10 Best Games to Play With Puppies Inside (Dog Indoor Games)

Last Updated on March, 2023

Dogs need plenty of physical activity and a daily walk or some backyard play is a must. 

But what if the weather is so bad that we have to keep our dogs indoors the whole day? 

Your furry friend will be quite hyperactive without a way to vent off his energy. And if you don’t keep your dog busy, he can become frustrated and mischievous.

The good news is that there are plenty of fun indoor games to play with your furry friend. All you need is a few tasty dog treats, some dog toys, and a bit of your time. 

We will take you through 10 best indoor games to play with your dog indoors. These indoor dog games will keep your pup entertained, stimulated, and happy throughout the day.

So keep reading to find out the best games to keep an indoor dog active, and well-behaved.

10 Fun Indoor Dog Games 

1. Play Fetch Indoors

Fetch is undoubtedly one of the best games to play with a dog. Playing fetch is easy, and it’s a fantastic game for both indoors and outdoors. In addition, playing fetch is a superb way to exercise your dog without tiring you out. All you have to do is toss a toy!

Dogs are natural fetchers, and they won’t need any training to run and fetch a toy. Even puppies as young as 8-12 weeks have an instinct to fetch.

However, some dogs need a bit of encouragement to bring back the toys. They’ll want to keep the toy to themselves. If your pup is reluctant to return the toys, lure him with a treat. Ask your dog to “drop it” and reward him with a treat.

There are plenty of fetch toys in the market to make your pup retrieve like a pro. You can play outdoor fetch with anything from a tennis ball to a big stick, but indoor fetch is tricky. Nobody wants to throw around bouncy balls that could knock off and damage the furniture. 

Soft plastic or fabric balls, rope toys, and soft toys are all items you can use to play fetch inside the house. You can also play fetch with your pup’s chew toy.

If you have a high-energy pup, you can even play a fetch game up and down the stairs. Just toss the toy down a staircase and ask your dog to fetch it. Fetch on the stairs is a sure-fire way to tire and calm down your dog. However, playing fetch on the stairs is unsuitable for elderly dogs and very young puppies.

2. Tug-Of-War

Tug-Of-War is a very basic game to start with. But it would be best if you stuck with strict rules while playing Tug-Of-War. If done incorrectly, this game can trigger aggression in dogs. Also, if your dog already has aggressive traits, it’s better to skip this game.

Dogs have instincts to wrestle and chew, and tug-of-war lets them do both. If you play tug-of-war correctly, it’s a great way to bond with your dog while teaching him about boundaries and rules.

A rope toy is the best choice to play tug-of-war. Rope toys are soft but durable toys. They won’t hurt your dog’s teeth and will withstand damage. If you can’t get hold of a rope toy, you can play tug-of-war with any tug toy that won’t get damaged easily. 

If you have old t-shirts lying around, you can make a DIY tug toy for your pup. It takes just a few minutes and is a great way to recycle unused clothes.

Here are a few tricks to safely play tug-of-war with your pup:

  • Teach your dog the “drop it” command as soon as possible. If your pup is stubborn and does not let go of the toy, let your arm go limp until your pup releases the toy.
  • Quit the game if your dog nips at your hand, even accidentally. 
  • Make sure that you initiate the game and not your dog.
  • Take breaks during the game. Small breaks prevent the game from getting out of control. If your dog is overexcited, wait until he has calmed down.

3. Puzzle Games With Food

Working with food appeals to all dogs! A puzzle feeder is the best toy you can buy for your beloved pup.

Rather than just dumping the food into your dog’s bowl, use a creative way that lets your dog search for his food. Your dog will have to move around the puzzle and find a way to get to his food. 

Adding a puzzle to a treat will keep you entertained and full. It has been proven that food puzzles help in reducing stress. Also, food puzzles are mentally stimulating and kill boredom.

Puzzle games are a great way to slow-feed your pup. Interactive feeding toys like the wobble bowl control your dog’s eating pace. This, in turn, prevents problems like bloating and indigestions. 

Puzzle feeders are also suitable for fussy eaters. Keeping your pup’s brain active while he eats is a great way to encourage him during meal times. 

Most pet stores sell food puzzles. Some of them are pretty basic, like the Kong toy, which you have to nudge around to release the food. More demanding puzzles will keep your pup busy for a good few minutes. Make sure to pick a puzzle toy depending on the size and breed of your dog. A large, strong dog can chew through some puzzle games quite easily. 

Bear in mind not to overfeed your pup. Too many treats are not good and can cause problems like obesity and diabetes.

We’ve reviewed the best mental stimulation toys for dogs in this article.

4. Hide And Seek

Hide and seek is one of the best indoor games for dogs. It’s a fun and playful game that also helps to teach your dog on using his sense of smell and hearing.

