35 Activities and Games To Play with Dogs Inside (How To Dominate Indoor Isolation Boredom With Your Dog)

Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Veterinarian Charlotte Stiles (DVM)


Are you stuck inside in a lockdown or quarantine? Are you and your K9 housebound

Can’t take your dog for a walk or to the dog park? Seen every program on Netflix?

best indoor dog games

As excited as your puppy will be that you are home – being stuck there can be boring for both of you.

Here are 35 brilliant boredom busters to play with your dog. Keep your puppy happy and entertained during a mandatory lock-in! Heaps of ideas, activities and games to play with dogs indoors. For those of us stuck inside!

We love dogs, and they are an amazing source of entertainment. We are also their main source of entertainment! If you and your dog are staring at each other on the couch daring the other to do something check out our exhaustive list of the best indoor games to play with your dog.

Play the Three Cup Game

Do you know what the three cup game is? It is sometimes called the shell game. You’ve probably seen a sleight of hand magician try this in a street or on television. You hide the prize (here a doggy treat) under one of the cups and shuffle them around. If the dog gets the right cup – they get the treat!

It’s a super fun game to play with dogs indoors! As well as giving a delicious treat when they get it right, remember to shower your dog with verbal praise when they pick the correct cup.

Tips to make your dog a three cup expert

  • Play the game on a soft surface. Makes it easier to move the cups and prevent any accidents
  • Small dogs can play with yoghurt containers, or plastic cups
  • Larger dog can get rowdy – pick a thicker container
  • Consider poking a hole in the yoghurt cup so the smell can escape
  • If you need something heavier small ceramic plant pots can work – and have a whole for the treat smell to escape!

Three cup is a good boredom buster and great mental stimulation for your dog.

Teach Your Dog To Use The Treadmill

A genuine concern when you are stuck inside for a while is exercising your dog. For small dogs running around the house can be plenty. But for most dogs, there are only so many laps of the kitchen possible before they go stir crazy.

corgi dogs on a treadmill

It turns out it is both safe and really cool to teach your dog to use a treadmill!

Steps to get your dog treadmill ready

  1. You need to get your puppy familiar to the noise of the machine
  2. If the machine is new, let it sit for a few days so the dog gets used to it visually
  3. Next, use treats to get your dog to sit up on the treadmill
  4. Once they are comfortable there, it is time to turn the treadmill on!
  5. Start at a very slow walking pace. Give the dog treats to keep them on the machine
  6. Gradually increase the speed to make the exercise more difficult!

NEVER tether or tie the dog to the treadmill

NEVER leave the dog unattended while the machine is operating

DON’T exceed the normal amount of exercise your dog does

LONG HAIRED dogs should not use a machine with moving parts

Some dogs will be afraid of the machine. Do not persevere if this is happening to your dog. Remember that injuries can occur if the dog falls from the rubber track or is overworked.

Stuff a Kong with treats and make a KONGTAIL

mix treats into a kong
Is your puppy ready for a Kong treat Kong-Tail?

If you are cooped up but feeling healthy you might dabble in a cocktail or beverage. Don’t let the fun stop with you! Get your dog into the party mode with a delicious KONGTAIL.

This icy cold treat will keep your dog entertained for far longer than the usual Kong stuffed with treats. Mix and match and freeze.

A Kong treat cocktail!

This one is basic doggy entertainment 101 – stuffing treats into Kongs is a surefire fun distraction for your puppy. Pick the right Kong-tail ingredients and your dog can be entertained for hours in style!

There is really no end to the types of foods you can fill a Kong with. You can even mix and match for a more challenging and delicious Kong! Try out a 3 layer approach.

how to stuff a kong
Our Oodle Life recipe for a delicious Kong treat Kong-tail

You can keep it simple and fill a Kong with any of these staples

  • Kibble
  • Oats
  • Carrots 
  • Pasta
  • Meat Scraps
  • Fish (cooked, like Tuna)
  • Rice (cooked)

Then you can spice it up with a layer of 

  • Apple
  • Cauliflower
  • Banama
  • Hot Dog (small amount only, very salty)
  • Cheese
  • Treats (like liver treats!)
  • Baby foods (natural)

Then seal it all in with the top layer of a mushy sealant. We use a very small amount of peanut butter because it drives our puppy CRAZY with excitement. It also has excellent glue like sealant properties to create a closed system to keep your puppy entertained.

