Just like humans, dogs need interaction and exercise to look and feel their best. The old saying goes that a tired dog is a happy dog. Many behavioral issues in dogs can be solved by simply ensuring that your dog has enough stimulation and exercise.
Exercising your dog doesn’t always mean physical exercise such as going on a walk, running or playing fetch in the backyard. A dog can be exercised by simply challenging their mind and trying new things. Mental exercise can be just as exhausting to a dog as physical exercise and is beneficial to a dog’s overall long term quality of life.
Mental exercise and indoor activities are a great option when the weather isn’t so nice or if you live in an area without a yard that lacks outdoor dog-friendly areas. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular, dog-approved indoor activities.
11 Easy Indoor Dog Activities
You don’t have to build a track in your house or pay hundreds of dollars for toys that will be destroyed in seconds by typical happy-go-lucky dogs. You can get your dog the exercise they need in relatively inexpensive and simple ways. Here are some activities that dog owners have found beneficial in keeping their furry friends from getting cabin fever.
1“Where’s the Treat?” Hide and Seek for Dogs
You know how your dog loves treats? Pick one room in your home and hide the treats in various locations. This encourages dogs to use their best sense—smell—to discover a tasty surprise!
Don’t make it too easy, but don’t make it too hard either. Your dog will get a reward and get a mental workout at the same time.
No, you don’t have to buy a StairMaster machine specifically designed for dogs. This activity is perfect for any dog owner with a flight of stairs in their house, and is recommended for high-energy dogs who love to fetch. It’s like regular fetch, but up and down a flight of stairs. Genius!
3Teach a Dog a New Trick
Try teaching your dog a new trick like shake, roll over, stay, wait, leave it and more. The mental stimulation from them trying to figure out what you want them to do will have them tired out in no time. Want more ideas? Here are 52 tricks to teach your dog!
4Try Your Paw at Agility
Agility training is a fun, intense way for your pooch to get mind and body exercise while strengthening your bond. You can take professional classes to perfect your skills and prepare you for competing in agility competitions, or you can just do it at home for fun. You can even make your own inexpensive dog agility course at home!
While volunteering at a local dog rescue, I noticed a treadmill in the middle of their lobby, and a few days later I saw a dog actually using it! After some quick training and supervision, dogs can use the treadmill like humans. They do best on slower settings, but it’s a great way for dogs to get their running in when the weather isn’t great.
6Get the Bubbles
Get in touch with your inner child and break out the bubbles. You will entertain your dog and yourself for hours by blowing bubbles and watching them try to catch them. Cheap and easy!
7Bond with Your Dog through Massage
Massages aren’t just for humans. Dog massage can be therapeutic and can help address overall body issues. There are even special animal-centered masseurs. Modern Dog Magazine offers tips on how to begin massaging your dog for a relaxing experience for both you and your four legged friend.
This is also a great excuse to bust out some coconut oil and use it on your dog’s skin. It’s great for their coats!
If the weather doesn’t allow you and your dog to play in the pool, why not bring the pool inside? If your dog loves water, consider filling the bath tub for them to play in. Make sure to bring their favorite water toys for them to splash around with!
9Put Them to Work
Some dogs are simply not happy until they can do a task or job. Like humans, they need to be contributing something to feel satisfied and content with themselves. If you have a “working” breed dog or a dog in need of a challenge, give them something to do.
While you may not have your dog trained to be a search and rescue dog or a member of the police department or military, there are other jobs they can do. Here are a few “jobs” dogs can be trained to do:
- Clean Up Their Own Toys
- Identify Each of Their Toys by Name
- Find Your Lost Keys
- Get a Soda from the Refrigerator
- Turn Off the Light
Food puzzles are a great way to give your dog a mental workout. The concept is that the dog has to figure out the puzzle in order to get the food. By having this obstacle in front of them, dogs have to think and process what works and what doesn’t so that they can get the delicious reward that they want.
Food puzzles are relatively inexpensive and can be found in most pet stores or online. You can also make your own food puzzle with things that you already have around the house.
11Anything and Everything Kong
If you have a dog and have never heard of a Kong toy, you’ve been missing out! Kongs are the go-to solution for fun toys that your dog will love.
The concept is similar to that of a food puzzle. You put goodies or rewards in the Kong and the dog needs to use their reasoning skills to determine the best way to get that reward out of the Kong.
Kongs are made of special material that is resistant to chewing so your dog won’t be able to chew this toy apart like they’ve probably done with so many others. Check out this list of 7 different Kong uses.
There are many other creative and popular ways to get active with your dog so you can promote a happy and healthy lifestyle. No matter the activity, it’s important to ensure that your dog is getting engaging and enriching activity every day. It won’t only help them, but it will also help you!
Swanson Health Products offers a wide variety of supplements that can help your dog get the necessary nutrition they need to keep up with all this exercise. Check out our products for dogs (and cats too, I suppose) by heading here.
What types of activities do you do with your dog indoors?