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Indoor games for dogs

Ideas to exercise your dog and provide mental stimulation while indoors
Dog playing indoor
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April 2020

Finding fun and constructive ways to play with your dog is one of the best parts of being a dog owner.

Sometimes it is not always possible to go outdoors with your dog. But worry not, our Purina petcare brand has put together a list of some of the best indoor games for dogs that not only provide physical exercise but also offer mental stimulation.

So here we go, below are three games to play with your dog to keep them excited, engaged and stimulated without breaking the furniture.

1. Chase the prey

'Chase the prey' lets your dog use their natural prey instincts in a non-destructive way. It also gives them the opportunity to practice impulse control by dropping the object on command.

Dog indoor

Move big pieces of furniture to the sides of a room. Using a flirt pole (a long pole, pipe or stick with a rope attached), tie a toy or some other lure to the rope. Drag it slowly and stop occasionally rather than waving it around rapidly. The slow pursuit helps your dog learn to focus.

Let them catch the lure every so often as a reward. If they never win, they may get discouraged and lose interest.

2. Hide the treat or hide & seek

'Hide the treat' is a great brain game for dogs, as it allows them to use their problem-solving skills. Hide a treat in a place that's difficult to get to in the house and leave a trail of scent by rubbing it on a few spots along the way.

Use language like 'hot' and 'cold' as your dog gets closer or further away from the treat. Changing your tone from calm for 'cold' to excited for 'warm' and 'hot' will build their listening skills, too.

Dog with kids

Like 'hide the treat', 'hide and seek' uses their scent-tracking abilities. Plus, it gives them the opportunity to practice commands like 'stay' and 'come'.

Have your dog stay while you hide. Once you're in position, tell them to come and give them lots of praise when they find you. If they don't know 'stay' yet, have someone distract them until you call.

3. Tug of war

'Tug of war' is a good outdoor or indoor game for dogs. Not only is it fun and engaging, but the pulling and tugging also makes good physical exercise.

Dog tugging

To keep it engaging and fun, let them win occasionally. Don't forget to practice commands like 'drop it', though.

Take care

Indoor games for dogs are beneficial, but anything that's too aggressive or lasts too long can lead to overstimulation. End play sessions while you and your dog are both still having a good time. This leaves them excited for their next play session rather than exhausted and discouraged. By playing these games for dogs with your own furry friend, you'll keep them active and mentally stimulated, but most of all, happy.

For more tips and tricks for dog owners, head over to the articles section on the Purina website.