Keeping Your Dog Happy Inside Your Home

Sometimes, getting outside with your dog isn’t an option. How do you keep your pet pooch occupied, active, and happy while you’re both inside? Activities and play can help so your furry friend stays stimulated.

Why Your Dog Needs Activity

Dogs need to move and play to stay in good physical and mental health. Regular activity helps them relieve stress. Games, exercise, and toys may prevent naughty behaviors like chewing your stuff, barking a lot, or making a puddle on your carpet.

Activities Pups Can Do Indoors

You can keep your puppy happy and entertained even in an apartment or other small indoor spaces. If you do remote work during the day, it’s important to find some distractions for your pooch so everyone stays happy and sane.

Chew away the hours. Most dogs like to chew. Chewing is a natural instinct and can help keep their teeth clean, too. Make sure your fur baby has something to chew on other than the legs of your favorite chair. A chewy toy or bone can keep your buddy busy and happy for a while. Tough nylon chew toys are nearly indestructible and may be better than rawhide chews, which can break into pieces. Stay away from hard bones that can break teeth or splinter and harm the GI tract.

Play indoor games. Hide and seek is an easy game to play indoors with your dog. First, command them to sit or stay. Then, you go into another room or inside your bedroom closet. Call them to come find you.

If you have enough room inside your home, like in a basement or rec room, teach your pup to do agility exercises. Set up a little obstacle course that they have to run around to get to the finish line for a treat. You can teach your dog to weave around objects or hop over them.

There are devices that play with your four-legged friend while you get some work done in another room. Some toss balls for a round of fetch and return, then toss them again. These devices even toss small tennis balls a short distance, so they’re perfect for an apartment.

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Your dog can also play a game following a bone-shaped toy that moves around the room powered by a motor. You set how fast it will move and for how long. These toys may be a good short-term distraction if you’re on a web conference for work.

Make them work for treats. Hide treats so your dog has to seek them out. Place a treat inside of an empty box. Leave other boxes nearby that don’t have any. Tell your dog to find it -- they’ll have to figure out how to open the box to get it. Make the game more of a challenge by turning the box upside down so it’s harder to open.

Stuff treats inside toys so your dog has to work for them. There are toys designed to hold either chewy treats or mushy foods like peanut butter or canned pumpkin. Another trick: Take an old T-shirt and tie it into several knots. Stick treats inside each knot. Your dog stays occupied while they figure out how to get all the good stuff out of their toy.

During the warmer months, make a treatsicle for your pooch. Fill a paper cup with water. Float treats or chews inside, and then freeze it. Spot will either have to lick the ice or wait for it to melt to get to the treats.

Create a home dog spa. Spa-calm music can de-stress your pup. There are small speakers loaded with tunes selected by pet behavior specialists to soothe doggy nerves. Or create your own playlist of easy listening songs to play in the background while your canine companion chills out.

Take an online class. If Fido could use a little obedience training or you’d just like to teach them new skills, you don’t have to leave the house to do it. Go online to take courses led by experts. You can work with your pooch on agility, obedience, skills, and tracking. Some courses allow you to send videos of your dog to instructors for personalized feedback.

WebMD Veterinary Reference Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on April 23, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Kennel Club: “How to Keep Your Dog Entertained Indoors,” “Are Rawhide Chews Dangerous for Your Dog?” “Online Training—A New Resources for Dog Owners.”

BestFriends.org: “Resources: Dog Chewing and How to Redirect It.”

People’s Dispensing for Sick Animals (PDSA): “The Right Exercise for Your Dog.”

Woofdog.org: “11 Fantastic Ways to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You Are at Work.”

AARP: “10 Tech Products to Keep Your Dog From Getting Lonely While You’re Gone.”

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