22 summer activities to keep your Pooch busy indoors
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
As a full time working and single pet parent, I feel guilty for not giving my pooch my 100% undivided attention. And I know, there are many pet parents like me who want to do more for their pooch. We know the challenges of UAE summers, but that shouldn’t stop us from keeping our pets active and busy indoors. An empty mind is a devil’s workshop, and that applies to our pooches as well. It’s times when you notice more shoes are chewed or the table legs have taken the heat, you know your dog is bored indoors. Dogs love the outdoors, but when it’s over 40 degrees outside, you want to keep them indoors. So, let’s bring that outdoor fun indoors. Keeping them occupied with new games, tricks or activities will reduce the likelihood of them developing destructive habits such as chewing shoes or excessive barking.
In this blog, I will share 22 easy and fun indoor activities to keep our fur buddies busy. From the basic hide and seek games to DIY toys, we’ve got you covered. These tricks are easy to perform and don’t require deep pockets.
1. Build a Dog obstacle course at home
There are no rules when building a dog obstacle course at home with your furniture and props available at home. The idea is to keep it simple and safe for your pooch and ensure an abundance of fun.
High jump: You will require a broomstick or PVC stock and 2 empty buckets of the same height. Sticks and buckets should not have sharp edges. If they do, please add safety padding to block the sharp area. Now place your broomstick on the two buckets. Ensure the stick is fastened on the buckets. Adjust the height as per your dog’s age and size. Now let your dog cross from one side to another by jumping over the stick. Once your dog has mastered this task, move on to the next.
Weaving blocks: You will require either polystyrene cups or dog toys to create this path. Place them on the floor, one after another. Keep enough gap for your dog to pass in between. However, don’t kill the fun by being over generous with the space you leave between two hurdles. Give your dog time to master this task and then move to the next.
DIY tunnels: Empty cardboard boxes are a common find in most homes. Open two opposite sides of the box. Place it on the floor with the closed side on the ground. Repeat the same with other boxes. Connect one open side of the box with the second open box to form a train. You can repeat this with as many boxes as you see fit for the size of your room. When using more than two boxes, remember to make windows on the side of the boxes to allow light to pass through with proper ventilation.
2. Treat hunt
The easiest way to burn your dog’s energy in a playful way is by engaging them in nose work games. Their natural talent can help build their mental strength and at the same time push them to naturally engage in physical activities. Replace the processed treats with natural ones with chopped carrots for this game.
How do we play?
Take some treats when your dog has your attention. Make sure your dog is not following you when you hide the treats at different places in the room. Once you have hidden all treats, give your dog the clue to hunt. We know how much they love appreciation, so don’t forget to praise them after every find.
Now that they have understood the game, let’s add a spin. Keep your dog in another room while you hide the treats. Choose places like under their blanket or the rug to hide the treats. This will encourage them to use their nose to find the treat.
3. Find Me
Hide and seek never goes out of fashion and the dogs love it. As easy as it gets, this game requires no props but your participation. I’ve never understood how something this simple can also be so entertaining for the dogs. So, let’s give it a try.
The rules are simple, you hide and wait for your dog to find you. You can call out to them while hiding if it’s a large place to hide. If your dog is following you while hiding, then you may want to use the help of a second person to keep them occupied while you hide. Or you can practice the stay command before you get started.
4. The name game
We love buying many toys for our pets. So, let’s use one specific one for our next activity. Choose one specific toy and give it a name. It could be a yellow duck, pink doll, green ball, or anything else. After a few times, your dog will register the verbal name with the toy. Then comes the time for the test, place that toy with the other toys and ask your dog to pick that specific toy you verbalized. Don’t forget to appraise when it’s done right and then move on to the next toy.
5. What’s under the shell?
To play this game you will require 3 cups and a dog treat or kibble.
Not all indoor activities require a large room. Hence space must not limit our fun. To play this indoor game with your dog place 3 inverted cups on the floor. Make sure your dog watches you as you place a treat under one of the cups. Then shuffle the cups without lifting them from the ground. Now ask your dog to identify the cup with the treat. If they guessed it right, then don’t forget to treat your dog. This game helps develop their mental growth.
Can your dog beat this cat?
6. Are you ready for a tug of war?
This is a simple game to exercise your dog mentally and physically. With one prop required, you can easily play this game indoors.
Some worry this might build the aggressive side of the dog and winning it make them dominant. But I think otherwise. You need to set the rules right. If the dog’s teeth touch your hand, the game is disqualified.
7. House rules for all, even dogs.
Practice a house rule to keep all dog toys in one basket or container. Your dog will observe you every time you pick up the toys and keep them in the same basket. Play the name game with your dog while clearing up and get them to pick up their toys. This will help your dog develop a new skill and build confidence. Always remember to praise them when it’s done right. Eventually, you will have a dog that is able to clean up after himself.
