Exercising Your Dog Indoors.


Dogs thrive on daily physical exercise, especially working or hunting breeds; but occasionally it might not be possible to take your dog out on his daily jaunts. This may be due to injury of either your dog, or yourself, or perhaps the weather may be exceptionally hot, or cold. In this article Holidays4Dogs provides some tips for exercising your dog indoors.


Although indoor play should not replace outdoor exercise long term, it can be good to have some back up ideas for entertaining your dog for those odd occasions when walking is not an option.

Of course, dogs will certainly enjoy these games even after a good daily run outdoors and will certainly appreciate that the the fun doesn’t necessarily stop after their walk.

Sometimes it can be demanding keeping a young dog, or puppy, entertained throughout the day, so these games are also handy boredom busters for dogs who need more attention.

Interaction with your dog in this way, whatever his age, helps build a nice bond; so the more interesting things you can do to keep him focused on you, the more improvement you will see in your dogs behaviour and attentiveness.

Find the treat/toy.

Hiding treats, or toys, around the house is a great way to tire out any dog. A dog expends a lot of energy using his nose, so this is good way to keep him amused. Begin by placing a treat somewhere obvious, then gradually hide it in harder to find places. Once your dog has got the hang of it, you can put him in another room while you hide a treat, or toy, then let him in to find it.

Puzzle toys.

Food dispensing toys are another good way to keep a bored dog entertained. There are many different types on the market such as the Buster Cube and Kongs. These can be filled with different varieties of treats.

There are many more innovative designs which encourage the dog use his nose to manipulate the puzzle and release a treat. Not only are they a great way to keep dogs entertained, in general, they are useful articles to keep your dog busy if you need to pop out without him.

Clicker Training.

This type of training is ideal for working indoors with your dog and a good session teaching your dog some new tricks and behaviours with the clicker will often tire your dog out more than a walk. It is a great stress and boredom reliever for dogs and very absorbing and interesting for the trainer too! Check out our other Holidays 4 Dogs articles on clicker training and shaping techniques.

Hide and Seek.

This is a good way to exercise your dog’s mind and body while also working on recall skills. Each family member can arm themselves with tasty treats and hide throughout the house, calling the dog and rewarding generously when the dog finds them.

As your dog gets better and better at this, you might try not calling your dog, but letting him find you while you stay quiet.

Retrieve Games.

This game may really depend on the space available in your house and your dogs existing skills in retrieve. Clicker training is an excellent way to teach your dog to retrieve.

While this can often be an exuberant game outdoors, you can tone this down for indoor purposes and teach your dog to be much calmer collecting the article.

Use soft toys rather than hard balls which will bounce from surface to surface encouraging too much twisting – (and may also damage household items!).

Obstacle Course.

Even small spaces can be set up with mini agility, or obstacle, courses. You could use items around the house such as cushions, or books and use garden canes to make mini jumps. Chairs can make tunnels and other items could form a line for him to weave in and out of.

Guide your dog around these obstacles using food as a lure if you need to. Do make sure that you don’t encourage young, or old dogs, to jump over anything very high. This game can be about control and concentration and less about speed. It will help the dog to be more aware of his own movements.


Although technically this is going out away from the home with your dog, it can still be indoors! Many dogs enjoy car rides and it is in fact quite stimulating for dogs to see the different sights as the car travels along.

You could consider taking your dog to the pet shop. Most large pet stores welcome dogs on leads and it will certainly be an interesting place for your dog to visit and socialise; particularly good for puppies.

If you have friends with sociable dogs you could also arrange to visit so that your dogs can play and interact with each other. Alternative you could have a meet up in the local pub beer garden.

Obedience training.

Working on general obedience always starts in the home where it is quiet and there are few distractions. Work on general obedience such as sit, down and stay in the home environment and you will find the transition to working on this in places where there are distractions, will be much smoother.


There are lots of ways you can entertain your dog indoors which can keep his mind and body active. Outdoor exercise is very important but occasionally it just isn’t possible.