Read through our list of fun things to do with your dog at home and give them a try. Let us know if you have any more suggestions; we love hearing from our Canine community.
It’s easy to go a little bonkers when you are stuck indoors. We all know that dogs tend to use up their excess energy in less than useful ways – chewing chair legs, scratching up carpets and bounding all over the place causing trouble!
Of course, dogs need to keep active; it's an evolutionary skill to be able to race after prey – or tennis balls – and to walk long distances to keep up with their pack. When your hound is spending a lot of time inside, it’s great to be able to keep them entertained and tire them out with fun indoor activities for dogs.
We’ve asked around – we had some great responses from you, our Canine community, over on Instagram! – and have done our research to find a whole host of ways you can keep your energetic furball busy while stuck inside for long periods of the day.
Here’s our selection of activities for dogs inside the home…
Hide and seek
A great way to entertain a dog home alone is to wear them out with some mental stimulation. Hide and seek can be great fun for dogs with a keen sense of smell. Use strong-smelling treats, hide them around the house, and see if your pup can sniff them out. Cocktail sausages chopped up can be a great incentive!
Another scent work game you could try with your dog would be hiding treats in a box for them to sniff out. Fill the box with scrunched up newspaper – be sure to remove the staples first! – then let your dog see you hiding treats in the box before letting your pup dive in. You could also hide treats in a snuffle mat.
If your dog is young or new to training, begin with a few of the best-known exercises such as sit, lie down and stay. Once your dog has conquered these tricks, you could try putting it all together as a simple daily exercise routine, for example asking them to move from sit to lie down to stand.
Rear leg awareness
Dogs generally have little rear end awareness; their back paws simply follow their front paws around. A simple way to work on your dog’s rear leg awareness is by teaching your pup to put their back legs onto a raised item like a step. Other dog body awareness exercises include teaching them to walk in a figure-of-eight pattern, getting them to weave through your legs, or teaching them to walk on their back legs. These are all great ways to entertain a dog at home alone.
Teach your dog a trick
Alongside these rear leg awareness exercises, there are plenty more tricks for dogs to learn! Try teaching your dog to roll over, spin around or bark on command. 'Play dead' is a funny trick that will entertain your friends while ‘shake hands’ or ‘high five’ are easy tricks to teach your dog.
If your pup picks these up easily and you’re looking for hard tricks to teach your dog, a couple of the most difficult are ‘army crawling’ and ‘salute’. Both will need a lot of patience but look amazing if your dog can get the hang of them.
Dog obstacle course
An indoor obstacle course is a great game to play with your dog inside. Not everyone will have room to pull this off, but you could lay out a series of obstacles like piles of books or shoes for your dog to navigate around – ideal for smaller dogs in the house!
Create a routine
Larger dogs or anyone who doesn’t have room for a mini obstacle course could instead try a morning routine. For example, you could teach your dog to spin and stay, catch a tennis ball, then take a bow, and try doing this at a similar time each day until your dog has it perfected.
Brain games for dogs
Create a brainteaser or find dog puzzle toys for your faithful friend. There are lots of crafty dog teasers out there you could try making at home – try creating a rope toy from an old T-shirt, or have a go at this tennis ball teaser. You could also pick up a great interactive toy like a lick mat or a Kong.
The shell game for dogs
For some real mental stimulation, try the shell game for dogs where you hide a treat under a cup, leave two empty, and let them pick the right one. This has become super popular and is a great continuation to scent training as your dog will soon learn to sniff out the correct cup.
Drag a treat along the floor
This game to play with your dog inside is one that you may usually associate with cats, but canines have that hunting instinct too! Try dragging a treat or toy around on the ground and see if your dog can get it. This usually leads to a good old game of tug a war.
Balance a treat on their nose
Practise patience by seeing if your dog will let you balance a treat on their nose and wait until they’ve been told they can have it. Put one hand loosely under your dog's chin and place the treat slowly and gently on the flattest part of their nose while reinforcing the command, ‘hold it’.
Repeat these moves every day until your dog can do it without needing your hand to guide them. Before long, you’ll be teaching your dog to catch the treat off their nose!
Doggy day spa
Not all dogs are bursting with energy; some dogs just want to spend time with you. If that’s the case, then a doggy day spa at home might be the ideal way to treat your dog without having to run around in circles with them. A light massage, a brush down and a warm bath is always a wonderful way to relax.
Perhaps your dog doesn’t have a lot of energy – it’s an older hound or simply likes a good nap – so instead, settle down with them for tummy tickles and a good scratch. Spending time with your dog, whether you’re racing around the house or snuggling up on the sofa, is ideal for strengthening your bond and building trust with your canine companion.
If you’re returning to work and are not sure how your dog will react, try giving your dog some time on their own, so they can get used to you not being around constantly. This is particularly useful training with younger dogs who need to know it’s ok to be home alone so they don’t miss you when you go out.
A nice way to ease into it is to give your dog a treat as you leave the house. Practising being home alone will reduce the likelihood of your family pet getting separation anxiety when you go back to work.
Holidays in the UK
Now you’ve read through all these wonderful things to do with your dog at home, go and entertain your bored pup! Teach your old dog a whole host of new tricks or train up your puppy with a few simple exercises.
Ready to plan a dog-friendly holiday so you can try some of these exercises while out and about? We have holiday cottages with big gardens where your dog will have plenty of room for practising their tricks and cottages with fluffy rugs perfect for stretching out at the end of busy days.
Book a dog-friendly holiday and begin looking forward to an exciting break for both you and your faithful friend.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.