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Every dog owner knows that regular exercise is crucial for their pet’s physical and mental wellbeing.

But how can we ensure our furry friends always get the exercise they need – especially when outdoor time is so often limited by things like harsh winter weather, busy schedules, or  pandemic quarantines? When outdoor time is limited, knowing how to exercise your dog indoors is critical in maintaining their overall health and happiness.

In this article we will share our top tips for exercising your dog indoors s. Your dog will thank you for it (and won’t resort to destroying your furniture!)

Hide and seek… and treats!

Don’t be deceived by how simple this seems. This modified form of hide and seek can provide a ton of exercise and stimulation for your dog. The best part? All that’s required is two rooms and some tasty treats!

Here’s how it works. Grab one of your dog’s favorite treats (it’s best if they are aware that you’ve got a treat with you). Once they are sufficiently interested in the succulent snack you’ve got in your possession, bring them into a separate room. Then close the door, and proceed to hide the treat in another room.

Make sure to place it somewhere that’s not too difficult for them to find.  Of course, we still want to make sure to give them a little bit of a challenge. Then simply open the door and let your dog’s natural curiosity lead them on a journey around the room!

If done right, this simple game can provide your dog with plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Stairs For Days.

This is one of our favorites because it can tire out even the most active of dogs in a very short amount of time.

Stairs inside a house

As the title suggests, this one requires access to stairs. Therefore, it works best in multi-level homes (or apartment buildings with easy to access stairwells). Our dogs can get a tremendous amount of cardiovascular exercise from nothing but a simple flight of stairs. Keep in mind, this one is not recommended for older dogs, or dogs with mobility issues.

There are a few different ways to use stairs to exercise your dog. One way is to attach their leash and simply walk (or run) them up and down the stairs a few times. They’ll be panting in no time!

But what if you are not in the mood for exercise yourself?  You can easily combine a flight of stairs with your pet’s favorite toy (or small pieces of a treat). Simply stand at the top of the stairs and toss their toy to the bottom. Each time they go to retrieve it, they’ll need to climb the flight of stairs to bring it back.

Another variation is to break a treat into a few small pieces, and stand at the top of the stairs while you toss a tiny piece to the bottom. They’ll run down to get it, and quickly run back up once you show them you have more pieces of the treat. Simply repeat this process until your dog wants a break.

Toys and games.

Some of the best ways to exercise your dog indoors involve simple toys or games. The best part is that even very inexpensive or homemade toys can provide a ton of stimulation.

dog chew toys


  • Monkey in the middle
    This one is best done with two (or more people). Simply grab your dog’s favorite ball or toy and play a game of ‘keep away’. Both participants toss the toy to each other, while your dog runs back and forth trying to grab it. Make sure to let them get it once in a while or they make quickly give up and get bored.

  • Tug of War 
    For this you’ll need a towel, a section of rope, or even a rubber chew toy. Playing a simple game of tug of war with your dog is a great way to strengthen their core muscles. This replicates a game that puppies naturally play with each other, and is a great way to tire them. Best of all, it requires minimal effort on your part!

  • Laser Pointers
    This one works best with dogs who have a strong predatory instinct. Small laser pointers are quite inexpensive, and can provide tons of exercise and stimulation for your dog. Not to mention, it’s pretty entertaining as they run around the room trying to chase that little red dot. Just be extremely careful not to shine the laser pointer into their eyes as this can be harmful.

In A Nutshell:

As you can see when it comes to exercising your dog indoors, the possibilities are truly endless. Of course not all activities will be the right fit for every dog.  That said, once you find one that your dog loves, it can provide them with an easily accessible source of exercise for years to come!

Need help training your dog but don’t have the time or money to hire a trainer? Click here to check out our reviews of the best 5 online dog training courses

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