Play a Puzzle Game With Your Dog

Dog puzzle toys come in many different types. Simple dog toys can provide hours of chewing fun, even for the most chewy puppies. The goal is to stimulate the mind of your dog. Getting a dog mentally stimulated can really erase puppy boredom.

There are heaps of puzzles games you can buy to play with your dog. Most of them involve treats that pose a brain challenge for your dog..

There are different levels of puzzle difficulty. Starting with something simple is a great idea. (It is kinda like you starting with a 250 piece puzzle to to make sure you like puzzles before you dive into a 2000 piece mega puzzle).

Most dogs will enjoy working out a basic level puzzle and enjoy them.

A great option is a puzzle like the Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy. These beautiful dog toys are designed in Sweden. They are immensely popular due to their simplicity. The reviews are almost all positive. Puppies love these toys!

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Orange Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
$16.49 $7.83
  • BEGINNER DOG PUZZLE: The Dog Smart by Nina Ottosson is a level 1 interactive dog puzzle toy that will prepare your pup for more challenging games with simple one-step actions. Suitable for any breed and size.
  • ENGAGING & MENTALLY STIMULATING: This interactive dog puzzle features 9 hidden compartments that are covered by 9 removable dog bone pieces. Hide your pup's favorite treats in the compartments and elevate the bone for an easier grab or leave them flush with the board for increased difficulty. Watch as your dog learns to nudge and paw away the bones to reveal the reward!
  • REDUCES BOREDOM & DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR: The Dog Smart interactive dog treat puzzle provides your pup with a fun and rewarding game that can help redirect destructive behavior while supporting their mental wellbeing.
  • BPA, PVC & PHTHALATE FREE: Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound interactive treat dog puzzles are designed with your pet's health in mind from food safe materials that you can trust. Easy to clean with warm water and soap between uses.
  • PLAY IT SAFE: No toy is indestructible. Do not leave toys with unsupervised pets. Remove and replace toy if damaged.
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09/06/2023 04:14 am GMT

35 Activities and Games To Play with Dogs Inside (How To Dominate Indoor Isolation Boredom With Your Dog) 1Level 1 interactive dog puzzles are entertaining treat dispensers that also upskill your puppy in puzzle solving.  This one is interactive and a great way to train your dog for more complex games.

As well as mental stimulation (which can distract and redirect destructive behaviors) these games also feed the puppy slowly. Slowing down mealtimes can improve digestion and prevent the bloat that some dogs get by scarfing down their meals quickly.

Make a Rope Toy Using T-Shirts

Do you have some old t-shirts? Then make your dog a chew rope toy! This craft project is super simple and a great way to use up some old T-shirts.

“Home made dog toys are also a fun way for you and your four-legged friend to entertain yourselves when stuck inside.”

Veterinarian Dr Charlotte Stiles (DVM)

Even better, the shirts tend to have your smell (or that of your washing detergent) which can be comforting for the puppy!

Yoga Mat or Towel Unrolling Game

A simple game to play with your dog involves just two items. A treat, and your yoga mat! You can also use a towel if you don’t have a mat or your dog plays a little rough.

dog unrolling yoga mat

  • You place the mat or towel on the floor in front of you. Place a single treat right at the end.
  • Next, roll the mat over itself once (like you are rolling up a yoga mat).
  • Now place a second treat. And roll, and repeat.
  • There should be lots of treats by the time you have rolled the entire towel or mat up.

Show the dog the roll, they usually figure out how to get to the first treat. If not, unroll it slightly to demonstrate the surprise to the pup.

