Indoor Doggy Games

Bored? Play a game with your dog!!

I live in Southern Georgia, most people move to the South to avoid the dramas of the weather known to our cohorts to the North.  Being from Wyoming, I know the joys and horrors of winter and most of the time I joke that we don’t even have seasons here in the South it is just one extended summer.  However, much to my chagrin we have had a winter this year.  My pipes have frozen, and I have had to scrape my windows more than a dozen times (after 3 years I had to buy a window scraper).

The whole country it seems has been experiencing a winter of record, so I thought while we are all cooped up inside we should discuss some of my favorite foul weather games to pass the time until spring comes and we can get outdoors and get the exercise we are all in need of!

Dogs need mental stimulation, without it they begin to choose naughty behavior and get into trouble.  Our dogs cannot watch television, they can’t read books or do any of the things we usually enjoy when exercise outside is not an option.  However, they still have the same amount of pent up energy building up day by day and they need a way to expel it.

The easiest way to entertain your dog is to give him something exciting to chew.  Chewing is a minimal form or exercise and mental stimulation for your dog.  Often, if we don’t provide an appropriate chewy, our dogs will begin chewing things that they shouldn’t put their mouths on.  Chewing gives them something to do.

I also like to play indoor games with my dogs when the weather is bad, or when their energy level is driving me crazy and I can’t take them outside for some physical exercise.  The whole point of playing games with your dog is for both of you to enjoy yourselves!  Pick games or invent games that you will both enjoy.

I love to play hide and seek with my dogs!!  Hide and seek not only builds a bond, it also teaches your dog to find you utilizing his other senses; his sense of smell and his sense of sound.  I want my dog to know how to find me using all his senses just in case there is ever an emergency.  Instead of panic at being lost, by playing this game, I have given my dog the tools to find me and he thinks he is playing his favorite game.  This is also a great way to teach your dog that the word “COME” is the most exciting and fun word he can hear.

  • I often use a helper (or you have to tell your dog to stay), this is great for kids, and one person holds the dog’s collar while the other person dashes off and hides.
  • Both people should stuff their pockets with great treats.  As soon as the person finds a fun hiding spot they should call the dog and encourage him with every step “Rover, Come…good boy, come, good boy, good boy, good boy COME!”  this excitement and encouragement gives him the motivation to find you.
  • When he finds you, praise him and give him a treat while person #2 dashes off to hide.
  • Repeat this process.  In the beginning, I like to hide in easy spots, like just in the next room, as play continues I enjoy hiding in funny places like in the bathtub, under the table or in his crate.  The one rule, have fun and enjoy, your dog has a sense of humor, make him laugh!

I also like to hide my dog’s toys and teach him to find them.  Find your dog’s favorite toy, first I like to wave it around in front of him to get him excited.  Next I hide it in an easy spot, beside me or behind me and tell him to find it.  Praise him and you can even give him a treat when he finds his toy.  Next try hiding the toy in a more precarious but semi-easy place.  You may have to use a helper or tell your dog to stay as you hide his toy.

  • During this stage I hide the toy so it just sticks out and is barely visible.  Once he has mastered this process begin to hide the toy better so that he cannot see it.  Tell him to find it.  You may have to follow behind or walk past the toy to help him at first.  Don’t show him where it is, just stand near and encourage him to look or sniff for it.  The next step is to hide the toy on all different levels in your home.
  • Don’t just hide the toy on the floor or in one room, also utilize higher surfaces like book shelves or chairs, next move it even higher and perhaps even out of his reach.  Challenge his brain so that he never knows where his toy might be.  Sometimes, I even hide it in my pocket or in other silly places.  Have a good time, mix it up and enjoy bonding.
  • The next and final stage is to use a specific name for specific toys.  This gives you the option to hide 2 toys at once and ask for him to bring you one.  I like this game because I can hide a few toys and sit and watch TV while he has to go and find them!

There are many things to do inside to entertain yourself and your four legged friend when the weather is bad!  Teach your dog  a trick!  Let me know what trick you would like to teach your dog!!

Don’t let the weather get you down, grab your best friend and play some games, if you do this you will build a bond that lasts a lifetime!

