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7 Genius Ways to Exercise Your Dog Indoors

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Exercise dog indoors - dog with toy

Most dogs need a healthy dose of exercise each and every day. The trouble is, often times the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate.

Depending on where you live, it could be frigid temperatures, heatwaves, rainstorms – or all of the above.

Or, as we’ve now learned, you may have to stay inside due to health concerns.

These conditions can make walking your dog precarious, if not downright dangerous. Unfortunately, your dog will still need its daily workout.

So what do you do?

I’ve been in this situation many, many times with Toby. Minnesota isn’t exactly known for its awesome weather. And when it’s crazy cold, like -10 degrees, poor Toby can barely walk outside to go to the bathroom, let alone go on long walks.

All is not lost, however. There are still many ways you can give your dog a solid workout indoors. Here are seven ideas to try out.

1. Play fetch inside

Indoor fetch

The space may be smaller, but you can still get in a pretty vigorous game of fetch indoors.

Depending on the size of your dwelling, you might have to rearrange a few things to make space. And it’s definitely a good idea to move valuable and breakable things out of the way entirely.

Since the distance is a lot shorter than it would be at the park, this method might take a bit longer to tire out your dog.

Still, it’s a great way to get in some intense exercise and wear out your feisty furball.

2. Start a game of tug of war

Tug of war

If your dog is physically up for it, a game of tug of war is another awesome indoor idea.

For this, I would say that a rope toy works best. They’re durable and decent for your dog’s teeth.

When playing this game, just make sure your dog is having fun and doesn’t get too aggressive.

Booda Fresh-N-Floss 3 Knot Tug Rope Dog Toy, Large, Spearmint
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04/28/2024 12:01 pm GMT

3. Get a Squishy Face Studio Pole

We bought this Squishy Face Studio Pole for Toby a few years ago and it has been a godsend.

Even at his gigantic size, Toby still find this to be a challenging activity.

Smaller dogs will have an even more intense workout.

To get started, you grab the pole and move it around so your dog will have to work to get the fleece toy at the bottom. The elastic-like cord makes the toy jump and fly around.

To get at the toy, dogs have to run and jump, thus burning lots of energy. (Hallelujah!)

Also worth noting: All the parts are made of high-quality, durable material.

And believe me, I am a tough critic when it comes to toughness and quality after witnessing Toby destroy SO MANY toys.

Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole

It's composed of a strong pole with a knotted rope toy attached. The way we use it is to hold the pole and swing around the rope toy.

Buy Now
04/28/2024 10:16 am GMT

4. Run the stairs

dog on steps

This is a simple one. If you have stairs in your house and your dog is physically able, why not encourage them to run up and down the stairs for a bit?

To get the game going, you can stand at the top of the stairs and throw a ball down, then encourage your dog to bring it back up to you.

Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you can always run up and down with them.

5. Work on indoor agility training

dog with agility course

Do you ever see those professional dog shows on TV and think, how in the world can those dogs do all those cool tricks?

Well, you can start off small with a starter indoor agility kit, like this one from Outward Hound Kyjen.

A day stuck inside is a perfect time to work on learning new tricks. And your pup will get worn out mentally and physically through indoor agility training.

6. Search for treats

pug with treat

Another idea is to play hide and seek with dog treats.

Ask your dog to sit and stay, then go out of sight and hide the treat in a location that’s challenging for your dog to find, but not too tough.

Also, make sure they know the general area where you’ve hid it, otherwise they might be searching for hours. Although, that might not be a bad thing!

7. Buy an interactive food toy

Interactive food toy

No joke, we just bought two of these as Christmas gifts for family members with dogs.

Toby has both the Buster Food Cube and Buster Interactive Ball, so we were more than confident that other dogs would love them just as much we do.

Here’s how it works: You remove the top and fill the inside with dog food. After securing the top back on, you put the toy on the floor and encourage your dog to push it around the house in hopes of getting bits of food here and there. It’s a great motivator!

For larger dogs who like to chew, I’d recommend the cube. It’s tougher to clamp down on and chew.

But for the smaller pups, the ball is the way to go since it’s easier to push.

Buster Food Cube Interactive Dog Toy

Add your dog's food inside this toy and place it on the ground, and he can be entertained for up to 30-45 minutes as it rolls around.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Chewy

Also, check out this article for more dog puzzle toys.

Exercising Your Dog Indoors

Without a doubt, dogs get much better exercise going on walks or romping around outdoors. But in a pinch, these activities work wonders.

Do you have any interesting ways you exercise your pup indoors? We’d love to hear them below!

Check out more articles about: Training


  1. Dominic White

    You have mentioned very cool tips regarding how to exercise our dog indoors. I would like to add some more points in your post which are good for our lovely dog. I have a dog and we both are doing indoor exercises which are fun so just take a look at on my points. Hope you will like those points.
    1. Take a car ride to another indoors place
    2. Go to a local indoor pet center
    3. Mind puzzles
    4. Indoors swimming
    5. Give your dog a job
    6. Playtime is a favorite game of all dogs so you can do that game as an excersise but safety is a matter for them so you can use invisible fence collar which is very good for our pet. We can buy that bark collar any of our nearest shop (Circuitcell) at our budget.

  2. maxine Sharwood

    I made a flirt stick for my dogs they love it great for exercise and also a good way to teach them some new tricks

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