Dogs usually pick up on the treats and start to unroll it by themselves! The great thing is, they are teaching themselves the trick!

You can repeat but cut down on the total number of treats until there are very few and they have to unroll the whole thing to get to the final surprise! You can also alternate normal treats with low calorie treat options like carrots or bell peppers!

Play The Which Hand Game

This is a super simple game and all you need is a treat and your puppy’s excellent sense of smell! 

How to play the which hand game

  1. Put a piece of kibble (I use liver dog treats we buy in bulk from Amazon) in one of your hands
  2. Hold both hands out in a closed fist
  3. Let them pick which hand the kibble is in using their nose!

It is super simple but super fun! See how finely tuned your dog’s nose is to the smell of a treat. Check here for a detailed guide to teach puppies how to play this game properly!

Set Up An Indoor Agility Course

Make an agility course at home for your dog! Use pillows, soft furnishings, chairs, whatever is around!

Keep it simple and start with puppy sized jumps and challenges.

You use rewards and treats to get your dog to follow the course. Reward frequently after each segment of the course.

Once your dog nails the DIY indoor agility course, reduce the frequency of your rewards. The goal is to have them complete as much of the course as possible without needing a treat.

Persist with this – it is amazing how far even the most stubborn or tiny dog can come!

Fetch And Seek

When I asked pet experts for advice on the best indoor games for dogs, Boriana shared how she is keeping her two dogs super busy and entertained in a recent lockdown. Not always easy to find indoor games for dogs!

Boriana says she plays a modified version of hide and seek with her puppies.

My dogs love this one, which basically is an extended version of fetch. The key here is to take full advantage of your home environment to try and get your dog a proper workout.

All you need is a tennis ball or any chewy toy that bounces or rolls on the ground. This works best if you have stairs in your house, and you can roll the ball down, then run into one of the rooms.

So your pup will then first run after the ball to find it, then run up the stairs, look around and find you hiding in one of the rooms to deliver the ball. Rinse, repeat until they are tired!

If you don’t have stairs, but do have a hallway or corridor, you can still play this game. Just roll the ball down the corridor at an angle so that it  enters one of the rooms. Then pick a room and dart inside to hide, and you can repeat this as well. Just keep changing the hideout room every few times to keep them from getting bored.

Get Your Dog To Help With The Chores

What a helpful pooch! Put your puppy to work folding and doing laundry.

Play Tug of War

A simple way to tire your dog is to play tug of war. You need to be careful to not overstimulate your dog playing this game.

Tug-of-war can burn lots of dog energy – and not be too taxing on you! It is an all-time classic of the games to play indoors with dogs.

If you are going to play this game you need to have your dog fairly well trained in the “LEAVE IT” command (or drop it etc).

The rules for puppy tug of war are

  • If the command is ignored, the game ends
  • If the dogs gets extra destructive and hyper the game ends
  • Any mouthing, the game is over 

But don’t be upset or annoyed by excited growling! This is playful and positive!

You can also let your dog win sometimes. The old wives tale is that if the dog wins you let them establish dominance and it can give you trouble.

The science actually says that occasionally letting your dog win is not a problem at all. It makes them want to play more!

Expert John Bradshaw did an excellent NPR interview on the subject. He said in that interview “ If you do let a dog win over and over again at tug of war, it likes you.”

He goes on to say that “the dog does not get into its head that you’re kind of a soft touch and that in the future it will be able to control you and whatever you do.” So you can seek competitive games to play with dogs and here is no downside to letting them win sometimes.

It is a fascinating interview with an animal behaviorist John Bradshaw. Check out the full NPR interview here

Try The Disappearing Sheet Trick

Coined the “what the fluff” challenge, this hilarious disappearing act took over the internet back in simple times (2018).

You hold a sheet up, then disappear from view. Dogs struggle with object permanence – which roughly means they believe your magic trick!

It is super fun to see how different dogs react to the magic show. How will your puppy react? There are more magic games to play with dogs to try too! Check out our YouTube for inspiration.

