FREE Indoor Games and Exercise for your Dog

Dog with ball in mouth - Free dog games and exerciseBy Michele L. Meyer

We often hear about an increase in undesirable behaviors with dogs when there is a lot of rain or cold weather.  This is often due to dogs getting less exercise and having too much built up energy.  Try some of these inside games when you are unable to exercise your dogs outdoors…although they are fun games to play any time of year 🙂

The Come Game
This game is best suited for two or more people. One person calls Fido to them and rewards him when he gets there with a treat, toy, play, etc. Then continue with the next person. Start in close proximity of each other and when your dog is ready, gradually build the distance between you.

Hide and Seek
Once your dog masters the above, now you can turn it into a game of Hide and Seek by starting to move around and gradually making it harder for your dog to find you. Just be careful not to make it too hard too quickly or your dog might give up. And never scare your dog…when he finds you he gets rewarded with a treat, toy, etc.

Find It
Teach your dog to find treats or toys. First put him into a “stay”. If he does not know “stay”, then put a leash on him and safely secure him to something or let another person hold him by the leash while you hide the item. At first make it very easy to find and let him see where you are placing the item. Return to him and tell him “Find It” and then release him to get it. Once he learns the “Find It’ command, you can gradually make it harder for him to find.

Do not underestimate the power of tricks. Teaching your dog tricks provides a lot of beneficial mental stimulation which can also tire our dogs out. But if it is physical exercise you are seeking, tricks is great for that too! A few examples are…puppy push-ups and crawl are great for their legs…beg/sit pretty and roll over are good strength training exercises for their core…and bow is great for stretching and preventing injury. Those are just a few. There are many more awesome tricks you can teach your dog.  Check out our fun dog tricks videos!

For an inexpensive starter puzzle… try hiding treats in a muffin tin and covering them with tennis balls. Put treats in every slot at first but once your dog has the idea, then gradually reduce the number of slots that have treats but all slots should still be covered by the balls.
If your dog masters this puzzle quickly, there are more advanced puzzles that you could purchase.

Indoor Agility
If you have a safe area indoors with enough space, you might want to try a portable at-home agility kit for another fun way to exercise your dog indoors. Just be sure to purchase one that can be used indoors and not one that requires staking to the ground.

We hope you enjoy these games with your dog. For help teaching any of the above or for more fun ways to exercise and play with your dog, check out our Fun Fit Fido Program.