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All pet parents know that dogs need a lot of stimulation. Whether it comes in the form of walking, playing, or training sessions, these mental and physical interactions go a long way in keeping your pup happy and healthy.

When it comes to outdoor activities, unfortunately, sometimes the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Rain, snow, and extreme temps may prevent you and your furry friend from romping around the yard.

Thankfully, there are many ways to entertain your dog indoors. Here are some fun ways to interact with your pup when going outside isn’t an option.

Ways to entertain your dog indoors

Stock up on interactive toys

From electronic fetch games to engaging pet puzzles, there’s no shortage of interactive dog toys on the market. 

If your pup loves nothing more than playing with a ball, opt for a Wobble Wag Giggle Ball, which giggles and makes noise when rolled or shaken. If you want something less noisy, this Tuwicx Automatic Rolling Ball moves and bounces when your dog touches it. A bonus? You can control it with a small remote. 

If your dog really needs to run out their energy, check out the All for Paws Automatic Ball Launcher. All Fido needs to do is drop a tennis ball inside and the machine will throw it up to 30 feet. (Down a hallway, perhaps?)

Switch up your games

While fetch and tug o’ war tend to be some of the more popular games, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Try “Chase the Prey”, where you use a flirt pole and slowly move it around as your dog tries to catch it. Pups love this because it unleashes their prey drive and requires a lot of focus.

Another fun game to try is “Doggy Basketball”. Find a basket and a ball and show your pup how to drop the ball inside, while saying “drop”. Every time you say the drop command and your dog successfully puts the ball in the basket, give them a treat. 

If you have multiple people available to play, try “Round Robin”. Each person sits in a different location around the room and has treats at the ready. Take turns saying your dog’s name or the “here” command, and when your pup arrives where they’re supposed to go, give them the treat. This is great practice for recall training and keeps your pup active in a small space.

And last but certainly not least, there’s always “Hide and Seek”. While your dog stays in one room, go hide in another. Bring one of their toys or some treats to help them find you faster and give it as a reward when they do!

Turn on dog-friendly TV

Yes, there are dog-friendly TV shows! YouTube channels like PetTunes – Music for Pets and Calm Your Dog – Relaxing Music and TV for Dogs were created just for the purpose of entertaining our furry friends. The music uses repetitive rhythms to help relax and calm your pet and the visuals are just as soothing. 

If you have to leave the house or need to occupy your pup while you do some chores, put this on the TV and let your pup cuddle up and enjoy.

Give them a chew toy

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs because they use their mouths to explore the world around them. It provides sensory input, relieves stress and anxiety, and cleans teeth. 

Giving your pup a chew toy can help keep them stimulated if you don’t have the time to play a game or do a training session. Choose one that is engaging, durable, and safe. It should also be an appropriate size for your dog — if it’s too small, it can become a choking hazard.

An even better option is to give them a vet-recommended healthy natural chew, which are specifically designed to improve your dog’s oral health and keep them stimulated.

Introduce scent work

When it comes to enrichment, it’s estimated that just 20 minutes of sniffing is equivalent to a one-hour walk. Scent work is a great way to entertain your dog indoors if a long walk isn’t an option.

You can introduce sniffing exercises by hiding treat trails around the house or through treat puzzles and snuffle mats. These toys are specifically designed to stimulate a dog’s senses and curiosity through their variety of textures, shapes, and movements.

Try new training exercises

While some pet parents may assume that dogs don’t like training, most dogs actually do! Training gives dogs an outlet for mental and physical stimulation, strengthens the bond with their owner, provides predictability and routine, and builds confidence. 

Don’t know where to start? Begin with basic commands and work your way up to more challenging tricks. When in doubt, reach out to a professional trainer for guidance.

Arrange doggy playdates

If your dog is good with other dogs, you can never go wrong with arranging a doggy playdate. Just make sure that both dogs are properly socialized and up to date on their vaccinations. Once you confirm this with the other owner, you can let your pups play to their heart’s desire.

Create an obstacle course

This is a fun activity for both you and your pup.

Use couch cushions, chairs, blankets, doggy gates, and toys to create your own homemade agility course. Once it’s set up, lead your dog through each step with treats so they understand the course. If they master it quickly, you can get creative and try different furniture arrangements and obstacles.

No matter how you entertain your dog indoors, taking the time to give your pup the enrichment they need will only improve their life and strengthen your bond.