A Game of Inside Fetch (Dog Proof)

If your dog likes to play Fetch fast and rough, then you can play fetch! You will need to dog proof a room or area of the house for wild indoor fetch.

This works better with smaller dogs of course!

Using a rope toy can be a great option if you are worried about damage. With that said, nothing beats a Kong or tennis ball for bouncy crazy fun.

To make playing with a bouncy toy safer, take these following two steps.

First, remove any furniture to the side of the room. The less obstacles the better. 

Secondly, sit on the ground and roll the ball rather than throwing it. This encourages your dog to keep on the ground and not go airborne.

Get Started With Clicker Training!

Clicker training is becoming one the most popular new techniques to teach dogs tricks and behaviors. The best thing about clicker training is that it helps teach dogs patience.

Clicker training is a simple technique with proven effectiveness. It is a positive reward system. A clicker is a cheap little plastic box with a metal bit that emits a clicking sounds when pressed.

We use the clicker to reward behaviours. It helps teach patience and also helps dogs become more excited and keen to earn their reward (treats).

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03/03/2024 12:53 am GMT

If you grab a cheap clicker and get it delivered – you can get started training your dog in no time.

I like clicker training because the click itself is performed when the desired or “good” behavior is actually being performed. This means that the dog learns exactly what it is being rewarded for.

There are detailed guides on how to get started with clicker training – but you will find plenty of awesome information just on YouTube! We made a playlist on our Oodle Life YouTube channel that has the best introductory guides to clicker training. 

The very first step for all of these clicker training videos requires you to introduce the clicker. All this requires is 5 minutes of your time over 1 or 2 days! (and a clicker and some dog treats of course)

  1. First step is click the clicker, and give your dog the treat after a short pause
  2. Repeat this HEAPS. Twenty to thirty times.
  3. Never click without treating, never treat without clicking

Check out the playlist on our OodleLife YouTube channel and get started with clicker training!

Hide and Seek! One Of The Classic Games To Play With Dogs Inside

The easiest way to play hide and seek as an indoor dog game is to have two people at home. One person stays with the dog.

The other leaves and hides. You then simply say WHERE IS OTHER PERSON

You need to convey excitement in your voice.. Walk the dog around the house searching for the other person.

Make a huge deal when the missing person is found. This makes it easier to transition to single person hide and seek in the future.

How To Play Dog Hide and Seek With One Person

If you are riding in isolation at home solo, you can still play Hide and Seek.

Your dog needs to have mastered the command STAY first.

This is a great opportunity for a dog to practice the command COME.

Get the dog to STAY, then once out of eyesight quickly hide. Call COME and wait for the dog to find you. Keep it simple at small distances to begin with.

Only reward your dog with a treat when you are certain that the dog waited for the COME signal.

Run Around Your Apartment or House

Dogs get very surprised (and excited) when there is rapid movement in an area that normally is quiet.

Even in a small space, you can burn lots of puppy and dog energy very quickly!

So lace up those… socks and run around the house! Most puppies will get excited and chase you. Doing this for a few minutes is a great way to break negative or bored behaviors from the dog.

(A little bit of extra exercise doesn’t hurt the owner either.)

Hide and Seek Treats

The next tip comes courtesy of Karen Reese, the Animal Behavior Manager at Operation Kindness, she oversees the behavior of over 400 pets daily and 5,000 pets annually at the leading no-kill animal shelter in North Texas.

A great way to pass the time includes your dog’s nose! Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell, which can be used as a game to hide treats and have your dog find them.

Place those yummy snacks around the house, behind or in places dogs normally wouldn’t think to look and see how well they’re able to track them down for an awesome reward.

Increase the challenge once they understand the concept by hiding their snacks while they’re in another room.

This not only keeps them entertained, but we’re sure owner’s will get a great kick out of watching their furry friend search for an awesome prize.

Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

You don’t need anything fancy to brush a dog’s teeth. Just persistence and some nice tasting dog toothpaste eventually. 


