “sprinters”, so their training should be intensive rather than long and monotonous.
Puppies are usually way more energetic than adult dogs of the same breed. However, as their bodies are still growing and developing, several short (but active!) games would be better than one long exercise.
Adult dogs can exercise longer and harder, just be mindful of any medical conditions they have, and consult with a vet in advance. Senior dogs tend to have weaker joints and get tired faster, so you might want to slow the pace of your dog’s activities.
Active Indoor Games and Exercises to Tire out Your Dog
A good tiring indoor dog exercise is an essential daily routine for pet parents who want to prevent such health issues as dog depression, obesity, muscle loss, heart conditions, diabetes, and many others.
Run your dog up and down the stairs
In homes with big flights of stairs, running up and down can be a great exercise for your dog. However, it’s not recommended if your dog is old or has health issues, especially the ones related to joints.
Look at this pup trying stairs for the first time - indoor training can be so much fun!
Set up obstacle courses
In rooms that are spacious enough you can easily set obstacle courses for your dog. Jumping over chairs, going under tables, circling around pillars – most things you see on dog shows can be replicated at home.
This video shows how to set up an entertaining indoor obstacle course for dogs:
Hide & seek with treats
It is a great indoor exercise for dogs that trains both the body of your pooch, as well as their nose. Stash treats in hidden places in your home and teach your dog to find them. You can change the hiding places each day to keep the game interesting.
Can your pooch find all the treats you’ve hidden?
Hide & seek together
Play hide and seek together with your dog. Tell your dog to sit in a room and go hide. Then call your dog and let them find you. The game can be even more exciting with several people. Of course, the goal here isn’t winning, but to have fun with your dog and keep them active.
Sometimes it’s hard to guess who is enjoying indoor games more: dogs or their parents?
Keep away is a game that you can easily play at home if you have some space. You’ll need someone else to play with you and your dog. Just take any small item you can easily put in your hand, throw it to each other and let the dog have fun trying to get it.
Good news for a multi-pet family: two or more dogs can play it without humans just as fine!
With a long corridor or a spacious living room, you can also play fetch at home. Just throw an object and let your pup bring it back to you. Although we think it’s a great indoor dog exercise, don’t overestimate the size of your house!
This pet mom definitely knows how to tire out a dog. Do you?
Tug of war
Tug of war is another fun game and can be a great indoor exercise for your dog. However, remember that tug of war can make your dog overly competitive and can lead to aggressive behavior in some breeds. Remember to lighten the mood when your pup gets too invested in the game.
Two and more dogs don’t even need a human to play it!
If your puppy is small enough and you have a relatively sizable bath or pool – swimming can be another great indoor training for your dog. Just be careful not to instill a fear of water in your pet.
If these tiny pups can do, yours can too:
Dog Brain Games and Mental Exercises
Some indoor activities are meant to mentally stimulate your dogs rather than tire them out. Depending on the dog’s intelligence, some perform in brain exercises better than the others. Here are some entertaining games to play with a dog at home to make sure your pup’s brain is busy.
Which Hand game
Which Hand is a great brain training for dogs. Put a treat in your hand, close your fists and show both hands to your pooch. Let the dog choose which hand the treat is in by sniffing the fists. If your pup chose the correct hand, reward it with the treat. If didn’t - give it one more try.
Check this video for some inspiration:
This is one of the coolest mind games for dogs that will train your pups attention and problem-solving skills. Take several cups or bowls, let your dog watch you putting a treat under one of them, then shuffle them thoroughly and let your pup find the right treat place. The reward is well-deserved!
This pup looks pretty entertained playing indoors:
Teach your dog essential commands
Essential commands training is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog when you’re stuck at home. Check out these training tips for beginners. As Petcube supports positive reinforcement in dog training, we also recommend you to read how to discipline a dog without punishment.
Give your dog a job
If you’ve trained your dog obedience, as well as the names of some household objects, you can give your pooch chores. You can teach them to gather clothes from the floor and the furniture and to take them to the dirty clothes basket. You can even teach your dog to bring you things.
Teach Your Dog to Put the Toys Down
Dog games are fun but tidying up the place after them can take much time. When you are staying indoors and working from home, keeping your house clean is key to good mood and productivity. Teach your dog to put the toys away after the playtime is over. It’s a win-win exercise: gives your pup some mental stimulation, and keeps your house clean.
Toys and Equipment to Keep Your Dog Entertained
If you run out of ideas on how to entertain your dog with the stuff you have at home, you might want to check some dog exercise equipment. There are also plenty of toys that keep dogs busy!
Dogs can use the treadmill, preferably those designed specifically for pets. They need a bit of training, however – first get your dog used to a dog treadmill when it’s turned off. Then, turn it on at a slow pace. Don’t leash your dog when exercising – just keep an eye on them and give them treats from the front end of the treadmill.
This looks like a great workout:
Although laser games are usually viewed as a cat thing, many dogs actually find them pretty entertaining. There are plenty of different laser toys, including the ones which allow you to play with your pet from afar.
Puzzle games for dogs are quite entertaining as dogs become very active when faced with a mental challenge. The pet market offers you a great variety of dog puzzles and games, so you can buy several toys and change them every couple of days.
Chew toys or chew bones
Treat dispensing toys
Unlike regular brain teasers and puzzles for dogs, treat dispensing toys use the best motivation: tasty food. These toys usually dispense treats when your pup interacts with it. If your pooch becomes a fan of dispensers, try treat dispensing cameras to toss some tasty things to your pup remotely.
Socialize your dog indoors
Meeting furry friends and beloved humans can be another way to keep your dog entertained and socialized.
Take a car ride to another indoors place
Being indoors doesn’t mean that you can’t go to another person’s house - unless it’s a quarantine, of course. In other cases, if your dog has friends that they like to play with in the park, you can go visit them or invite them to your place. This is great for socializing dogs and for letting them play together.
Go to a local indoor pet center
Again, not for quarantine. If it’s the weather keeping you indoors, you can take your dog to a local indoor pet center. Such places offer great exercises for dogs and are perfect for socialization as well.
Let your friends and family play with your dog online
Some mobile apps will allow you to play with someone’s pup from away. It works vice versa too! Social distancing friendly.
Dogs are not the only creatures who get bored indoors. Keep yourself entertained with these free courses and books and learn more about your furry kid.