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How to Entertain Your Dog Indoors: 20 Simple Ways

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

Dog playing PuzzlePaws

You are lucky if you have a playful and active dog who is always looking for an opportunity to play outside. However, sometimes it becomes impossible to let your pet be outdoors. Dogs require mental and physical stimulation to remain happy, fit, and healthy—even indoors. You may see your pet releasing their energy in various mischiefs out of boredom. For example, they may start chewing your socks or damaging furniture.

But isn’t it tough keeping your dog stimulated and active within four walls? No, it isn’t, especially when you follow the 20 simple ways mentioned below. Dig in to explore fun things you can do with your dog without leaving the house.

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The 20 Tips on How to Entertain a Dog Indoors

1. Practice Obedience Training Every Day

This is one of the easiest and safest ways to entertain your dog daily. Obedience training will keep your dog busy and help them learn new things to spend their life more comfortably.

Start by dividing the training session into small 10-minute sections and practicing basic commands with your pet. For instance, make them obey when you ask them to sit, eat, stay, bark, and stand. Dogs also love to high-five, so add that to the training course. Once your pal seems to learn the simple commands, you can move on to the advanced ones.

Obedience training is perfect for entertaining your dog, especially if you haven’t practiced it for some time.

2. Teach Them a New Trick

Learning a trick can be a new experience for you and your dog. There are endless possibilities when it comes to all the things you can teach your pet. For instance, you can ask them to recognize the name of a new toy or shake their paws.

You can also teach your dog to clean rooms and place their things correctly. A new trick takes ample time to learn, so be patient and consistent during the learning period. It is a great way to keep your pup busy and entertained indoors for a long time.

Young female owner is training and teaching commands to her lovely labrador retriever dog
Image Credit: HQuality, ShutterStock

3. Train Your Pet to Assist You in Chores

When teaching new things to your dog, train them to help you perform different chores at home. This could include training the pet to bring you something when asked or cleaning a space by removing the mess.

You can also teach your dog to fetch something from the fridge or the kitchen. This will surely make your guests’ jaws drop!

If your pet learns quickly, you can make them your companion and shift some of your burdens to them. While humans don’t like extra work, dogs do, especially those belonging to the working breeds. You will see your dog is more than happy to help you!

4. Make Your Dog Busy With Nose Work

Do you often find your pet smelling different objects when walking outside? If yes, how about creating the same activity for them inside?

Place different treats around the house, and let your pup find them by sniffing in every nook and cranny. Make the activity more interesting by placing hurdles. Your dog will enjoy discovering the treats and get tired at the end.

This is a great way to bring outdoor fun inside and let your dog enhance their sense of smell.

Dog playing sniffing puzzle game for intellectual and nosework training
Image Credit: Alexei_tm, Shutterstock

5. Play Tug-of-War Together

If it rains for days, you and your dog will start craving physical activity when stuck inside. In that case, you can play tug-of-war together.

Playing this game is one of the best ways to engage with your dog and give them a wholesome activity to cherish. It is also good for your dog’s health and behavior, making them more obedient and confident.

Many people believe that this game often makes dogs aggressive. However, that’s not the case. Besides, if you let your dog win sometimes, they will feel happy and ready to join you again.

6. Introduce the Shell Game to Your Pup

This is a problem-solving game that pets enjoy playing. Since most dogs love being detectives, this game allows them to be just that.

To play the shell game, place a snack in one of the three cups and shuffle them in front of your dog. Then, ask your dog to spot the cup with the treat. On every win, give your dog a high-five or a pat.

This game is a perfect way to keep your dog busy for hours. It also stimulates their brain, making them active and smarter than they already are.

cup guessing game
Image Credit: patpitchaya, Shutterstock

7. Play Hide-and-Seek

If your dog loves a challenge, play hide-and-seek with them. As long as your pet takes your sit-and-stand commands, you won’t struggle to teach them this amazing game.

Make your pet sit in a corner and teach them to find you when they hear your voice. Hide within your house and in corners easily accessible by your pet. When your dog finds you, treat them with their food.

8. Play Indoor Fetch

Fetch is a popular outdoor activity that dogs absolutely love. You can play this game inside as well, of course, with a few precautions. Instead of using a stick, throw a small plastic or rubber ball to a distance and ask your dog to fetch it.

Ensure that you don’t throw the ball in areas with a lot of furniture or small decorative pieces. Or else your pet will either destroy or chew them out of excitement.

You can also train your dog to care for things in the house with obedience training. It will help them manage their high energy levels when playing any game.

Even a 30-minute playing fetch is enough for your pup to get tired and kill boredom.

dog and owner playing fetch indoors
Image Credit: J.A. Dunbar, Shutterstock

9. Use Puzzle Games to Keep Your Pet Busy

Have you ever thought of introducing puzzles to your dog? If not, you are missing out on a fantastic indoor activity for your pup.

Puzzle games for dogs are quite affordable and readily available. Even if you can’t entertain your dog yourself, these puzzle games will keep your pup busy for long hours without your assistance. However, ensure these puzzles don’t have small items or pieces that may choke them.

10. Give Your Dog a Much-Deserved Massage

Do you feel that your pet stays stressed and violent when trapped indoors for a long time? If yes, how about giving them a doggie massage to relax their nerves?

Acing this massage technique will give you ample benefits. For instance, it is a perfect way to spend time with your dog and bond with them. Secondly, it will make your dog feel active and fit without using their smells or sweating under the sun.