Brushing your puppy’s teeth from an early age reduces the risk of caries (decay) and more importantly gum disease. Lots of dogs get gum disease and can actually lose teeth from this!

Fun facts: Dogs lose almost all of their puppy teeth around 6 months of age. Dogs have 28 puppy teeth and 42 adult teeth. Early and regular brushing helps they avoid unnecessary extractions!

Even if you have to order dog toothpaste (which lasts a long time per tube) you can get started straight away without!

You can try finger brushes or custom made dog toothbrushes – but you don’t need to! Just grab a kids toothbrush on sale and use that.

I really love this step by step guide to brushing a dog’s teeth by Vancouver Vet Dr Burstyn. It goes step by step and doesn’t waste your time. Get brushing to protect your dogs chompers!

Frozen Puzzle Feeder

Our next few tips come from animal trainer Stephanie.

Just like Kongs other stuffable toys can be filled with kibble, plain yogurt, or pumpkin and then frozen. This is a great boredom buster because it takes a while for the food to soften. It takes a lot of effort for your dog to work the treats out. 

Muffin Tin with Tennis Balls:

This uses items you probably already have around your house. You can treat it as a DIY puzzle feeder and put treats in the muffin pan with tennis balls on top. 

Your dog has to move the balls out of the way to get to the treats. Another way to use this is as a find the treat game. 

Put a treat under one of the tennis balls and have your puppy try to guess which one has the food. 

Repurpose plastic bottles

For dogs that don’t chew and aren’t destructive, you can repurpose plastic water bottles or liter bottles into a rolling treat feeder

Drill or poke holes into a few places on the bottle’s side. Make sure the holes are large enough for your chosen treats to fit through easily. Then add kibble into the bottle and replace the cap. 

Place it on the ground for your dog to roll around. This keeps dogs motivated because they can see the food but can’t get to it unless they figure out how to roll the bottle. 

This is a favorite toy for cats too!

Interactive Noisy Dog Ball

If you are looking for a more hand off approach – get your dog into this toy. It is called a Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Interactive Dog Toy. It lights up and makes sounds which makes your dog entertain themselves!

Pet Qwerks Blinky Babble Ball Flashing Interactive Chew Toy for Small Dogs
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04/20/2023 04:53 am GMT

If you are stuck inside with your dog, sometime it is nice for your puppy to have just a little self directed non-destructive play.

It flashes and talks with motion activated lights to draw your dog back to it. The sounds are not too loud and it makes a bunch of different sounds.

It is great the sounds are not too loud, but I do wish there was an option to adjust the volume of the output. The batteries last ages, and it the toy has been durable even for our chewy puppy. We really like this simple toy!

I like to use this one when we duck out for an hour or so if he has already had his Kong or dental treats for the day. It is an excellent distraction to ward off separation anxiety!

Dip The Feet

So this one was suggested by Trina on our Oodle Life Facebook. I was a little confused when she first suggested it – but slowly and surely my miniature Labradoodle Max has been getting into this!

The idea is to teach your dog how to wash its own paws

You get a shallow plastic container and get the puppy to start standing in it. I bribed Max using treats.

Trina said her dogs went in of their own choice without treats, which is impressive.

Then you add a little water to the shallow container. Get the dog to step back in.

You start off small, then eventually increase the depth of the water. Think a fraction filled, then eventually 3 inches (~10 centimetres).

Once your dog knows how to dip the feet it can make washing muddy or dirty paws a fair bit easier.

Max is a puppy AND a miniature. I can pick him up into the laundry sink easily. I can see how for larger dogs washing dirty paws could be a real hassle – and this training helps them get used to the idea of washing their own feet.

Blow Some Chicken or Beef Bubbles

games to play with puppy indoors
Photo: Soap Bubbles by el Padawan on Flickr CC-by-SA 2.0

Bubbles can be amazing fun! Best on the balcony, or hard surfaces that can be wiped up; Blowing bubbles for your dog to chase indoors is safe and easy to organise games to play with dogs inside. For lots of dogs it is one of their favourite hobbies!