8. Where’s your toy?
Once your dog has mastered the name game, you can engage it with a toy hunt game. Hide the toy they know by name, not in presence of your dog. Then ask your dog to find it. As your dog gets better, add more toys and names. This will help stimulate their mental growth and develop confidence. Praises always work wonders to encourage them to do better.
9. Engage them with household chores.
Dogs love being occupied with a job, even if it’s as simple as fetching your slippers.
Start with items that you wouldn’t mind having retrieved.
You can up the talent scale by teaching your dog to get the newspaper from the door. Ensure it is delivered to your house in a bag, so it’s easy for your dog to hold in his mouth without damaging the paper.
10. Teach your dog a new trick
What’s the ace trick you’ve trained your dog on? Is it balancing on 2 paws or sitting still for a minute? The best part about trick training is that there’s always room for improvement. Have you tried teaching your dog to weave through your legs or jump through a hoop?
Invent your trick and share your experience with other pet parents in the comments section below.
11. It’s time for clicker training
You will require a clicker device which is easily available at pet shops. They don’t cost much and are of value for money when it comes to training your pooch. This tool helps to communicate with dogs while training them. The clicker makes a ticking noise when you press down its lever. The ticking stops when you release. You keep ticking for the duration you are training them to perform the desired behavior. You must reward them after they have achieved a level of training. Always remember that dogs are very smart, and great observers.
12. Interactive games
On days when the mercury hits high in the UAE, I prefer keeping my pooch indoors. On such days, when I am not prepared with any activity for my dog, I use interactive games that require no preparation. The only downside is that these games can pinch your pocket, but it’s not harmful to keep a game or two in store for a rainy day. Easily available at pet shops, these games are designed for pets to help nurture their mental development and reduce aggressive behavior like excessive barking or chewing table corners or shoes. Hence, one can call this an investment than an impulse purchase.
13. Play the guess the hand game.
All you need is some dog treats, chopped fruits/veggies, or homemade treats for this game. This game will help teach your dog to improve its sense of smell. Hence food with a strong smell can be helpful.
Take a small piece that can hide in your palm with a closed fist. Now place that piece in one of your hands. Close both your fists and hold them out in front of your dog. Let your dog smell and identify which hand it’s in. Reward your dog for identifying the right hand. Or give it another chance when wrong.
14. Go Fetch!
Another common and the easiest game to engage your pooch indoors. It works well for smaller dogs in apartment spaces. It can be tricky for large size dogs as you obviously don’t want them to get hurt as well when they run around chasing the ball. If you are not comfortable with the idea of playing go fetch indoors, then tweak it to a simpler game like the game of catch.
15. Grooming session for your Dog
If given a choice, not many dogs will pick a grooming session over a go fetch game. It’s not exciting for your pooch, but it is necessary for them. Summer months call for extra coat care, hence you need to train them to get used to the regular grooming visits. Other than coat care, regular oral care, and nail clipping are equally important for all dogs. Rewarding them for good behavior at the groomers will help to keep them engaged in this activity.
16. DIY homemade dog treats
I am not a big fan of processed food for myself, so how can I be ok with giving my dog the same? I know the dietary needs of my dog and love making my own dog treats over store-bought ones. Besides that, when you cook something, you know the quality of ingredients used, and you can always control portions.
I can make my friends run to the hill with my cooking, but to my dog, I’m the world’s best chef.
17. Puzzle toys for dogs
We all love puzzles, and my dog is no different. He loves his puzzle toy. It can engage him for hours when I’m occupied with other work. There are many available in the market to choose from. Puzzle toys help develop their mental stimulation.
18. Obedience training
Occasionally all dogs need a refresher course on their obedience training. What better time to train than when stuck indoors because of UAE summer? How well does your dog remember the basic obedience commands? Dedicate a few minutes for the regular obedience commands like stay, drop it, sit down, and come here.
19. You are your dog’s personal masseuse/ masseur
Giving your dog a massage is a therapy for the dog and for the owner. Massage can help relax nearly any dog. You can help them soothe those sore and painful joints. A good massage helps improve blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and most importantly develop a stronger bond between you and your pet.
20. Let’s chase some bubbles
Surprising but true. Something so simple can be so useful in keeping your dog entertained when you’re stuck indoors.
Just like infants, dogs are fascinated by bubbles as well. Did you know the bubbles made for children are non-toxic hence you can use the same for pets? Now that you are aware, you can make a wiser purchase in future.
21. Doggie play date
Dogs are generally very sociable in nature. They love interacting with new people and making dog friends. If you are part of a dog community then invite them over for indoor playtime during summers. This helps build their social skills and nurture their mental growth. These play dates are usually overwhelming for dogs and let me assure you, you will see a tired pooch at the end of the day. That is called energy well spent.
22. Cuddle and relax
A tiresome indoor day calls for a relaxed evening. I’ve developed a habit to spend some time with my pooch every evening before bedtime. This helps in developing a bedtime discipline for both.
Follow this page for more pet health news, UAE veterinary insights, pet parent stories, reviews, DIY projects, training tips, and more.