Dogs come from the bloodline of hunting and foraging animals — wolves. It’s no wonder then that it’s deeply embedded within a dog’s nature to want to run around and play. A dog is an outdoor animal no matter how you choose to look at it, and a prime scavenger at that. And in order to make the indoors a more natural habitat for dogs, owners must find ways to keep their dogs busy and mentally stimulated.
Now, fortunately, that’s the fun part of owning a dog, aside from the kisses and cuddles. So if you’re thinking about how do I keep my dog entertained indoors, here are some fun ways to keep your dog entertained indoors.
Play a Game
Looking for some fun things to do with your dog at home? There are a number of entertaining games you could play with your dog. Playing games with your dog has a threefold benefit — it keeps them entertained, it helps to strengthen your bond with your canine companion, and it gives them an excuse to exercise, which is integral for growing dogs.
But you may be wondering, what kind of games can you play with your dogs indoors? Here are some creative ideas.
Tug of War
Use a piece of thick and strong jute or hemp rope and have a good old one-on-one bout of tug with your dog. Dogs love exercising their jaws on different things, just make sure you factor in their size and strength when you’re pulling on your end of the rope. You don’t want to accidentally harm their teeth. Your goal here isn’t to win, just to keep your dog engaged.
Dogs are natural scavengers with excellent scent detection. Hide some treats around the house and make your dog go searching for them. It will keep them busy for a long time and help them register more scents in their olfactory memory, which helps improve their scavenging abilities.
ALSO READ: 5 Tips To Train Your Dog With Treats
Play Hide And Seek
Alternatively, you could just hide and have your dog look for you. It’s an entertaining game for both of you. But you probably need a nice large house with lots of hiding spots to play this game. Just a word of caution, some dogs may experience separation anxiety if you’re hidden for too long. So, remember to come out if your dog can’t find you and starts to howl.
There are a number of games to play with your puppy inside. A dog’s brain needs just as much exercise as its body. Various toy puzzles and interactive games have been designed especially for dogs that you can purchase at pet stores or online and solve them together. They will help keep boredom at bay and reduce the tendency for destructive behavior.
Enjoy a Grooming Session
Dog grooming is a rewarding experience and one of the most fun ways to keep your dog busy indoors. And, don’t forget, dogs are perceptive creatures. They know you’re caring for them and enjoy being groomed as long as you’re gentle.
Your dog’s hair needs to be brushed and trimmed from time to time, especially if you own a breed that sheds often. Make sure you get the right grooming tools and don’t forget to attend to the area around the ears.
Too much hair growth can start to irritate dogs and cause them to scratch excessively. Another important reason to groom your dog regularly is to check for and remove fleas or small bugs that may be nestled in their fur.
Here’s a checklist of all the areas so you don’t miss anything during grooming:
– Use a soft damp cloth to wipe around your dog’s eyes.
– Use a small damp cloth to clean out the wax from inside their ears and make sure you get the folds too. Never use Q-tips for dogs because they can damage their eardrums.
– If your dog’s nose is too dry, there are some high-quality balms available to remedy that. But also make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water.
– Brush your dog’s teeth.
– Brush your dog’s fur coat.
– Use curved or straight scissors to trim your dog’s coat.
– Trim your dog’s nails.
– Clean their paws and moisturize them regularly to prevent cracking.
– Bathe your dog.
– Give your dog a nice long massage.
ALSO READ: Grooming your Puppy for the First Time
Teach Your Dog to Clean Up
If you’re looking for fun ways to keep your dog busy indoors, this one will keep them occupied for a while.
Dogs are undoubtedly one of the messiest pets you can own. They love creating a mess and getting themselves dirty from time to time. It’s part of their nature. But you can teach them to clean up after themselves in small ways, like putting their toys back in the box after playing with them, wiping their paws on the front mat before entering the room/house, or going outside to take a leak.
It takes some time, training, and patience, but this training can be an excellent diversion for bored dogs. Training them to clean up after themselves is how you communicate your desire for cleanliness. Eventually, they will pick up on this because all dogs want to please their owners.
“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For, after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” — Charles M. Schulz
Get Your Pup to Help with Chores
Wondering how do I keep my dog entertained and busy? Here’s an idea for you.
Puppies and dogs are more than just playmates and companions. They’re remarkably intelligent and can outperform humans in many different tasks, too, such as hunting or scavenging. Many dogs have actual jobs in society just like humans.
Dogs have been employed for hunting, guarding livestock or homes, in the police force, the entertainment industry, and even for therapy. The list of things dogs can do is virtually endless, so they’re a lot like humans in that regard. It’s no wonder we get along.
Puppies are in their most impressionable years and can learn a lot of new tricks at that age, so you might as well teach them to do some basic domestic chores. It will make your life easier and keep your dog busy indoors.
Here are some examples of chores you can teach your dog to give its life some sense of routine and structure:
– Fetching the newspaper.