There are two things that I did to make my dog love bubbles. Introduce them slowly and with excitement. And secondly, make some DIY flavoured bubbles!

I made some home made DIY dog friendly flavoured bubbles! You just need three ingredients. This is also a great use for the few remaining plastic straws that a lot of us have lying around.

Recipe for chicken or beef dog bubbles

  1. Unscented soap (¼ cup)
  2. Bullion stock cube (chicken or beef flavour) mix with ½ cup of warm water.
  3. A sprinkle of sugar

Mix these all together and you are off to the races! Use a bubble ring or auto blower – or just some straws!

While it is fine for dogs to chase and ‘eat’ flavoured bubbles – it is absolutely not okay if they get into the bubble mix. That’s why the recipe is small – and you can keep it in a small jar or cup away from the dog at all times.

Get Started With At Home Ear Cleaning 

chocolate mini Labradoodle

Okay well this one falls more into necessity than fun – but an excellent indoor dog activity is to learn how to clean your dog’s ears. The ears are a commonplace for both stinky odours, or bacterial infection.

It is comfortable and easy to clean dogs ears and even remove dog ear hair at home.

Steps to clean your dogs ears at home

  • You do need cotton balls, tweezers, and a mild ear cleaning solution
  • People sometimes DIY their own ear cleaning solution if they have run out
    • If you are trapped indoors or quarantined you could mix apple cider vinegar and water in a 1:1 proportion as a cleaning solution.
  • Remove the ear hairs that are excessive first
  • Then use the gentle cleaner along with the cotton ball to dab and wipe away the ear wax

For more detailed instructions see this article on cleaning dogs ears (applies to all breeds).

Poodle mix breeds like the Labradoodle will need extra care taken for their narrow ear canal shape and also fluffy coat. See how to clean Poodle Mix ears like the Labradoodle here.

Netflix and Chill

dog watching netflix on couch
Photo: Mark Vetch CC-by-SA 2.0 Not modified

Sometimes the very best indoor dog activity is… To just chill out. When you are not home your dog spends much of its time kicking up its paws and relaxing.

Just because we are stuck at home doesn’t mean every minute has to be a doggy party!

Catch some Netflix and zzz with your puppy.

Learn a Trick: BANG!

max the labradoodle playing bang indoors
Our puppy Max loves learning party tricks. He enjoys the treats too! One of the best indoor games to play with your dog.

One of my favourite tricks BANG! You make a finger gun, say Bang, and the puppy rolls onto its side. It sure is not an important trick to know – but it is a cute and fun one!

I play a different final pose with Max, I get him to “raise his paws” on his back when he hears the command BANG! Like this photo.

The steps my wife took to teach Max to GO BANG are shown really comprehensively in this video by the American Kennel Club. We just took it a step further for a more amusing final position. 

Dog tricks really are some of the best dog games to play with dogs inside.

Learn a Trick: Ring A Bell

This is just a game to play with a dog – for the sake of it! We seek out games to play with dogs indoors like this with our pets just for fun.

The premise? Ding the bell, get a treat!

Training your dog to ring a bell is just like teaching it to do any other trick. This indoor dog game will require patience, and heaps of treats. And a bell.

Steps to Learn To Ring A Bell

  1. Familiarise the dog with the sound of the bell so it doesn’t get alarmed or scared
  2. Now lightly touch the dogs pay onto the bell and reward the touch with a treat
  3. Do it when the dog is hungry and they usually pick up on the effort into reward pathway very quickly

Some clever people have actually gone onto train their dog to ring the bell when they want to go outside! That is some next level stuff. Luckily we have a doggy door and a DIY apartment porch potty otherwise we might need to step up the game with this trick!

Learn a Trick: Jumping Over Objects!

Learning new tricks is a great way to physically and mentally tire your dog. Not to mention it is fun for all of us! One of the most awesome games to play with dogs inside is to train your dog how to jump over objects. (Puppy high jump with points for style not height).

