Renting an apartment with pets doesn’t mean your furry companion has to miss out on all the fun and excitement of outdoor activities. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation to lead happy and healthy lives, and there are plenty of stimulating games that you can play with your dog right in the comfort of your apartment.
If you live in a smaller space, especially in a big city, chances are you can’t always go out with your dog, whether it be because of bad weather, working from home, or other unexpected circumstances.
As such, having a few go-to games to play indoors will help you keep your dog happy and healthy. These stimulating dog games provide entertainment and create a stronger bond between you and your four-legged friend.
So, let’s dive into the world of engaging and enjoyable games that will keep your dog entertained and active even in an apartment or small space.
Hide-and-seek is a classic game that dogs love to play. It’s a fantastic way to engage your dog’s instincts and mental abilities. To play, ask your dog to stay while you find a hiding spot within your apartment. Once you’re ready, call your dog’s name and encourage them to find you. When your dog discovers your hiding spot, reward them with treats and lots of praise. As your dog gets the hang of it, you can make the game more challenging by hiding in different places.
Who said you can’t play fetch in an apartment? Even if you live in a rental with your pets, you only need a soft, lightweight toy, preferably made of fabric or plush material. Soft balls or rope toys work great for this purpose. Toss the toy gently across the room, and when your dog retrieves it, reward it with treats or affection. Indoor fetch exercises your dog’s body and provides mental stimulation as they use their tracking and retrieving skills.
Puzzle toys and treat dispensers
Puzzle toys and treat dispensers are excellent for keeping your dog mentally engaged. Various types of interactive toys in the market require your dog to figure out how to get to the treats hidden inside. These toys challenge your dog’s problem-solving abilities and help prevent boredom. They are particularly beneficial for dogs that tend to get anxious or destructive when left alone in the apartment.
These are also ideal for those dog owners who work from home and need an hour or two of quiet during meetings or interviews. Puzzles with treats inside are stimulating and provide rewards, so you can get some alone time when needed.
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell; scent games tap into this natural ability. One easy game to play is the “Find the Treat” game. Begin by showing your dog a treat, then let them watch as you hide it in a different room. Encourage your dog to find the treat by following the scent. This game provides mental stimulation and helps improve your dog’s scent-tracking skills.
DIY agility course
Create a mini agility course in your apartment using chairs, pillows, and boxes. Set up a simple obstacle course for your dog to navigate, including jumps, tunnels, and mazes. These courses will keep your dog busy and active, using smaller spaces. If you include vertical obstacles, the dogs can also practice jumping up and down, which will keep them active.
Tug-of-war is a classic game that can be played in a small space. Use a rope toy or a soft tug toy and engage your dog in a gentle game of tug. Remember to use cues like “take it” and “drop it” to maintain control during the game. Tug-of-war is a great physical workout and an opportunity for bonding and building trust with your dog.
Closing thoughts on stimulating games for dogs
Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t provide stimulating and enjoyable games for your dog. Engaging your furry friend in activities challenging their mind and body will keep them happy, healthy, and content, even in limited space.
These stimulating games provide an excellent outlet for your dog’s instincts, prevent boredom, and strengthen the bond between you and your companion. So, try them out next time you’re indoors and watch your dog’s tail wag with delight.
Richard Thomas has been a freelance animal and pet care writer for over a decade. He also is a volunteer dedicated to animal rescue and welfare, working for different organizations. He lives with two adopted cats and a rescue dog.