In a nutshell, a massage helps increase your dog’s blood circulation, relaxes their muscles, and makes them sleep better. That’s what these furry animals need to stay healthy and content indoors!

woman giving body massage to a dog
Image Credit: Rasulov, Shutterstock

11. Use an Old Box to the Fullest

Do you have a useless old box in your storage room or garage? Recycle it to create a home or play area for your dog!

You can make different types of homes with a cardboard box. But if you’re looking for the easiest option, cut holes in the box and make varying tunnels to let your dog pass through them for fun. Doing so will improve their problem-solving skills and keep them busy for a long time. In fact, you will find your pup exploring their new house for hours!

If your dog seems hesitant, you can put a treat inside the house and teach your pet to enter the box and grab it. Don’t forget to train your dog to leave the box, or they will stay inside out of anxiety. You can also place your pup’s toys inside, so they can have a great time without you.

12. Entertain Your Dog With Bubbles

A bubble-making gun always comes in handy. Even if you are busy watching a show, keep your dog occupied by making bubbles and letting them burst with their paws.

Your furry friend would also love to chase these bubbles for as long as you will make them. However, ensure to use a dog-friendly solution to make these bubbles for the safety of your pet’s eyes.

woman playing bubbles with her dog at home
Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

13. Design an Obstacle Course

With some creativity, it’s not hard to create an amazing obstacle course for your pet inside your house. If you have a terrace, use it to the fullest to create a track with hindrances and treats. Alternatively, you can utilize your lounge for this activity, provided there aren’t many expensive items around.

14. Indulge in Regular Grooming Sessions

You should utilize your time inside to the fullest, and grooming sessions are a great way to do so. This idea may not be as fun as a tug-of-war, but some dogs do love their spa time.

To keep your dog happy and healthy, bathe them, brush their hair regularly, and keep their teeth clean. You must also cut their nails to prevent injuries. If you can’t do these things alone, go to a professional to let them do the job for you.

But what if your dog doesn’t like bathing? In that case, you can feed them their favorite treats at the end of their grooming session to help them stabilize their mood. This will be a reward for their patience and participation but don’t make it a ritual. Overeating sweets can make them obese.

hand holding the brush while getting the golden retriever dog's hair
Image Credit: sonsart, Shutterstock

15. Buy a Stuffed Kong

Does your dog frequently get bored when indoors? If yes, how about letting your dog play with a stuffed Kong and kill their boredom? Sounds perfect!

So, head to your nearest store and buy a Kong. After returning home, stuff it with your furry companion’s favorite treats, such as peanut butter or frozen broth, and put it overnight to settle.

Then, give the stuffed Kong to your pet when you’re about to leave home or start your home chores. It will keep them busy for at least 30 minutes, depending on how well your pet takes them.

16. Get a Slow-Feeder Bowl

Invest in a slow-feeder bowl if you want to increase your dog’s lunchtime to keep them busy for a long time. You will find many such bowls on Amazon in different sizes, so thoroughly research before buying any.

Once you find the best slow-feeder bowl, replace it with your pet’s plain dish. It will allow them to use their mental power and access each kibble with effort and patience. Not only that, but these bowls also prevent your pets from gulping their food, saving them from harmful bloating and choking.

slow feeder dog bowl
Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

17. Spend Time Playing the “Which Hand” Game

The “Which Hand” game is a simple guessing game. You just have to hide a treat in one of your hands, close both your fists, and place them in front of your pet. Ask your dog where the treat is. They will smell the treat’s aroma to find it.

When your dog successfully finds it, give them a gentle pat and feed them the treat as a reward. However, it’s recommended to use healthy treats in this game, such as meat slices or protein snacks, to keep your pet’s weight optimal.

18. Let Them Sit by the Window

Just because your dog can’t go outdoors doesn’t mean they can’t know what’s happening in the neighborhood. After all, these furry animals are the curious pets out there!

So, arrange a spot near your house’s window to allow your pet to sit comfortably and observe the passersby. Who knows, they may make some new friends this way. It is a great activity for your dog’s mental stimulation, distracting them from feeling trapped inside the house.

dogue de bordeaux french mastiff staring out the window
Image Credit: Karen Laventure, Shutterstock

19. Teach Your Pet to Switch On/Off the Lights

Do you often feel too lazy to stand up from your comfy couch to switch on or off the lights? Train your dog to do it!

Dogs are quick learners, so it won’t take much time until they start taking care of this hassle. But ensure they do it only on your command, or else this activity will become a nuisance for you.

If your dog is small, place a box near the switchboard to help them reach the on and off buttons for lights.

20. Arrange an Indoor Play Date

An indoor playdate is always fun, provided you have enough space to accommodate more than one dog at a time. This is also a great way to complete your chores while your pet is busy with their other furry friends.

But before you invite more dogs to your home, ensure you have enough food for all of them. Also, arrange different activities to provide them with a park-like environment.

Keep an eye on your pet and their new friend throughout the playdate to ensure they’re not being aggressive or violent. With energetic dogs, it’s hard to pre-determine when things can go out of control.

indian pariah dogs
Image Credit: Palashpriya, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

If your dog seems bored and aggressive for no apparent reason, they need physical and mental stimulation to channel their energy. The above 20 tips on how to entertain your dog indoors will not only keep them busy but also boost their overall health.

The best part? Your dog will learn new, productive things every day without leaving the house. Not only that, but these activities will also help you strengthen the bond with your pet and make them feel happy inside.

Featured Image Credit: Lenti Hill, Shutterstock

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