It is vitally important that you start small when teaching your dog to jump over things. Even small dogs can successfully and safely be taught to do some agility and jumping. Keep it reasonable though and don’t push the limits!

The challenge when teaching your dog to jump obstacles has two hurdles. Physical ability and confidence.

Puppies and dogs need to develop the physical attributes and strength needed to perform agility work. That is why it is super important that you start small and build up over time.

Confidence to jump objects and perform tasks takes determination, patience, and a whole lotta dog treats.

This video has some amazing tips on how to train your dog to begin jumping objects. I really appreciate the words of caution at the beginning of the video for older dogs or those who are at risk of damaging their body. 

Personally, I found the most success with a running approach.

  1. I cleared space in the living room, and actually put Max’s leash on
  2. We began running the room back and forth
  3. I then added the first object I wanted him to clear (a broom handle)
  4. It was a simple start, but I praised him and used treats every time he crossed.
  5. We then used books to create a raised bar for him to jump over.
  6. We capped out at around 20cm of height as he is a puppy and our floors can be slippery

Get Your Dog To Learn The Names Of Their Toys

Dogs can learn a heap of commands – even a few hundred words for some dogs! You can use some of this memory space to name a few favourite toys.

This can give rise to a fun indoor dog game of fetch where you don;t even have to throw the toy. You just say the name and they go bring it to you!

It seems like a bit of a stretch for some dogs to begin with but persistence and treats really pay off with this indoor dog game.

Start with a single toy: give it a name.

For us, it was a Kong bone that Max LOVES

Max's favorite
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09/06/2023 04:14 am GMT

We say BONE BONE when we had it to him, when he brings it to us, and whenever he is solely engaging with that toy.

Check out our hands on video of the Kong Bone with Labradoodle Max

I think Max is starting to understand the name of the toy, but we are a work in progress for this trick. It is top of my list of games to play with dogs that I want to get perfect with Max.

The fun indoor dog game is to lay out three or more toys, then ask the dog to fetch a specific toy. Start with a single toy.

Some dogs will be all over this immediately, others take longer to make the connection. You might have been training your dog in toy recognition without even knowing it, if you already refer to a favorite toy with the same name. (e.g. “Max, where is your bone!?”)

It is all about repetition, so brace yourself for a long day of training with this indoor dog activity.

Teach Dogs To Put Toys Away

Your dog probably won’t do dishes or wash your car – but you can teach them to put their toys away.

By getting a low to the ground toy box and utilizing the DROP command.- Your dog can be clean and tidy and show impeccable manners to impress houseguests (when you can have people around).

This video covers the training in detail.

This chore can be one of the most respectful and tidy games to play with dogs.

Learn The Art of Doggy Massage

Another activity for your dog is to learn how you can give your dog a remedial massage.

Sure it sounds a little silly – but there are actually health benefits to going full massage therapist for your pooch. Okay you don’t need to get the oils and aromatherapy out, but strategic massaging rather than just petting makes your dog happy AND has health positives!

  • Stress relief and relaxation for the dog
  • Areas of injury treated carefully can benefit from gentle massage – similar principle to humans!
  • Strengthens the bond between owner and dog. Build the relationship.
  • Reminds your dog to be used to being touched, which helps when it comes to grooming

Steps To Massage Your Dog

  1. It should only be done when your dog is already relaxed 
  2. Sitting on the couch is a good option
  3. Talk in a low calm voice the whole time
  4. Start by petting your dog all over
  5. Have a plan: start by gentle rubbing the dogs neck in small circles. Don’t start with the head!
  6. Move to the shoulders
  7. Then chest and front legs
  8. If your dog tolerates the leg massage, gently rub the paws. This also allows you to check for any paw damage or skin cracks
  9. On the back keep even pressure on either side of the spine – never too firm
  10. Keep heading backwards. You can skip massaging the tail.

The ultimate goal is to have a relaxed dog. If your dog falls to sleep during this structured massage – even better!

