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Dogs in a Lords & Labrador dog bed
  • Writer's pictureSmart Bark

Best Indoor Dog Games to Keep Your Pup Entertained

Updated: Mar 8

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If bad weather means you’re stuck indoors and need some inspiration for fun ways to exercise your dog both mentally and physically then look no further.

Incorporate some of our dog games into your everyday life and enjoy the benefits they can bring to both you and your dog.

Dog playing indoor dog game

Dog games are great for strengthening your relationship which in turn decreases your stress levels and amazingly your dogs too. Learning new commands and games keeps their canine minds active as they channel their boundless enthusiasm.

Lastly, if you can involve the whole family, it can provide a really positive experience for children as they learn to be the teacher and not the student.

So take it slowly, keep it as simple as possible to start with and only build in more difficulty when you are sure your dog is ready (always set them up to win). Trust us, your dog will thank you for it.

Here are our suggestions for 5 great games to play with your dog indoors and the healthiest treats on the UK market to reward them.


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Our Picks of the Best Indoor Dog Games

1. Dog Treat Scatter Games

Treat Scatters are a simple yet unique dog game to play indoors as a way of keeping your dog moving and interested plus it’s also great fun for the whole family.

It can make a bit of mess, but it’s easily cleaned up.

puppy playing scattered dog treat game

The aim of treat scattering is to spread your dog’s kibble or favourite treats on the floor, which effectively makes your pooch move and pick up each piece individually.

Treat scatters are also a great calming tool which can also help distract your dog from becoming anxious about fireworks or noises outside.

Start by rolling the dry food to catch your dog’s attention and progress to leaving small handfuls of food placed around the room that will challenge them to sniff out.

Treat scatter games are an excellent way to encourage a fussy dog to eat their food.

2. Dog Scavenger Hunt

If your dog enjoys treat scatters, then they’ll love a scavenger hunt dog game. These hunts can give your pup the opportunity to exercise their nose and sense of smell while indoors.

dog scavenger hunt indoor game

Begin simply by hiding the dog treats in relatively easy-to-find places in one room only. This will help your dog feel confident with the aim of the game before you start ramping up the difficulty level.

You’ll be able to keep him busy for hours searching for the treats you’ve skillfully hidden around the house.

3. Dog Hide and Seek Game

Building effectively on the scent work in a Scavenger Hunt is a simple game of Hide and Seek. The concept builds in more movement whilst moving away from using food to incorporating a favourite toy.

Hide and Seek is also a great opportunity to practise the “Find” command with your dog.

dog playing an indoor hide and seek dog game

Show your dog a favourite toy then command him to "Stay" while you hide it in a different room. When you return, tell him to "Find".

If you are still working on the "Stay" command, it might help to include two people, one to hold and command your dog and one to hide the toy.

Once the toy is found, give loads of praise so your four-legged friend is excited to try again.

To keep it simple, start with placing the toy on the floor where it is visually obvious when he enters the room, build up the difficulty by leaving the toy partially revealed to finally hidden completely. This moves it from a sight game to a scent game.

If your dog is having some trouble finding the object try moving towards the hiding place.

You can even 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 is even more interesting if the whole family play. It's great fun, and gives your dog plenty of exercise.

4. The Shell Game

Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell, so the shell game is an excellent challenge to keep them at the top of their game. Their sense of smell can actually be improved by frequent use, so this game is a good one to work on scent training with your dog.

Dog playing the shell game

You’ll need three containers big enough to hide a favourite toy or treat underneath.

Plastic plant pots are ideal for this as they’re easy for your dog to tip over. If you are using treats, then paper cups should be large enough.

Place your chosen containers on a large piece of material or play on a carpet otherwise you may find your pooch sliding the container around the kitchen in circles!

Set the containers upside down in a row and secretly place a favourite toy or treat under one of them.

Then encourage your dog to sniff out the prize. You can use the command “Find” for this. When they find the right one give him lots of praise and/or let them have the treat.

You can increase the challenge by adding more containers or spacing them out. This is an excellent dog training game which you can make as simple or as difficult as you wish.

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Looking for some healthy treats to use whilst playing and training ? We sniff out the best puppy training treats and the best dog treats on the UK market for 2024.

5. Puzzle Toys for Dogs

Puzzle games and treat dispensing toys make your four-legged friend work for snacks keeping them thinking, scheming, and moving all the while. 

Dog playing a Nina Ottosson puzzle toy

If you interested in adding a puzzle toy to your collection, take a look at our Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs review which features a range of puzzle toys from easy to difficult so you can start at the correct level.

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Best Dog Toys 2024 - We explore a whole collection of dog toys from chew toys to keep them occupied, to interactive toys you can use to spend quality time with your dog and help you strengthen your bond.

Regardless of their temperament, size and preference you should find something from our carefully curated selection to suit your four-legged friend.

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Exercising the body and the mind is a great way to keep your dog both fit and mentally stimulated when it’s difficult to go outdoors. These dog games are also great fun for the whole family, alleviate boredom and stress and will strengthen your bond with your much loved four-legged friend.

If you'd like more top tips, check out this article from Global Dog Food Company - Purina - How to Play with Your Dog: Top Tips & Benefits

Thanks for dropping by and reading our article on the Best Dog Games to Play Indoors


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