With so many pet parents still dealing with some form of quarantine and social distancing, it’s quite understandable if your furry friends are getting a bit restless indoors. While you may have to make fewer trips to the park or play outside, there are still tons of indoor dog activities you can do to keep them happy and well-exercised.
Just because you're stuck inside doesn't mean you have to give up your playtime with your four-legged family members. It might take a bit of thinking and creativity, but there are many fun things to do when you can’t take your dog outside – they will actually help you bond with your pup and make sure they don't go stir-crazy.
So, to stop your dog getting bored and restless, here are some exciting things to do with your dog that will stimulate their mind and even give both of you a bit of exercise!
Try a game of tug-of-war
You only need a little bit of free space in your home to enjoy a game of tug-of-war indoors. Just keep away any breakable items in the area, and use a tug toy, some tough rope, or even your old socks to enjoy a fun game with your doggo and help them get rid of some excess energy! (Make sure that they have been trained to understand a basic release command before you start)
Play hide-and-seek with treats
Why not try out a dog friendly version of hide-and-seek? While your pup may not get the rules of the original game, you can play a modified version. Instead of asking your furry friend to hide (or hiding yourself), you can hide his or her favourite toy or favourite treats. It’s one of the easiest things to teach your dog. Start out with some easy hiding spots and as your dog gets the idea of the game, you can start hiding the toys or treats in more difficult places and set your dog off on a tail wagging adventure!
Have a game of indoor fetch
Fetch doesn’t have to only be an outdoor game! You can usually play it indoors with small and medium-sized dogs, but if the furry member of your family is large, this can be harder. For these dogs, you can throw toys or balls up and down the staircase for them to retrieve and return to you, or along any long hallways in your home or apartment building. You can even set up games with your neighbours to pay in the corridors or in the basement.
Just remember to remove any breakable items, try to opt for a carpeted or another grippy surface so your dog does not slip or slide, and always use a ball that is soft enough to throw around indoors!
Plan a doggie play date
If you think that your furry friend wants some doggy companions rather than human ones, why not set up a puppy-playdate? If your dog has any friends from neighbourhood walks or from a dog park, call them over (along with their humans of course). Otherwise, you can try to contact any other pet parents you know and set up a meeting.
If the dogs don’t already know each other, it’s best to meet outside in a garden or a park for the first time just in case they get really boisterous or you end up having to break up any fights.
Set up a temporary obstacle course
Some of you pet parents have limited space, but if you still want to look for things to do with your dog at home where they get a whole lot of exercise, don’t worry. Well, why not try to set up a small obstacle course for them? Use household items, like furniture, pillows, cardboard boxes, and blankets to create tunnels, jumps, and even mini forts for your dog to explore.
You might have to train them with treats, or even block off other easier access points so they know exactly how to use it, but once they get it will be whole load of fun for both them and you.
Try out some interactive food puzzles and games
Dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need physical exercise. One of the easiest ways you can give them this is to find or make up some interactive food puzzles. These puzzles are basically toys that involve hidden treats that require some trick which your dog needs to figure out to get to the food. They can keep your pup entertained for hours, and also reward their natural drive to hunt and work for their food.
Use online classes to brush up on your training
When you are stuck indoors, it is the perfect time to run through some training sessions. You might want to work on a few basic commands or some more advanced ones if your dog knows already knows the basic commands well. In case you’re not sure about how to go about this, there are hundreds of online videos that you can use to help you teach them new tricks or commands. Who knows, you might even get your furry baby to actually learn to pick up their own toys!
Play some dress up (even if it is not Halloween!)
Lots of pet parents dress up their dogs in the cutest outfits for Halloween, which you have surely already seen on your social media! But why wait for an occasion? You can find all kinds of amazing doggy accessories, clothes, costumes, and much more online so you can very easily transform your dog into a dog-dragon in seconds!
And of course, once you have put on the costume you must take a million photos of you and your pup in your special outfits!
Create a quiet space for them
If you spend a lot of time at home, or even if you just have a big family, it might be a good idea to set aside a small space just for your furry friend. Like all of us, even dogs need a place to relax and decompress. You can just gather some blankets, a doggy-bed and some favourite toys and place them all in a quiet spot (but one where they can still see you). Whenever your dog goes to that area, give them some space, so that they can have some time to themselves if they want.
Watch a fun movie on Netflix
Ok, so maybe this one is more for you than for your doggo, but there ARE a lot of movies and TV shows designed especially for dogs. Even if you can’t find them, many dogs are very interested by the images and sounds that come from the screen. And snuggling up with your furry friend on the sofa is the perfect way to relax and spend a bit of quality time together while you catch up with your favourite shows. Just keep a chew toy or some treats nearby in case they get a bit distracted!
Coming up with more and more ways to keep both you and your dog entertained can be a very difficult challenge. Now that you know that you’re not the only one who gets bored when you’re stuck indoors, you can try some of these fun dog activities to keep both you can your beloved dog busy and active. Once you find out which ones work best for your furry baby, then you can keep repeating those and make sure that being indoors doesn’t have to be dull!
Whether you choose to play some games to teach your pup some new tricks, keeping busy and active can have a big impact on their overall health and well-being. All you need is a little bit of time and dedication and you can have a blast going through all the fun things to do on this list.