Best Indoor Dog Games

Best Indoor Dog Games

Author WDF Staff


Being a dog owner is one of life’s great joys, and our dogs are responsible for some of the best memories we have. Naturally, we want to provide our dogs with proper living conditions, care, grooming, schedule, and of course, playing sessions.

Different breeds might require different activities. If you have a small inactive dog, they will probably have different exercise requirements than a large, active breed capable of running around the whole day.

Providing our dogs with healthy games and play-time is very important for several reasons. Mental games help develop their brain and keep your dog well-behaved. It prevents them from developing behavioral problems. It is also an excellent way for you and your dog to bond. Physical activity like playing fetch helps your dog get rid of built-up energy, and it is a healthy outlet for your dog.

Here is the list of our favorite activities that will keep your dog happy and busy.

1. Hide and seek

Does your dog know how to stay? If so, it'll make this game much easier if he doesn't get a human helper to keep him sit still while you hide. This is one of the favorite indoor games by far, and there's something so awesome about how simple it is.

golden doodle on a beach

2. Tug of war

Played correctly, "tug of war" is an excellent way for our dogs to get in a lot of meaningful play and exercise. Before you start, make sure your dog understands a "drop it" or "leave it" command. If your dog gets extra rowdy or starts mouthing you, it's time to stop the game. And contrary to popular belief, you can let your dog win; there’s no evidence that it promotes dominance; studies have shown that allowing your dog to win shows that you're entertaining to be around and makes them want to play even more.

black puppy with a toy

3. Shell game

The shell game is a simple problem-solving game for dogs. To play the shell game with your dog, let your dog watch as you place a treat under one of three cups. You then shuffle the cups around and encourage them to “find the treat.” The shell game gives your dog plenty of mental stimulation and helps them work on their problem-solving skills.

4. Food games

One of the easiest ways to challenge your dog’s mind is by making them work for their meals. You can make your dog perform some tricks before he gets his dinner, or you can have them eat from a food-dispensing toy.

5. New trick

Does your dog know how to weave through your legs or jump through a hoop? There’s always a new trick you can teach your dog, and trust us when we say; teaching your dog how to weave through your legs is a lot easier than it sounds. Does your dog already know a bunch of tricks? One of the best things about trick training is that there’s always room to improvise and make it more challenging.

6. Learning the names of toys

According to studies, our dogs have roughly the same intelligence as a 2-year-old child, with the capability of learning over 200 words. We can put some of those brains to good use by teaching them the names of their toys. Start with one specific toy and start using a name for it; dogs tend to put a “value” on their toys, and by repeating the name while playing with it, they'll start to pick up on the name you're using. After practicing with a few different toys, you can then set them out and have your dog “go get their red ball.” Some of the smartest dog breeds can learn up to 1.000 names.

puppy with toys

7. Puzzle and interactive dog toys

There are so many interactive dog toys available - there are toys to chase, toys to chew, and puzzles to figure out. If your dog likes to chase you can make your chase toy by attaching a toy to the end of a rope and tying it onto a stick you can wave around for your dog to chase. If you're going to make a chase toy, try using a bungee as the rope so it'll be easier on your dog's neck when they do catch it. You can also make your puzzle toy with a muffin tin, some tennis balls, and a few treats. Place the treats in the tin & cover them up with the tennis balls, and you've got yourself a DIY dog puzzle.

black shepherd with a ball

8. Clicker training

One of our favorite tips when it comes to dog training is using a clicker. It’s a little box with a lever that makes a noise when you press down on it, and it’s used to mark the exact moment your dog performs the desired behavior. We love using one because it’s an easy way to make sure you are letting your dog know precisely when doing the right thing. Training and socialization should play a huge part in all dog’s lives. You can read more about clicker training here - Getting started with clicker training

9. Fetch

Fetch is a classic game most dogs love, especially Retriever and hunting breeds. Fetch is an easy game that requires a lot of space for you and your dog. The aim of the game is to throw your dog a toy, and the dog should bring the toy back to you. It is one of the healthiest ways to help your dog get the necessary exercise and a great bonding way. Just get a tennis ball or a toy and start throwing. It is also an excellent way for you to get some exercise as well.

dog with a frizbee

World Dog Finder team