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Your dog loves you and wants to spend time with you — but what are some new, fun activities to keep them busy at home?
Well, we’re here to help!
Following is a quick list of 9 easy ways to entertain your dog at home to keep them happy… and not chewing on your furniture!
First, let’s explore fun things that you and your dog can do together to prevent boredom in your dog…
How To Entertain Your Dog At Home: 7 Clever Ideas
#1 – Hide snacks for your dog.
This works for indoor and outdoor fun with your dog.
Simply hide some chew toys and dog treats in the yard or around the house for your dog to find!
If you do this every so often, it will keep your dog looking for fun things to play with whenever they get bored.
Plus, hiding snacks for your dog can be a great way to trigger the dog’s hunting instincts and help them to use senses and skills that would otherwise go to waste as a domestic pet.
Be sure to hide your dog’s snacks in different places every time. That way, your dog always feels a sense of accomplishment — and will enjoy an immediate reward for finding them.
- If you make the hunt too easy for your dog… they will just eat up the treats that are there without being challenged enough to “hunt” and “find” things on their own.
- On the other hand, if you make the hunt too difficult for your dog… they will lose interest quickly because they aren’t getting enough immediate reward for “hunting” and “finding” things.
For another variation of the hide and seek game, have them find YOU or your children!
#2 – Let your dog play in water.
Some dogs are natural swimmers. Many of the best swimmers have webbed toes, like Labradors. But just about all dog breeds enjoy some time in the water — even if it’s just romping around and splashing.
Start by taking your dog to a nearby beach, creek, or lake (or maybe even your own swimming pool) — to see how well your dog swims and gauge their interest with being in water. Chances are your dog will enjoy splashing around and go to great lengths to be in the water!
If your dog seems to enjoy playing in water, then you might want to get a small kiddie pool. They even make dog-friendly pools that are more durable for four-legged fun. The best part is most of them are collapsible dog pools — so they can be conveniently stored away when not in use.
Just be prepared for a wet dog afterwards! So you’ll want to have a dog-friendly towel handy to dry off your furry friend before going back in the house or getting in the car.
Swimming is a great workout for both of you. It can also be a great opportunity for your dog to chase some fish and engage that natural hunting instinct! (For swimming in a pool, you might want to try a floating fetch pool toy — like this one.)
Here are some more fun summer activities for dogs.
#3 – Play catch with your dog.
A favorite pastime of most dog owners is playing catch with a ball or frisbee.
First, find a ball (or frisbee) that is a good size for your dog — not so big that it won’t fit in their mouth, and not so small that your dog might accidentally swallow it.
Then, have fun throwing it for your dog to catch, and take it back when they bring it to you.
At first, your dog might need some coaxing to give the ball or frisbee back to you — because most dogs don’t instinctively know how to play fetch. Some dogs will try to keep it for themselves.
To encourage your dog to bring the ball or frisbee back to you, try using a tiny bite-sized treat as a reward and the command “give”. Or… when your dog brings it close to you, right away toss another ball or frisbee for them to fetch. They will likely drop the first one near you and then run to get the other one.
These are the top 5 dog balls our dogs like best.
#4 – Walk your dog around the block.
You can entertain your dog without spending money or going anywhere far away. Just put your furry friend on a leash and walk down the street!
Walks also keep your dog from becoming agitated and restless with pent-up energy. And they are one way to ensure that your dog will get a good night’s sleep
So… give your dog the workout they need each day with a simple walk down the street, around the block, or even longer if you want.
You can make walks even more enjoyable for your dog by allowing for some time off the leash (at a dog park or an enclosed field, for example) or by letting your dog lead the way to where they want to go exploring next!
Here’s how to do loose leash walking without your dog pulling all the time!
#5 – Make homemade dog treats (and let your dog lick the bowl).
To make homemade dog treats, all you need is a base like flour or oatmeal (to give it some substance) + a liquid like milk, honey, or broth (for flavor) + one or more tasty ingredients (that are safe for dogs to eat).
