Trainer shares five things you can do to keep your dog entertained when you’re stuck inside

Cute Border Collie dog lying with pet toy and looking at camera at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s no secret that dogs need walks and time outside for physical and mental stimulation. However, it’s not always possible to take your dogs outside — sometimes, the weather is so extreme that it’s just not safe. 

But while this isn’t an ideal state of affairs, there are things you can do at home to keep your dog happy and active, at least until the weather improves and you can get back to your favorite walks. 

You could always bring out the best dog toys in your pup’s collection to begin with, but Ruben Montes, owner and head trainer at Kindred Dog PDX in Portland, Oregon, has suggested some more great activities in a new Instagram post. 

1. Play tug: Should you play tug of war with your puppy, or an adult dog? Yes! 

“Tug is a great game that doesn’t require a lot of space,” explains Montes. “It can burn a lot of energy mentally and physically.”

2. Find it: This nosework-based exercise will work your dog out, as searching for things uses a lot of their brain power. And, at the end of the game, they’ll get something they want, like a treat or a toy!

3. Obedience work: As Montes says, “This is a great time to clean things up, add new skills, or take things to another level.” 

He explains that you can tie this in with your game of tug, too, working in the skill you want your pup to learn. 

4. Teach a new trick: It can take your pup time to learn new tricks, so why not do some work while you’re stuck inside the house anyway? Among the tricks you might decide on could be ‘roll over’, ‘middle’, or getting your dog to weave between your legs, but there are so many possibilities! Here are 32 quick and easy tricks to teach your dog for some inspiration. 

5. Walk around inside: As simple as it might sound, just walking around inside your house can be a good activity. “You can focus on position, starting/stopping, turns,” explains Montes. “Mixing in some play or food rewards can make it much more enticing for your dog.”

Even if you haven’t got very long to spend exercising your dog at home, or they don’t have much experience with the exercises mentioned, Montes says that everything he recommends here can be “scaled from simple to challenging,” and differ in length, too. 

Ultimately, Montes finishes, “One of the main focus points when doing a lot of inside work is getting the dog to think and focus. Mental energy combined with physical can really help out with giving the dog something to do and not having them being bored all day until the ice melts away and the outside world opens up again.”

Got a puppy? Here are eight great games for puppies that will keep them entertained for hours.

Earth Rated Tug Dog Toy
$23.99 at Chewy

Earth Rated Tug Dog Toy
$23.99 at Chewy
Made from natural rubber, this two-handled tug toy has an ergonomic smooth and curved shape that's comfortable to hold and supports a natural range of movement. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.