Your pup will be able to fully enjoy the game if he can grasp basic obedience commands like “stay” and “find.” If your dog is still learning basic commands, take this as a training opportunity. 

How to Play Hide And Seek?

  • Lead your pup to a room and command him to “sit: ” and “stay.”
  • Slowly walk away from your dog while commanding him to “stay.” 
  • Hide in another room and call out to your dog to “find me.” Your dog may have trouble finding you the first time you hide. He may also get diverted by other noises and activities. If your dog is easily distracted, keep a few treats with you. Treats will provide some extra encouragement, and he will be able to get a better sense of smell.
  • Over time you can make your hiding place more challenging. Don’t forget to reward your pup with treats and love once he finds you.

Your family members can join in on the game too. So, for example, if your pup is overexcited and keeps following you, another person can keep him distracted until you hide.

5. Muffin Tin And Ball Game

Dog playing Muffin Tin And Ball Game

The muffin tin game is a DIY game to stimulate your dog mentally. The idea is that your dog has to clear the balls one by one to get to the treats. 

It’s an excellent game for both nose work and memory training. Also, this is a pretty inexpensive game.

How to Play the Muffin Tin Game?

  • Get a 12-cup muffin tin, 12 tennis balls, and dog treats. You could also use a 6-cup or 9-cup muffin tin, but 12 cups make the game more exciting and challenging for your pup.
  • Put a small treat on each cup of the muffin tin. 
  • Then place a tennis ball on top of each treat. 
  • To make the game more challenging, fill only some cups with food, but cover all the cups with tennis balls. This approach encourages nose work. Your pup will eventually learn to sniff out the treats before removing the balls.

If you have a small dog, they probably will have difficulty moving away the tennis balls. You can fix this by using a mini-muffin tray and small balls such as ping pong balls.

6. Which Hand Game

This is the first and easiest nose work game to play with your pup. Dogs have a great sense of smell, but they use their sight much more. Playing nose work games with your puppy improves his sense of smell and prepares him for more challenging games like hide-and-seek.

This is a pretty simple game where your dog will have to guess in which hand you are hiding his treat.

How to Play the Which Hand Game?

  • Make your dog sit facing you.
  • Place a treat in one of your hands, and close your fists. Put both hands behind your back. 
  • Bring your hands in front of you and offer them for your dog to sniff out. 
  • Give your dog a treat when he picks the correct hand. If your dog chooses the wrong hand, open the hand and show him there’s nothing there.
  • If your pup paws hard at your hand or seems over-excited, it’s time to stop the game until he calms down.

Dogs love to be hand-fed. It builds up trust and love. Because this game involves hand feeding treats to your dog, it is an excellent way to teach impulse control as well. This game is also suitable for training your pup on bite inhibition. 

7. Find The Treats

Find the treats is a thrilling game that builds up your dog’s sense of smell. It’s an easy game to teach, but if your dog is not used to sniffing things out, it’ll take him a bit longer to catch up.

This is a rewarding game that all pups are sure to love. 

How to Play Find the Treats?

  • Show your pup a small treat, and then toss a small treat onto the floor away from your puppy. 
  • Ask your dog to “find it.” 
  • Once your dog finds the treat, let him enjoy his reward. 
  • Then call your dog back to you. Now toss another treat a bit further apart, and ask your dog to find it. 

If your dog has trouble locating the treats, use stinkier treats that he can easily smell out. Then, you can praise and encourage him when he gets closer to the treats. 

Once your dog is confident in finding treats, you can gradually increase the difficulty.

Start by leading your dog out of the room. Next, hide treats in a few places like under the tables, edge of a carpet, etc. Finally, call your pup back into the room and ask him to find the hidden treats. 

Remember to use small healthy treats. For example, homemade boiled or baked chicken treats are nutritious treats.

8. The Shell Game

This is a fun game that strengthens your dog’s ability to pay attention and nose work. Also, this game is very stimulating and can be tricky to begin with. 

Your dog must have good impulse control to play the shell game. This way, he won’t knock over any of the cups until you are done placing the treat. 

How to Play the Shell Game?

  • Get a few dog treats and a few plastic cups.
  • Place a treat under one of the cups.
  • Ask your dog to “find it.”
  • Reward your dog when they select the correct cup.
  • Introduce additional cups and make it more challenging by moving around the cups after placing the treat.
  • Once your dog is confident with finding the correct cup, encourage him to knock over or move the cup from his mouth and get to the treat. 

9. The Name Game

The name game is an exciting memory game for dogs. Dogs can learn over 100 words with a bit of encouragement. So you can certainly teach him more than the basic commands.

The best way to play the name game is by using your dog’s toys.

How to Play the Name Game?

