Are you looking for simple ways to keep your dog entertained indoors?
Keeping dogs mentally stimulated indoors can be a challenge and actually finding activities to keep your dog busy can be even more exhausting. We are always told how important it is to keep our dogs entertained and mentally stimulated, but why exactly should you care?
When dogs get bored, some unwanted behaviours may surface. Dogs were originally bred to do work for us, but in today’s society most dogs have lost their original jobs, so when they get bored they get themselves into trouble. Dogs come up with their own very creative ways to keep busy. Such activities may include chewing up your couch, barking continuously at the cars outside the window, or ripping up your favourite book.
Luckily there are some simple ways to keep your dog busy, entertained, and out of trouble. First, let’s look at some of the benefits of keeping a dog mentally stimulated.
The Benefits Of Keeping Your Dog Entertained
Keeping your dog entertained can be fun for both you and your dog and the benefits certainly make it worthwhile for all. Here is a list of some of the benefits of having a mentally stimulated dog:
- Simple play can relieve anxiety and stress
- Destructive behaviour can be prevented
- Less nuisance barking
- Less chewing of your favourite items
- Can prevent some forms of aggression
- Better mental stamina in old dogs
- Increase calm behaviour
- Keep them out of trouble
Ways To Entertain Your Dog Indoors
We all now know why it is so important to keep our dogs entertained, but how do you do it without actually leaving the comfort of your home. To get you started on ideas, we have put together a list of activities and games for you and your dog to try. Remember to have fun all the way!
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is an indoor game that doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is for your dog to know the stay command and some kind of treat. We recommend Balanced Life Lamb Crumble Dog Treats as the go-to treat for this exercise. The reason is simple, it is a healthy, all-natural snack in ideal bite-size portions. So how do you play hide and seek?
Ask your dog to stay and run off to go hide in a different area of the house. After you choose your hiding spot, call your dog to come and find you. Every now and then call him again until you are found. Once you are found, congratulate your dog and feed them a yummy treat. After the initial learning period, your dog should become quite good at finding you.
So what is this game good for besides mental stimulation and a lot of fun?
Doing the hide and seek exercise with your dog improves your out of sight recalls. The recall is one of the most important commands a dog can know. You always want a reliable recall especially in potentially dangerous situations.
Sniffing games are good for those times when you would like minimal input into the game. All you need for this game is your dogs’ favourite chew toy or some yummy treats. If your dog doesn’t have a favourite chew toy, consider getting him a Ziwi Deer Shank. So what do you need to do to play a sniffing game?
For this game, all you are required to do is to hide your dogs’ favourite chew toy or some yummy treats or even both all over the house. To start off, make it easy for your dog by hiding the treat or toy within sight until he gets the hang of the game. As your dog gets better, you can make it harder by hiding the toy or treats out of sight. You can even hide multiple toys and treats for your dog to find. Once you are done with hiding the toys and treats, ask your dog to go find it and leave him to it. He will be busy for a while.
Teaching your dog any new command gives their mind a workout. Doing a few 10-minute sessions of training throughout the day burns a lot of mental energy. You can teach some party tricks like rollover or you can do the basic commands like sit, stay or down to start off with. So what do you need to train your dog? All you will really need for this exercise is yummy treats. If you are unsure what to get, we recommend getting Ziwi Peak Good Dog Reward Treats.
To learn new tricks and commands you can join an online dog school or use youtube videos. There are also several books available on dog training if you so prefer.
Dog Puzzle Games
Puzzle games are probably one of the best ways to entertain your dog and can be great fun for both of you. Puzzles usually involve a treat hidden in some kind of contraption toy that your dog needs to manipulate to get the treat. It is best to have several puzzle toys and switch them up when your dog has figured it out. Puzzle toys have many benefits, they can relieve separation anxiety, stress and boredom avoiding a whole bunch of behavioural problems in the process. Here is a list of some puzzle games for your dog to try out:
The Gambling Tower is an interactive dog puzzle which functions as a treat dispenser. All you have to do is fill the toy with treats and let your dog figure out how to release them by pulling on the right loops.
This is an interactive toy with hidden treat compartments. Hide the treats in the toy and watch your dog figure out how to move the cones to open the lid to the hidden compartment.
The Turn Around Dog Activity Toy features 3 containers that dispense treats for your dog when turned around. All you have to do is fill up the containers and watch your dog figure out how to turn them upside down to get the treats.
Interactive Dog Toys
Interactive dog toys are toys with which a dog has to interact to get something from them. The puzzle dog toys mentioned above also fall into this category. The toys we will discuss here aren’t puzzles, but still require interaction. So let’s get to them:
The Roly Poly Snack Egg is a multi-leveled, egg-shaped dog toy. This toy dispenses treats as the dog rolls it around. The egg also has removable layers offering varying levels of difficulty. This toy will keep your dog both mentally and physically stimulated as he moves around with the egg.
The Lick’n’Snack Ball is not a moving toy but still counts as an interactive toy. What you do is stuff the ball with different kinds of treats, mount it to the floor or wall (Unless you want treats all over the place), and let your dog enjoy. It will keep them entertained for quite a while and has the added benefit of keeping your dog in one place so you can keep an eye on them or give them a brush!
Dog snuffle mats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Snuffle mats are excellent for mental stimulation. They consist of multiple hiding spots for treats that the dog then has to sniff out. They are also excellent for slowing down fast eaters. Feed your dog their regular food on a snuffle mat and make sure the food is partially hidden in all the hiding spots. To eat the food, the dog first has to find it, and thus eating speed is reduced.
A Quick Summary
As you now know, there are lots of ways to entertain your dog indoors, even in a small apartment. All of these fun games are also very effective in keeping your dog out of trouble.
If you’re reading this because you’re living in an apartment and thinking about getting a dog, check out this article on the top 5 dog breeds suited to apartment living.
Be creative and consider getting your dog enough toys so that you can rotate them when he gets bored with one. Now it’s time to go have some fun, enjoy!