– Sorting laundry.
– Closing doors.
– Picking up trash and putting it in the bin.
– Searching for lost items around the house.
– Delivering messages to other family members in other rooms.
– Mopping the floor.
Remember to reward your dog well for its efforts in helping you maintain your household. It helps foster a sense of accomplishment from doing these things. It also teaches dogs that they should make an effort to earn their rewards.
“Dogs should be allowed as much liberty as they can responsibly handle. The greatest gift of training is that it increases the dog’s ability to handle liberty.” — Chad Mackin
Bake Dog Treats
How do I keep my dog from getting bored in the house? How do you keep yourself from getting bored in the house? The answer is food, of course!
Dogs don’t have much to celebrate besides their birthdays and whenever you’re in a good mood. They are giving creatures as opposed to taking, and that’s why everyone loves them. It would be nice if you set aside a day just for your dog to make it feel special.
The best way to a dog’s heart is through its stomach. There are a number of delicious treats you can bake at home that dogs love. A dog’s palate, as opposed to its sense of smell, is not that complex, so dog treats are very easy to make. Peanut butter treats, meatballs, and cookies are popular with both puppies and adult dogs.
There are a number of recipes you can find online, and most don’t require more than 5 ingredients and half an hour.
Blowing bubbles can be a fun playtime activity, especially for puppies that are naturally curious about everything. Watching them chase bubbles can also be a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience for you.
Puppies need all the running around they can get so that they’re exhausted at the end of the day and sleep well. And bubbles are something they can enjoy timelessly.
When you’re playing with puppies make sure you use a really mild soap or bubble foam that won’t hurt their eyes.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” — Samuel Butler
As you already know, dogs have a sharp nose and their curious mind makes them love sniffing new things. Scent games can be a great way to channel those instincts and keep your dog stimulated while indoors. The aim of the game is to harness the information about the world your dog gathers through its sense of smell and to teach them how to communicate what they’re smelling.
The Muffin Tin Puzzle is a fun and easy introductory scent game to help you get started. All you need is an empty muffin tin, 12 tennis balls, and some dog treats. First, place a few treats in the tin hole and allow your dog to sniff them. Then, move away from your dog, put the treats randomly into other tin holes, and cover the holes with tennis balls. You can now pass the puzzle to your dog to let them explore it. They can move the tennis balls to find treats. Every time your dog successfully picks up the scent, its reward is the treat hidden underneath.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Teaching your dog new tricks takes patience. Not every dog is a fast learner, but once they learn something, they hardly ever forget it, which is their strength. Here are some useful and some cool tricks to teach your dogs, just make sure you add some rewards for their efforts:
This is the first and most important trick every owner should first teach their puppies. Dogs are restless and full of energy, but you will sometimes need them to stay calm so you can clean them, clip their nails, or clean up around the house undisturbed.
Teaching your dog how to shake hands or when to shake hands can help socialize them with other humans. It also teaches them about how humans greet each other as opposed to their version of a handshake, which is butt-sniffing.
“Fetch” is another useful command to teach your dog. They’re smart enough to understand what words mean in the context of a small sentence. Once they know what fetch is and what a newspaper is, the next time you say “fetch newspaper,” your dog will go fetch you the newspaper.
What “No” Means
This isn’t a trick so much as it is a command, but dogs absolutely need to be taught what “no” means at a very young age. They need to be made to understand the boundaries between playfulness and aggressiveness, and how to behave around children. Until dogs are taught what “no” means, they will carry on doing whatever they want assuming you’re okay with it and that can be dangerous.
“Roll over” is a basic trick that every dog can learn, even puppies. It’s not supposed to be useful in any way but it is entertaining. The more tricks you teach your dog, the better it can understand you.
Importance of Keeping Your Dog Busy
Dogs are highly energetic social creatures — this should come as no shocker. And they share a lot in common with humans. In fact, there are more ways in which humans and dogs are alike than different.
Just like humans, dogs can also experience loneliness, depression, boredom, and anxiety. They arguably have an even greater need to feel connected, feel like a part of the family, and have a purpose. You can give a dog food, water, shelter, and basic healthcare for the rest of its life, but what ultimately makes or breaks its happiness is its connection with you.
This sense of connection is fostered, repaired, or strengthened every time you and your dog have activities together, or at least if you’re involved in some way. Dogs can’t lay on their backs and rest all day. They need exercise when they’re outdoors and constant mental stimulation while they’re indoors to live a fulfilling life. Dog depression is real and can bring out aggressive behaviors when left unchecked.
“Be the most interesting human your dog has ever met” — Ralf Weber
Hope you find this guide on how to keep dog entertained indoors insightful. Dogs can become quite lucid once they mature. That’s the allure of this creature; they can establish connections with humans deeper than the ones we share with our own species.
Indoor activities are integral to maintaining your bond with your dog and to help them fight boredom.