Don’t want to cook anything?
Then just grab some fresh (or frozen) vegetables, chop them up into bite-sized pieces, and use them as rewards while teaching your dog a new trick.
These dog breath treats will help to eliminate your dog’s bad breath!
#7 – Try interactive games with your dog.
There are many types of interactive dog toys that engage each of your dog’s senses differently:
- Some dog toy puzzles challenge your dog’s brain, while others challenge your dog’s sensory skills (touch, sound) and motor skills (ability to open/close things).
- Snuffle mats test your dog’s sense of smell and sight (finding dog treats in hidden spaces).
- Some dog toys utilize your dog’s strength (like tug toys), while others are better for shy and timid dogs (like treat-dispensing dog toys).
Tug of war is one of the few interactive games you can actually play with your dog.
Since dogs love to grab ahold of things with their teeth, and rope toys have a texture that dogs find appealing, when you and your dog are both tugging on the same rope toy… you’re turning it into a game!
So let’s do this!…
Give your dog one end of the rope toy while you tug lightly on the other end. Try not to yank — because you don’t want to damage your dog’s teeth or gums. Just give it a good pull and let the rope go back and forth — first their way, then your way. This will get your dog in a playful mood in no time. And the longer you both tug, the more energy your dog will burn!
Here’s how to make dog tug toys using items you have around the house!
(The video below shows yet another way to make a homemade tug toy for your dog in 5 minutes.)
#6 – Stuff a dog toy with irresistible treats.
Depending on what you stuff inside, this will usually keep your dog busy for 30 minutes to 1 hour!
The idea is to use a durable dog toy that has either:
- A large, hollow center (for stuffing with solid dog treats)
- Lots of nooks and crannies (for filling with a creamy dog treat)
See how smart your dog is with this Dog IQ Test!
How To Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re Away: 2 Options That Work!
Now, what if you can’t spend a lot of time with your dog during the day — because you’re working, running errands, or away from home for some other reason?
Here are the best ways to entertain your dog at home while you’re busy doing other things…
#1 – Create a dog-friendly play space.
Whenever you aren’t around, your dog needs to be entertained in other ways — to avoid separation anxiety — especially if your dog is a puppy.
You want to create a play space that your dog will enjoy being in for hours at a time without you being there. The idea is to create a space that’s comfy and fun for your dog — without giving your dog full access to roam about the house freely.
The space you choose depends on how well your dog has behaved in the past when they were given free access to the entire house.
For most dogs, the first step in this process is a dog crate. Just keep a comfy indestructible dog bed in there, along with some indestructible dog toys, a Kong toy or two, and maybe leave some music or the TV on — and see how your dog does when you return.
Another option is a durable dog playpen. Once your dog has proven that they can be trusted not to tear down or jump over or dig under whatever you’ve decided to use as a playpen… then you can feel comfortable leaving them alone for some time in there.
Just make sure that the play space you choose is:
- Large enough contain your dog while giving them room to move around and play
- Durable enough to keep your dog contained the event that they become restless
#2 – Add another dog to the family.
One way to ensure that your dog remains entertained while you’re at work is to introduce another pet that they can play with.
Adding another dog (or cat) as a playmate usually goes off without a hitch. as long as you introduce them properly.
After your two pets have proven to get along okay, you can start to leave them alone for longer periods of time. In no time, they’ll become fast friends and keep each other company for hours!
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are lots of great ways to keep your dog entertained at home.
Start with the ideas on this list, and who knows — you might get inspired to try some other activities that you come up with on your own!
What’s important is that your dog is happy and well taken care of. Making sure that your dog’s mind and body are constantly stimulated will play a big part in that.
Here are 25 useful things to do with your dog around the house!
Lauretta Williams is a co-founder at PawMaw.com, a website dedicated to reuniting people with their lost pets. In her free time, she enjoys sharing helpful tips for caring for dogs.
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.