Best Dog Games to Play Indoors
Updated: May 6
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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 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.
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.
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 training tool which can 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.
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.
Begin simply by hiding the 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 it” command with your dog.
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" it. It 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 a 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.
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.
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.
If you interested in adding a puzzle toy to your collection, take a look at our TOP 10 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.
The introduction of some tasty treats for reward-based training can work wonders for toilet training your puppy. We scoured the market to find the Top 5 Puppy Training Treats to help keep your puppy healthy whilst allowing you to focus on reward-based training.
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.