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Indoor Dog Games Suggested by a Dog

6 min read
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Are you a dog who is stuck indoors with a bored owner? Don’t worry, here’s a few indoor dog games for you both to have fun when you can’t go out – or just if the weather’s not great outside.


Hide and seek for dogs

Your owner loves this indoor dog game because they get to do the same thing as you. They’ll get someone to hold you, or if you are a really good dog, ask you to wait while they run off giggling to themselves at thoughts of how well they can hide from you (although they have no idea just how good our noses are!). After a bit you’ll hear them shout ‘Ready!’ from a long way off or what they think is their fabulous hiding place Now, if your owner has personal hygiene ‘challenges’ you’ll find this dog hide and seek game super simple, but even if not, they’ll still leave a strong enough scent trail just from walking over the carpet for you to follow.

They’ll say something like ‘How did you find me so fast? What a clever dog!’ while you look smug and accept all the praise and treats. When it’s your turn to hide make sure that your tail isn’t sticking out. Then try not to fall asleep before you hear your owner shouting ‘I give up!’ as sadly, their noses are nowhere near as good as ours. Poor dears… I mean how do they hunt down their treats!?


Dog memory game

This is one of those indoor dog games that your human will think is funny and loves to play. They will say this is a game that teaches you to count, but actually it’s a game that teaches them to remember.

Watch closely while your owner puts three treats into their pocket. Then they’ll take one out and give it to you, which obviously you’ll eat. Then they’ll give you another and you’ll eat that too. But then they’ll walk away and forget that they still have one more treat in their pocket.

So you’re following them around, nuzzling at their pocket, maybe giving an impatient bark or two, and they’re pretending not to know, asking, ‘What is it? There’s no more’.

But you know there’s one more and after you’ve pestered them for a bit, they’ll finally give it you and say ‘Well done, you can count to three, good dog!’ Trouble is next time you play this game they’ll forget about that third treat again (or maybe the fourth or fifth if they are really generous), which just proves how bad their memories really are. Never mind… Maybe if you keep training them, they will finally get the hang of it…

What’s your toy’s name?

Want to polish up your brain skills alone with your ‘human language’ learning skills? Then give this indoor dog game a go.

Let your owner take one of the toys you really love, then they’ll call your toy a name. This is like learning a foreign language. They’ll say the name and either throw it for you to get, or give you a treat, so you know what word your person uses for that toy.

Then they will hide it somewhere and ask you to find by name. This is pretty easy to start with as it is the only toy there – but at least you can learn a new word in ‘human’.

Once you get the hang of it, they might hide it, or even put it with other toys – to make sure you’ve learnt the word.

When we did it my person used my favourite chewy turtle and called it Greeny because it was green. Then he said, OK, find Greeny… go find Greeny’. This was a totally new word for me as I’ve never called my turtle ‘Greeny’! I call him ‘Shelly’ partly because he has a shell and also because I can’t see colours that well – especially greens and reds - but I thought I’d better play along so I went and got Shelly – which my human was really pleased with. More treats for me! It got harder when Shelly was put with other toys, as I had to remember this new human name – but I’m a clever dog so soon worked it out.

Well, my owner was amazed and said ‘Clever dog! You found Greeny, well done!’ One day I’ll tell them it’s Shelly but right then I didn’t want to spoil the moment. It seems to be one of their favourite indoor dog games, after all. I’m now waiting to see what they call Fuzzface…


Dog agility course

This dog obstacle course is a fun indoor dog game and lets you and your owner enjoy some more fun, active play together.

They’ll get really inventive and put things like towels and toys on the carpet in the shape of some sort of course. It’s a bit like DIY but without the flatpack or the bewildering instructions. Then you have to watch while your owner shows you how to get round this thing they have created. Except it’ll take them ages but it’s really funny to watch them crawling around on the floor as they seem to have no idea what to do with their back legs! When it’s your turn show them how to do the course properly. They’ll love sitting down watching you whizz about, discovering treats and toys they have hidden in there as rewards, while giving you encouragement from the sofa. All that activity must have worn them out!

This indoor dog game is a great form of exercise, and it’s pretty fun, too so I’d keep encouraging them on this one. After all, they look like they could use the exercise.


Dog treasure hunt

This is one of the best indoor dog games because it combines exercise and brain work. And of course, some great treats! Perfect.

Allow your owner to hide several treats in various rooms of the house or in all kinds of different places. Then when they say ‘Go!’ you can rush around sniffing and nuzzling everywhere. Obviously, you can smell where all the treats are straight away, but don’t hurry to find them because this is the ideal opportunity to clamber all over the chairs and sofas – and to get them to join in and help you. This is great enrichment for them – and you know that working together improves your relationship. Eventually, after you’ve enjoyed all the treats bask in the glory while your owner admires your fabulous nose and calls you ‘Sherlock’. Hopefully they will be so impressed that they will do it again – but find more inventive and fun places to hide the treats. It’s good to keep giving them challenges.


Which hand is it in?

Another great way to help your owner learn how to tell their left from their right is when they take a treat, hide their hands behind their back then bring them out and ask you to pick which hand the treat in.

They’ll look at you saying, ‘Which hand is it in? Left hand or right hand? Which hand, which hand?’ Obviously, it’s in the hand that smells of treat but you don’t let on. To play along, move your head from side to side like you’re really thinking hard and maybe scowl a bit too.

Eventually tap the correct hand with your nose – or even your paw if you like - and quietly accept the treat while they go loopy about how clever you are. Some indoor, owner-training games are super easy, and this is one of them. And maybe they will eventually learn which hand is which.

Guess which cup?

This indoor dog game is a really easy for dogs but for some reason owners seem to find it hard. They might be a bit dumb, but we still love them.

What happens in this dog treat game is that they take three paper cups or sometimes plastic flowerpots (and that’s even easier as they have holes in the top), turn them upside down, and then hide a treat underneath one. So far, so simple. Don’t worry… it doesn’t get much harder.

Then your owner will mix up the positions of the cups and say, ‘OK, which one’s it under?’ Now, if they want to know where the treat is, why did they mix the cups up? They can be puzzling creatures. And they’ll stare at you as if they’re totally confused and you think, ‘OK, I guess I have to show you… again.

You sniff each cup and obviously the one that smells of treat has the treat underneath. And you prod that cup with your nose or casually with your paw, and they go, ‘Oh wow, what a clever dog!’ Errr… I’m a dog and finding things by sniff is what we do but it amazes them every time.

Secret tip: Sometimes get it wrong. This will encourage them to do it again – and you’ll get more treats.

Tidy up dog toy game

We dogs always know where our stuff is and we like to be surrounded by our favourite things so we never need to tidy up or see any point in it. After all, things are only going to get messy again. Unfortunately, our owners seem to think their houses look nicer when there aren’t toys all over the floor. Strange, I know.

They’ve invented this cool indoor dog game where they give you a treat every time you tidy up your toys into their box. 
This does mean they have to teach us a few skills first because tidying up is just not a ‘dog thing’ so it definitely doesn’t come naturally to us (although we are good at taking things ‘out’ of the toy box!). So first of all, they have to teach us to go and get things, then pick them up and then retrieve them – before they can finally teach us to put them in the toy box.

This is a bit of work – but the great news is that you get to spend loads of time with your beloved human while they are teaching these cool skills – and there will be loads of treats in store for you. Your human might not understand just how difficult this game is but they will be really impressed when you have both mastered it as it will impress their friends. Which means more treats!

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