Spice up rainy days with indoor dog games

Dog hates the rain? Or the cold? We get it, as a dog owner of a breed (Frenchie) that commonly hates the rain, it can be hard to convince her to go for a walk when the pitter-patter of raindrops is filling the air and gray clouds loom overhead. Preventing boredom and finding ways to keep my dog entertained indoors becomes a priority when it's cold and dark and miserable outside.

Rainy days can often leave dogs feeling restless and bored, longing for an outlet to release their energy, and boredom is a huge contributing factor to behavior problems.  Don't panic though, for there are thrilling dog games that can spice up even the dreariest days and get tails wagging with excitement. (Ok, sure my dog doesn't have a tail…)

We can play hide and seek games that tap into a dog's amazing sense of smell, teach them with treat-based activities that challenge their cognitive abilities, or perhaps give them some simple foraging fun in a rummaging box, there is no shortage of indoor entertainment options, and that's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to enrichment and indoor games.

With these engaging games in your repertoire, rainy days can transform into opportunities for mental stimulation and bonding with your dog, so they needn't be bored and driving you mad.

So, grab a cup of tea, cozy up on the couch, and let's explore the world of indoor dog games together. Oh, and if you're looking for some other mental stimulation ideas, check out our product round ups and learn more about our favorite puzzle toys.

Want help training your dog? Fancy some personal help with your dog's boredom? Book online today and get started working with me, a professional dog trainer and behaviorist of 15 years.

Dog lying under an umbrella in the rain

Hide and seek indoor dog games

Hide and seek games are a fun and engaging way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated, especially on those rainy days when outdoor activities are limited. This game taps into your dog's natural instinct to seek and find, providing them with a rewarding mental challenge. It's also a fun way to teach a recall.

To play, have someone hide in different places in the house and encourage your dog to find them. You can use the names of family members for added excitement. When your dog successfully finds the person, give them praise and repeat the game in new hiding places.

This activity encourages sniffing and problem-solving, keeping your dog's mind sharp and engaged. It's a great way to bond with your pet and provide them with a stimulating indoor activity.

If your dog struggles with separation anxiety, I'd leave this one off the indoor dog games list for now, we don't need them panicked about being left alone if they're not comfortable with it.

Treat based indoor dog games

Indoor dog games and food, you say? My dog says, “Hell, yeh!” Treat-based activities offer a delightful and rewarding way to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated, providing them with a delicious challenge on those rainy or cold indoor days. Here are three treat-based indoor activities that are sure to engage your dog:

  1. Hide and Seek With Food: Hide treats around the room for your dog to find. Start with easy hiding spots and gradually make it more challenging. Help your dog by pointing or leading them to the hidden treats. You can also use toys like Kongs that can be filled with treats to keep your dog occupied.
  2. Treat Hunt: Hide treats in different areas of your home and encourage your dog to use their nose to find them. Start with simple hiding spots and gradually increase the difficulty. This activity not only provides mental stimulation but also taps into your dog's natural instinct to forage and search for food.
  3. Puzzle Toys: Invest in puzzle toys that are designed to hold treats. These toys require your dog to figure out how to move and manipulate them in order to access the treats. This not only keeps them entertained, but it also provides mental exercise as they problem-solve and work to get their reward.
Pointer playing scrablle, tiles read 'WOOF'

Foraging fun with a rummage box

Indoor dog games that can involve scavenging and foraging are going to tap into a dog's natural instinct, and we can easily engage our dog's senses while also building confidence by creating them a rummage box.

This game involves filling a box with items that have different textures and make noises when moved around. I tend to use my old recycling and include items like crinkly paper, squeaky toys, and rattling objects to keep it interesting.

Hiding treats among these items for your dog to find, gets them foraging and moving stuff around, so they get a challenge but also a reward.

The noise created by a dog rooting through a rummaging box is particularly beneficial for nervous dogs, as it helps them gain confidence in exploring new sounds and textures. However, it's important to note that some dogs may find the noise overwhelming, so to begin with make it easy with slightly gentler objects, you could even use soft toys if your dog is particularly noise sensitive to begin with. 

Nose and paw games

Some dogs are more info using their paws to push and manipulate things, and some are more into using their nose. Check which your dog prefers with these nose and paw indoor games for dogs. These games are sure to keep your dog entertained on rainy days:

  1. Cup Hide and Seek Game: Use cups or bowls to hide treats on the floor. Encourage your dog to find the treats by sniffing and searching. Gently push the cups to show them what to do, and lift a cup to make the treat visible for nervous dogs. This game boosts their confidence and provides mental stimulation.
  2. Blanket Treasure Hunt: Hide treats or toys under a blanket or towel and let your dog find them. They will enjoy using their nose to uncover the hidden treasures. Start with easy hiding spots and gradually make it more challenging to keep them engaged, you can also hide treats in the towel and then roll it up, so your dog has to unravel it.
  3. Muffin Tin Game: This is an easy one! Place treats or toys in a muffin tin and cover each compartment with a tennis ball, cup, or one of your dog's soft toys. Your dog will have to use their problem-solving skills to find the hidden treasures by removing the balls or cups.

These games encourage sniffing, problem-solving, and get your dog to use their nose or paw to move things around. Is your dog more nosey-y or more paw-sy? Let us know in the blog comments! 

White Spitz dog lying next to a brain game and food puzzle

Overall benefits of playing indoor games with your dog

Indoor games for dogs, such as hide and seek, treat-based games, rummaging boxes, and nose and paw games, offer a multitude of benefits that promote mental stimulation and entertainment, and are a great way to prevent boredom on cold or rainy days. 

These activities are often ‘two player' so also offer you and your dog the chance to do fun things together, without the pressure of actual training, game are meant to be fun after all.

Enrichment and brain training is especially important for working breeds of dogs such as Collies or Gundogs, who are usually more suited to a life outside come shine or come rain! These dogs need a lot of day to day activity in their lives, so if they can't go for walks due to wet or cold weather then indoor games are especially important.

Want to learn more, check out our articles on how to pay tug with your dog, food puzzles for dogs or learn what to stuff a Kong with.

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