During the timeframe when the seasons change and it’s dark outside both when you wake up and likely when you get home from work, it can be challenging to find things to do with our dog to keep them fit and healthy. However, there’s a lot of creative activities you can do to help your dog get some inside exercise. Here are ten easy and fun games you can play inside with your dog when you can’t go out. It can help your dog stay entertained, happy, and not get bored. Plus, they are actually kinds of fun for both you and your pet.

Hide and Seek

If you’ve taught your dog to obey the stay command, this game will be very easy. Otherwise, you may need a partner to keep him sitting while you go hide. This is a favorite game I play with my dog and it’s so simple and easy to do.

Look for Hidden Treats

Bits of kibble or a few treats your dog loves are great for this game. Make your dog stay and then you go hide a few treats somewhere in the house. If you’ve never played this kind of game with your dog, begin in an easy way by putting the treats where he can see them to teach him the idea of the game. It may take a while before he relies on visual clues and starts to use his nose. Once he gets used to the idea of searching for the treats, you can start hiding them in places he can’t find so easily.

Tug of War

If you play it right, tug of war is a good method of getting your dog some exercise and a great play session. Prior to playing this game, however, your dog needs to understand the “drop it” as well as the “leave it” commands. But if the dog becomes too excited or starts to mouth you, you need to stop playing. And despite the fact some people think you shouldn’t let your dog win because it will make them think they are the boss, studies have revealed it really doesn’t do that and it can actually make the dog have more fun and he’ll want to play the game more often.

Which Hand Game

This game is great to begin to teach dogs to work with their nose. Just put a treat or some dog kibble in your hand, then hold out both hands with them in a fist shape. Tell your dog to pick a hand. If he does not play nicely and tries to claw or bit your hands, then teach him some manners first. If he picks the right hand, he gets the treat.

Put the Toys Away

This game is one of me and my dog both love. Likely one reason is that he gets a lot of praise afterward. You begin by telling your pooch to go get one of their toys from near wherever you keep them. Then tell them to “drop it” while you stand overtop the toy storage place. It could take a while for him to figure out exactly what you want, as it did with my dog, but if you be patient and praise them a lot, they will soon learn to clean up their toys.

Free Shaping Games

This kind of exercise builds a certain way you want your dog to act, dependent on a few little steps. It is a way to train your dog something new where you don’t have to physically correct them. Instead, you encourage a dog’s natural capability to learn stuff. A simple way to begin this game is to use some kind of prop, such as a cardboard box and a clicker. Then, set the box in the room, and wait until your pet touches the box, but don’t give them a signal to do so. When he does touch the box, with a foot, nose or whatever, click the clicker and praise him. Eventually, you can build up the behavior and get the dog to put a specific body part into the box.

Learning Toy Names

Research says a dog is about as smart as a two year old kid and that they can learn more than two hundred words. Put that brainpower to good use by teaching your dog what their toy’s names are. Begin with one of their toys and give it a name. Dogs usually rate their toys with a certain value so if you repeat that name as you play with the toy, they will eventually learn that name. If you then practice with several other toys, soon you can tell your dog to go get a specific toy, and they should do it easily.

Treat Distributors and Recipes for Kong Toys

An easy way to entertain your dog is by using a Kong toy or some kind of treat distributor. There’s a lot of these on the market, but be sure to watch when you provide a new one. Sometimes dogs can destroy a toy easily, so you want to be sure they are safe. You can also make things more challenging by freezing the treats prior to putting them in the toy or dispenser.

Puzzles and Interactive Toys

There are lots of dog toys available that are interactive, i.e. chasing, chewing and even puzzles they have to figure out. If you have a dog who loves to chase things, hook a toy to a string and hook that to a pole or stick and then shake it around and let him chase it. You can use a bungee type cord so it’s easier on the dog’s neck once they catch the toy. Or try using a muffin tin to make a puzzle. You’ll also need treats and tennis balls. Put the treats into the muffin tray, put the tennis balls in to hide the treats, and see if your dog can find them!

The 3 Cup Game

This is another game to get your dog to use his nose. You need three cups of any kind and some treats. Line up the cups while your dog is watching you. Then put a treat under a cup and then see if he can figure out which cup it’s under. If he picks the right one, praise him and give him the treat. Once he knows how the game works, mix up the cups and see if he can still find the treat under the right cup.

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