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12 Fun Games to Play With Dogs (Indoor & Outdoor)

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper

dog playing frisbee in the park

Plenty of dog owners want to play with their dogs, but they don’t know exactly how. There are numerous different games that you can play with your dog both inside and outside. These games are fun and can help your dog in a number of different ways. There are games on this list that can be played both inside and outside. There are games that don’t require any monetary investment or special equipment. There are games here that are great for small dogs and large dogs. If you are looking for inspiration for your next canine game, this list is perfect for you.

Here are 12 games you can play with your dogs, both indoors and outdoors.

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The 6 Indoor Games

Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, and you need to play games indoors. In many places, winters are too cold and wet, and the days too short to spend any meaningful time outside. In other places, the summers are brutally hot, and the afternoons are beset by thunderstorms. During these times, indoor games can be a great way to blow off steam with your dog.

1. Hide and Seek

Some dogs love to play a classic childhood game, hide and seek. Playing hide and seek with your dog is easy. All you have to do is run away and find a good spot to hide and then call your dog. Many dogs find it thrilling and fun when they find you. This is an easy game that you can play inside that offers a ton of mental stimulation for your dog.

2. Tuggy

Tug-of-war or tuggy is another classic game you can play with your dog from the safety of your home. Many dogs adore tuggy. All you need is a good tug toy to have a great time. Give one end of the toy to your dog and let them get a firm grip, and then try to pull it out of your dog’s mouth. Tuggy makes many dogs go wild, and it is a great source of both mental and physical stimulation.

3. Treat Searching

Treat searching is similar to hide and seek, except you use treats instead of yourself to stimulate play. Hide treats around the house and give your dog a general sense of direction. If your dog finds one treat and can use their nose to find another, they will start hunting for treats around the house. This is a great way to give your dog some indoor mental stimulation. It can also be a way to get your dog out of your hair for a while if you need to get some work done at home.

white dog licking lips jumping for homemade pretzel dog treat
Image credit: Hepper

4. Kong Licking

Kong is a company that makes durable dog toys. Kong makes toys that can stand up to rigorous chewing. Kong also makes a flagship toy that is hollow inside. These toys are designed to be filled with a special treat like peanut butter. It can take a dog hours to lick out all the peanut butter from a Kong toy. This is a great way to keep your dog entertained inside and provides oodles of mental stimulation.

5. Miniature Fetch

Some houses are configured in a way to allow you to play fetch indoors. All you need is a long hallway or a large living room. Miniature fetch works best for small dogs or in short bursts. Sometimes all a dog needs is a last little burst of energy expenditure at night to calm them down before bed. Miniature or indoor fetch is a simple game that can be played almost anywhere. Just be careful not to hit any valuables like vases or televisions.

6. Obedience Training

Obedience training might not sound like a game to you, but your dog doesn’t know that. Many times, all dogs need to make something a game is treats and attention, and obedience training has those things in spades. Training your dog to do tricks is a great way to burn off some mental energy from the comfort of your own living room. Use treats, positive affirmations, and individual attention to turn simple training into a fun indoor game that you can play at almost any time.

vizsla dog obedience training
Image Credit: ABO PHOTOGRAPHY, Shutterstock

Divider 2The 6 Outdoor Games

Outdoor playtime is a classic way to spend time with any dog. Dogs love getting fresh air and running around with soft grass under their paws. These games are perfect ways to spend time with your dog while getting ample physical and mental stimulation.

7. Fetch

border collie dog playing fetch with the male owner
Image Credit: elbud, Shutterstock

Fetch can be played indoors, but it is a game best played outdoors. You can play fetch with a variety of different things, from sticks to tennis balls and frisbees. If you have a large or energetic dog, taking them to a wide-open field can provide ample room to run. If you don’t feel like running around, you can post up somewhere in the shade and not have to move much at all to have a good time.

8. Bubbles

Did you know that dogs love bubbles? If you blow bubbles around your dog, it is usually enough to make them go crazy. Dogs will run around, jump, and try to eat the bubbles as they float on the wind. Be careful using bubbles around your dog. Some bubbles can be toxic if your dog drinks the bubble solution. Bubbles solution can also irritate your dog’s skin or eyes if they get the solution splashed on them. As long as you are careful, bubbles can be a fun and exciting way to play with your dog outside.

9. Water Games

Many dogs also love water games. Sometimes all you need to create a fun game with your dog is a hose. Many dogs will chase the water from the hose, bark at it, and even bite at it. You can also fill a kiddie pool with water and throw some dog toys into it to create a fun place to play on a hot day. Not all dogs love water, but many of them do. You should also keep in mind that your dog will likely need a bath after water games. They will get muddy and grassy and stinky after getting nice and soaked.

Shetland sheepdog enjoying the water
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock

10. A Dig Box

Some dogs can have enormous amounts of fun with a dig box. To create a dig box, you will need some sand or dirt and a box. An old sandbox or a cheap plastic kiddie pool works great. Fill the box up with your choice of digging medium and bury some bones or toys or treats and let your dog go to town. This can also be a way to prevent your dog from digging in the yard if you give them a special place where they are allowed to dig.

11. Agility Training

Agility training is a great game to play with your dog outside. Agility training can be done in a variety of different ways. You can go to an agility park. Some counties have dog parks with built-in agility equipment. Or you can build your own doggy agility course in your own backyard if you have the gumption. Agility training is a great way to keep your dog mentally and physically sharp. Agility training is great for dogs that need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds.

12. Chase

Chase is one of the simplest games you can play with your dog. It is also a game that dogs frequently like to play with each other. All you need is some space to run around. Dogs let each other know that they want to play by bowing. That is when a dog lowers their front half and puts their butt in the air. You can also bow at your dog to let them know that you want to play. One of the easiest ways to initiate a game of chase is to bow at your dog and run away.

female rhodesian ridgeback dog running outdoors
Image Credit: Tatiana Katsai, Shutterstock

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Benefits of Playing With Your Dog

Playing with your dog has a ton of great benefits. It can help build a bond between you and your dog. It can also help burn off physical energy. Dogs that play a lot are calmer at night, easier to train, and listen better. It can also reduce the amount of social anxiety or stress your dog is feeling. Some intelligent dogs also require a good amount of mental stimulation to keep their minds sharp and to prevent them from getting bored throughout the day. Many of these games help your dog get both physical and mental stimulation in a controlled environment.

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These games can offer hours of fun for you and your dog. From quiet games like Kong licking to expansive games like agility training, there are plenty of ways to play with your dog. These games offer you plenty of options to help your dog burn off excess energy and get ample amounts of mental stimulation, even if the weather is bad outside. Next stop, fun!

Featured Image Credit: Leo Bao, Pexels

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