  • Play with your dog with one specific toy, giving the toy a name while you do. Choose your dog’s favorite toy to get more of his attention. 
  • Ask your dog to pick up the toy and bring it to you. Remember to call the toy by its name.
  • Praise your pup once he brings the toy.
  • Repeat this a few times. With practice, your dog will connect the name to the toy.
  • After your dog knows the toy’s name, you can test his skills by asking him to pick up the toy among other objects.
  • Once your dog is confident with the name of one toy, you can move on to teaching him the names of the other toys.

Spend a few minutes daily doing the name game to reinforce learning. Daily reinforcement will help your dog remember his new toys’ names. 

10. Chase Bubbles

Keeping your dog entertained indoors doesn’t get more fun than chasing bubbles. It keeps your dog busy and happy and will drain off excess energy. Popping bubbles is also a great way to improve your dog’s coordination and agility skills.

Blow a couple of bubbles. Most dogs will chase and pop the bubbles without any encouragement. If your pup is not interested in the bubbles, point to the bubble and ask your dog to catch them. 

This game is perfect for dogs of all ages. Even older dogs that are not very physically active can safely play with bubbles. 

Be sure to wipe down your pup’s face after playing with bubbles. Bubbles can leave soap residue on your dog’s face and cause skin irritations in some dogs. Making a bubble solution at home is simple by mixing water and dish soap. 

How to Make a Bubble Solution?

What you’ll need: Water, dish wash liquid, glycerine, bottle to mix, straw to blow the bubbles

  • Mix one part of the dish wash liquid with six parts of water.
  • Add a tablespoon of glycerin (this will make the bubble last longer!).
  • Place the mixture in a closed bottle overnight.
  • Blow the bubbles with a straw.

Related article: How to Keep a Dog Entertained & Busy While You’re At Work?

Brain Training For Dogs: Best Way to Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated

Brain Training for Dogs Program

If you need easy, fun ways to play and teach your dog simultaneously, Brain Training For Dogs is the answer.

BT4D is generated from scientific ideas and proven methods to make any dog smarter. BT4D is a creation of Adrienne Farricelli; a dog CPDT-KA certified dog trainer with over 10 years of experience. 

This online course provides you with simple techniques and interactive games to engage your dog mentally. The result is an intelligent dog willing and eager to learn more. 

BT4D is suitable for all dogs, regardless of their age and breed. So whether you own a young puppy, a stubborn adult dog, or a new rescue dog, BT4D is the way to go.

Brain training for dogs is divided into 7 training modules. Each module contains training videos along with dog tricks and new games to play with your dog. 

Some games covered in BT4D are:

  • The airplane game
  • Muffin game
  • Pitball game
  • Treasure hunt game
  • Bottle game
  • Hot and cold game and many more..

Once you purchase BT4D, you’ll receive the following to make training even more accessible.

  • An e-book
  • A training manual
  • Access to 21 demonstration videos
  • Access to member’s area for all your doubts and questions

Get to know more about this BT4D online course here.

Benefits of Playing Brain Games

A dog biting a toy

A well-rounded, happy pup needs regular mental and physical activity. So here’s how your dog benefits from brain training games.

Makes your dog smarter: Constant mental stimulation will keep your dog’s brain active. Give your dog plenty of brain games and watch him become smarter.

Makes dog training easier: A mentally stimulated dog is always eager to learn. If your dog does not receive sufficient mental stimulation, it’ll be hard to keep up with even simple training. Brain games keep your pup’s brain super active. As a result, you will find that your dog catches up with new tricks faster. He will also be more obedient during training sessions.

Alleviates boredom: Dogs get bored very quickly, especially if they spend a lot of time indoors. Boredom can cause your dog to be attention-seeking and hyperactive. On the other hand, mental work will keep your dog busy and engaged, and he won’t even have time to feel bored.

Builds up a strong bond between you and your dog: Adding brain games to your dog’s daily routine means that you’ll spend at least a few extra minutes training and bonding with him. This builds up trust and rapport with your dog.

Prevents behavior issues: Brain games reduce your dog’s chance of developing behavioral problems like excessive barking and chewing. 

Reduces cognitive issues of aging: Just like humans, dogs tend to have memory issues as they get older. So keeping your dog’s mind active will make sure that he’ll be smart and intelligent well into his golden years.

Makes your dog happy and healthy: In addition to physical activity and a nutritious diet, mental stimulation is a must for dogs. Once you combine physical and mental exercise with good food, you’ll have the happiest dog ever!



Indoor dog games are just as fun as outdoor games, and they will give your pup a way to release pent up energy. Playing will keep your dog engaged and happy throughout the day.

In addition to our top 10 indoor dog games, you can create your own games to play indoors. For example, you can play tag by chasing your puppy around the house. Experiment with a few different indoor games and find out which game your dog enjoys the most. You can even keep your dog busy by teaching him a new trick.

And after your pup is tired from all the fun games, a cuddle and doggie massage will keep him happy for the rest of the day.

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Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. You can find more about him here.

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