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13 Ways To Keep Your Dog Busy When You’re Stuck Indoors

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on December 7, 2017

Winter is rapidly approaching. In fact, for some areas of the world, it’s already here!

Whether you are snowed in, housebound due to chilly rain, or simply feeling under the weather, these 13 activities will keep your pooch entertained when heading outside isn’t an option.

1. Play nosework games.

Nosework is a wonderful bonding exercise and a fun alternative to basic fetch – plus your dog gets delicious snacks as a reward! If your pooch is new to nosework, you’ll want to start by placing a few small, healthy treats around the room as your dog watches.  Next, give the command, “Find the treats!” and offer lots of encouragement and praise each time she finds one.

Once she understands what “find the treats” means, increase the difficulty by having her wait in another room while you hide them under throw rugs, in couch crevices, etc. Your dog will quickly get the hang of using her powerful nose and you can advance to more challenging activities each time you play!

2. Exercise your pup’s brain.

Stimulate your dog’s mind and build her problem solving skills by playing the “shell game”. Place a treat under one of three cups while your pup watches. Shuffle the cups around and once again, encourage her to “Find the treat.”

3. Fill a stuffable treat toy with delicious snacks.

Non-toxic, indestructible rubber reward toys such as Kongs and iHeart My Dog Stuffable Treat Toys are a perfect way to entertain a bored pooch. Simply fill them with a favorite snack and watch your pup work for her reward! (Just make sure to always supervise your pup, especially heavy chewers who may destroy the toy and try to ingest the pieces.)

4. Have your pooch help with the chores.

She may not be able to fold laundry, but your dog can help out around the house! Start small by teaching her to fetch your slippers. Snowed in? Get really fancy and train your pooch to retrieve items from the refrigerator!

5. Play hide and seek.

Hide and seek is an excellent way to teach or reinforce the “stay” command with your pooch. It also involves exercise, problem solving, and improves the human-animal bond! If your dog has not mastered “stay” like the pup in the video, have another human hold her in place until you give the command for her to come find you.

6. Learn some new tricks together.

Even the most skilled dogs could learn a thing or two! Check out this list of 52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog – complete with instructions and photos.

7. Create a DIY puzzle toy from household items.

Do you have any boxes, water bottles, yogurt containers or tennis balls around the house? Then you can make a fun puzzle toy for your pup! Here are 6 ridiculously simple DIY food puzzles you can make from everyday items in your home.

8. Have a relaxing grooming session.

Bathing and brushing are important parts of a healthy doggy routine. Unfortunately, it is easy for these tasks to fall by the wayside when our schedules get jammed. Make up for lost time while trapped inside by giving your pup a relaxing spa day! Check out these 5 hacks from our resident groomer for simple home grooming.

9. Master the art of doggie massage.

Canine massage is easy, feels great, and can help soothe and relax nearly any dog. Some of the benefits include:

  • increased circulation
  • decreased muscle pain
  • better flexibility
  • stress relief
  • stronger human-animal bond

Check out this easy instructional video from eHow Pets!

10. Blow bubbles.

That’s right – bubbles! The same inexpensive, non-toxic bubble toys that keep toddlers amused can also keep your pup entertained. There are even a few dog toys on the market, like this one that blows bacon-scented bubbles! They come in very handy when you are under-the-weather and can’t get off the couch to play with your pup!

11. Make a homemade toy.

Studies show that dogs get bored with the same old toys. Rather than constantly buying new ones, try rotating them or get creative and make a DIY toy or two! Many can be made from old clothes, towels, water bottles and other items around the house. It’s a fun way to pass the time when you are trapped inside, and your pooch will love you for your efforts!

12. Bake your own simple dog treats.

OK, so your dog can’t participate in this one, but she’ll certainly appreciate the end result! Plus, making your own treats will give you a supply of fresh, healthy, exciting rewards to use for the games above. Check out for dozens of simple recipes using a variety of healthy ingredients.

13. Invite a friend over for a playdate.

Does your pup have a BFF – canine or human? Invite that special dog or person (or both) to ride out the storm with you! Nothing is more exciting for our super social pups than a visit with a friend!


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