COVID-19 has been tough on all of us – four-legged friends included! Don’t despair if you’re not able to get out and play as much as you used to. Even though dog parks might be closed and beaches inaccessible, there are plenty of fun games to play with your dog indoors. We have rounded up a dozen favorites, just in time to add a bit more excitement to your dog's day.
1. Search & Sniff
Has your pooch been a really good boy or good girl recently? Or perhaps it’s your dog’s birthday and you want to treat them? Here’s the perfect idea: Hide treats around your home to set your dog off on a tail wagging adventure. Your dog will put their nose to work to find the hidden treasures. You can determine how easy or difficult you want the game to be depending on where you decide to hide them.
Note: We asked some animal fanatics for a few fantastic ways to add even more excitement to this game, and make it just a little more challenging for your dog to find the treats you’ve stashed! Try rolling the treats up in paper and stuffing them inside tubes from kitchen paper or toilet rolls. Hide the “parcels” and encourage your pet to find them. This adds an extra layer of fun. We are pretty sure that your dog won’t be able to get enough!
2. Schedule a Puppy Play Date in the Park
Is the park open where you are? If so, why not schedule a playdate? Call some puppy pals and surprise your dog with a visit from one of his four-legged furiends. You and your fellow dog parents can mask up and enjoy a bit of physically-distanced fun while you plan for better days ahead.
Kongs are great for hiding treats and keeping dogs busy. The toy’s opening is small enough to provide dogs with a challenge but also big enough for a treat to fall out before your dog becomes frustrated.
Need to beat the heat? Kong comes to the rescue here, too. Fill a freezer-safe plastic container with broth and drop the Kong inside. Let it freeze overnight, then take your dog to a safe space where they can enjoy this giant pupsicle without making a massive mess.
Bonus: They’ll be reminded once again why you’re their favorite person!
4. Tug of War
All you need for this old school game is a tough rope and a pawsome dog who’s ready to play. Wiggle the rope, let your dog grab hold, and let the tugging fun begin! This game is great for tiring both of you out, giving you a bit of an upper-body workout, and letting your dog exercise their chompers.
5. Interactive Dog Feeder
Even though your dog may figure it out in a few minutes, interactive dog feeders and puzzles are a great way to keep your canine occupied. They’ll look forward to meals and treats even more than usual when mental stimulation is involved!
6. Hall Ball
A long straight hallway is ideal for this game. Similar to fetch, take a ball and roll it down a long hallway. Your dog will go racing after it without unpredictably tearing through your home.
Pro tip (trust us on this one!): Be sure to put breakable items far out of reach, as this game can quickly turn into a rambunctious romp.
7. Teach an Old Dog Some New Tricks
On sunnier days you’re way more likely to visit the doggie park than sit at home teaching your dog new tricks. Rainy days are pawsome for catching up on all those things you set aside for another day. Especially practicing tricks your dog knows, and teaching them some new ones too!
8. Set up a Mini Obstacle Course
Find items to jump over, things to run or crawl under, and sturdy items to climb, or purchase a DIY dog agility kit online! Your dog will love the attention and the mental workout just as much as they’ll appreciate the opportunity to burn off a bit of energy.
9. Dental Chewers
According to Pet Food Sherpa, dental chew treats like bully sticks are ideal for keeping dogs busy while also cleaning their teeth! Be sure to choose natural options that are easy to digest, since old-fashioned rawhide chews can block your dog’s intestines if they’re swallowed. A trip to the vet isn’t exactly our idea of lockdown fun for dogs!
10. Stair Master (Pup Edition)
Utilize all areas of your home! If you have a staircase, you can throw a ballup the stairs for your dog to retrieve and return to you at the bottom of the steps. Catch, toss, and have your dog return the ball several times to ensure a tired doggie.
Ok, maybe this one isn’t as much for your dog. Regardless, you can still spend quality time with your dog and keep them entertained while catching up on a few shows. As long as you have a chew toy or bone nearby, your dog is bound to enjoy a little down time next to his best mate. This is the perfect activity to round out a day spent in more active pursuits!
Delicious treats, plenty of puzzles, lots of interactive play, and of course, loads of snuggling add up to satisfaction. With a bit of mental stimulation and as much physical exercise as you can drum up, it’s easy to keep your dog happy during lockdown.