Teach a Trick: The SNEEZE Game (Bring me a tissue!)

This indoor dog game is super impressive to visitors. As far as tricks go, it is not essential – but it can be useful!

tissues games to play with dogs
Photo credit: John Davis on Flickr CC-by-SA 2.0 No Modifications

Goal: Say the command word and the dog will fetch you a tissue!

It is a great one to spring on unexpecting guests. If you are isoalted or in lockdown, it also saves you from getting up to get a tissue.

NOTE: This game only works if your dog does not eat tissues. We can’t teach Max our Labradoodle yet as he loves to tear up and eat tissues. This doesn’t make the top list of games to play with dogs. Perhaps one day in the future.

Steps To Teach The Sneeze Game

  1. Get a heavy tissue box or tape one to a table or the floor
  2. Get the dog to Take It and take the tissue
  3. Reward with treats
  4. This step is important don’t rush forward till it is complete
  5. Once this is down, decide on an action word or sound. You can even make a sneezing noise and use that as a command.
  6. Stand a few feet (1-2 metres) away from the tissue box and make the command noise while pointing at the box
  7. If the dog gets it, reward handsomely with treats
  8. And repeat.

Dehydrate Apples as Dog Snacks (dehydrator or oven)

Dogs can snack on apples. In fact dogs can snack on all kinds of vegetables. Did you know puppies can eat carrots AND dogs can have bell peppers!?

dried apple can be a snack for. adog

A really simple and easy snack you can make at home for you and the dog to share is dehydrated apples. The ingredient list is simple. Ideally you have a dehydrator, as they are cost effective and very useful.

That said, it is totally possible to dehydrate apples well in an oven. It is simple!

Simple Recipe For Doggy (and human) Dehydrated Apple Snacks.

This is a snack food NOT a meal replacement. Excessive amounts of apple can harm a dog or cause stomach upset.

How To Make Dried Apples For Dogs

Get 2-3 pounds of apples (0.9-1.35 kilograms), and some cinnamon.

  1. Wash, peel and core the apples
  2. No seeds of any type remaining
  3. Slice using a mandolin or knife skills to around ¼ inch (6mm) slices
  4. Lay the apple slices on a dehydrator tray. or oven trays
  5. Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon
  6. Dehydrate at 135 Fahrenheit (57 celsius) for 6 to 8 hours. More if the moisture is still there.
  7. Cut a piece in half and ensure it is leathery and dry NOT sticky and wet
  8. Cool for a few hours and store in an airtight container for up to a month

In an oven the same applies but depending on how low your oven can be set will change the duration. Keep it as low as possible. If higher you need to check much earlier and keep cutting apple pieces to check the inside.

SHAPE TRAINING Involves A Bunch of Fun Indoor Dog Games

Shaping is a concept that allows dogs to learn new tricks easily. A great indoor activity to teach your dog new tricks is to teach yourself what shaping is.

Essentially shaping is the process of gradually teaching a dog a new trick or behaviour. It involves guiding and rewarding the dog every micro step of the way towards the end goal.

Learning how to shape train effectively as an owner and a dog allows more complex and circus like tricks. Shaping gives some of the best games to play with dogs inside.

It opens up a whole new world of indoor dog games, and also agility tricks or courses. Shaping with objects can literally open up an entire world of advanced games to play with dogs inside. It turns your house into a playground, and simple household objects into adventure.

Look, it sounds a little loopy but it is a free training technique that you can find on YouTube. It is used the world over. 

Check out this video someone made about early shape training for more info. Drink the Kool-Aid and get shaping!

Shaping is a pathway to some of the best advanced object based games to play with dogs inside.

Games To Play With Dogs Conclusion

There are so many awesome games to play with dogs inside. I hope this list of activities, tricks and games gives you ideas on how to keep your dog entertained when stuck inside!

If you have any ideas for games to play with dogs inside that you think we should add – please comment! I would love to add to this massive list to give everyone the best list of games to play with dogs indoors that exists online.