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  1. Laura says:

    Thanks for these indoor doggy games! I am interested in group games or group tricks that I can teach 5 fairly well behaved weims at once. I have minimal time so it is hard for me to try to teach tricks or play games individually with my boyz. I realize individual time is important but right now that is not an option for me but I know my boyz are getting bored with the routine: sit, down, stay (although they really have a hard time with that one), shake, catch (the treat), look at me, gentle. We do this every afternoon after we walk but I know they would like something new atleast once a week.


    Joseph Turtle Cruse Reply:

    A really easy one to teach is crawl,all you have to do is to get him to lie “down” and then drag a treat infront of him,its lots of fun and its a great way to get rid of some energy,I taut my crazy energetic pup Billie in 10 second lol.


  2. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the ideas, I work at a doggy day care and am always trying to come up with new ways to entertain a big group of dogs! – so far Bubbles have been the best!


  3. Evelyn says:

    I have a mini Schnauzer/JRT mix (yeah, no energy there) that loves playing “Find It”. Lots of times I’ll put his bone under his blanket and tell him to find it, even wrapping it up so he has to work at it. I’ll also hide small treats or kibble around the room and have him find them.
    I recently had the gravel taken out of my backyard and synthetic grass put in so I now take him out to my fairly large side yard (large by AZ standards), have him “watch me” while I throw 2 or 3 pieces of kibble or small treats then tell him to “find it”, this usually ends in several laps of zoomies followed by a long nap!
    My biggest challenge is I use a walker to get around, so finding things I can do with him alone (I live alone) to work off his energy is difficult.


  4. Laura says:

    Thanks again for sharing this. With the boyz inside the house, it is a challenge just walk around sometimes so I like the hide and seek…I just don’t know how to manage it with 5 weims…they don’t give me the chance to hide…or they are born cheaters!


  5. Deanne says:

    Hi there, I have a 15.5 month old Chiweenie. We cannot go outdoors when it is raining and we live in the Pacific Northwest. We get a lot of rain.

    I buy him toys, munchies, a kitten, and we still need other ideas!



  6. Jasmine says:

    Another way to play hide and seek is to throw a toy down a hallway or across a yard. Then while your dog is retrieving the toy, you go and hide somewhere. Because your dog will want you to throw the toy again, they will try and find you. If they have trouble you can make some noise. I usually bang on an object that I am near. If she finds me I will give her a treat or a pat.


  7. jayla simpson says:

    i think this website is amazing …it defanitallie helps my 6 dogs train and me n my dogs enjoy the games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Carole M Cole says:

    I used to have a cat that could find the lazer pointer no matter where I hid it. I started with a solid pottery jar on a shelf 7 feet up – hiding it while he was outside. He would sit in front of the shelves and stare up at the jar and meow. lazer pointers can be addictive for some critters…but none of my dogs have loved it as much as that cat…
    Had a border collie that could find toys hidden in drawers or under couch cushions. I would try hard to be sure that I gave no subtle unintended cues and she had uncanny accuracy.


  9. Katy says:

    I have a 30mounths Pomeranian. he is so smart and has good behavior at home but the only problem I have about him is that he is just barking too much for everything!! for example even when I am trying to hide his toys in order to make him find them and be busy for a few hours he just starts barking in order to make me find it for him !!! he barks at everything !! when the doorbell rings, when the cellphone rings, when guests come to my house even if he knows them! and he never gets tired ! he is full of energy and I am not able to take him for walks regularly so he just starts a never ending barking until he makes me take him out… :l


  10. Katy says:

    I don’t think he is such an alpha dog because he is obeying every command and rule I give him..


  11. Marian says:

    Sounds like he’s got YOU trained Katy 😀
    Bark for long enough and he will get taken out …. 😉


  12. Lyndel Maroske says:

    Hi Minette,

    I would like to teach my dogs to grab their own dinner mats at dinner time. How would I go about teaching them to do that? The mats stay under a coffee table and when I get them out they know to go and sit on them and wait for their dinner kong or bowl and be told they can eat. it would be cool if they could get their own mats out thought!


    Minette Reply:

    search my articles for teaching a retrieve


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