Posted by Pet Honesty on

8 Ways to Exercise Your Dog Indoors

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As a pet owner, you want nothing but the best for your furry friend. This includes ensuring that they are physically fit and healthy. Regular exercise is an essential aspect of a dog's overall well-being, but what if the weather outside is not suitable for outdoor activities at the local dog park?

It's important to know that there are still plenty of ways to keep dogs busy indoors. In this article, we will discuss eight ways to exercise your dog indoors that will help them burn off energy and keep them mentally stimulated.

The Importance of Exercise

First and foremost, let's talk about why exercise is crucial for your dog's physical and mental health.

Just like humans, dogs need physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen their muscles, and prevent obesity-related diseases. Exercise also promotes good behavior in dogs by releasing pent-up energy, therefore reducing anxiety and destructive behavior.

Without adequate exercise, dogs can become bored and restless, which can lead to behavioral issues such as excessive barking or chewing. It's important to always keep your dog entertained (especially puppies) if you're looking to improve dog obedience.

With that being said, let's dive into the top 8 ways you can give a dog exercise indoors . . .


1. Tug-of-War

Tug-of-war is a great way to engage your dog in physical activity. It also helps build their strength and coordination while providing mental stimulation. All you need is a sturdy rope or tug toy that your pup can grab onto, and you're ready to go!

Make sure to use the "drop it" command when playing tug-of-war to avoid any accidental nips or bites. This game is perfect for big dogs who need a good workout, but smaller breeds can also join in on the fun.

How to Play Tug-of-War Indoors

  • Start by getting your dog’s attention and showing them the toy or rope.
  • Encourage your dog to grab hold of the toy, either with a command like "take it" or by playing tug-of-war yourself.
  • Once your dog has a good grip on the toy, use commands like "pull" or "tug."
  • Make sure to take breaks and let your dog win occasionally to keep them interested and engaged.
  • End the game by using the "drop it" command and rewarding your dog with a treat for good behavior.

2. Hide-and-Seek

Hide-and-seek is a fun game for mental and physical stimulation. This game can also help teach your dog their recall commands, which are essential for their safety.

To play hide-and-seek indoors, start by hiding behind a door or furniture and calling out your dog's name. Once they find you, reward them with treats and praise. As your dog gets better at the game, try hiding in more challenging places.

Tips for Playing Hide-and-Seek Indoors

  • Use your dog's favorite toy or treats to make it easier for them to find you.
  • Start with easy hiding spots and gradually increase the difficulty as your dog becomes more skilled.
  • Remember to use positive reinforcement and reward your dog for finding you.

3. Indoor Agility Course

Who says agility courses are just for outdoor parks? You can easily create a DIY agility course in your living room using household items like chairs, brooms, and hula hoops.

This activity will not only provide physical exercise but also challenge your dog's coordination and problem-solving skills.

How to Set Up an Indoor Agility Course

  • Use chairs or brooms as hurdles for your dog to jump over.
  • Place a hula hoop on the ground and teach your dog to jump through it.
  • Create a tunnel using blankets or cardboard boxes for your dog to crawl through.
  • You can also use pillows as obstacles for your dog to weave through.
  • Don't forget to reward your dog with treats and praise for completing the course.


4. Obstacle Course

Similar to an agility course, an obstacle course can be a fun and challenging activity for your dog. Use objects like cushions, stools, and pillows to create a series of obstacles for your pup to navigate through. This will not only provide physical exercise but also mental exercise.

Tips for Creating an Indoor Obstacle Course

  • Start with simple obstacles and gradually add more challenging ones as your dog becomes more skilled.
  • Use treats or toys to lure your dog through the course.
  • Make sure to supervise your dog at all times and ensure they are not getting too overwhelmed.

5. Stair Climbing

If you have a staircase in your home, you can use it to create a great workout for your dog. Stair climbing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that will also strengthen their leg muscles.

Start by walking up and down the stairs with your dog a few times, then gradually increase the intensity by jogging or running up and down. You can also use dog treats as motivation for your dog to keep going.

6. Play Fetch

Fetch is a classic game that most dogs love to play. It's an excellent way to exercise your dog indoors without taking up too much space. All you need is a ball or toy that your dog can easily fetch and bring back to you.

Tips for Playing Fetch Indoors

  • Use soft toys or balls when playing indoors to avoid any breakages or injuries.
  • Make sure to play in an open area with no fragile items that your dog might knock over.
  • Take breaks and reward your dog for good behavior and bringing back the toy.

7. Treat-Dispensing Toys

Food dispensing toys are a great way to provide mental stimulation while also keeping your dog physically active. These toys can be filled with your dog's favorite treats or kibble, and they have to figure out how to get the food out.

You can also use these toys as part of your dog's mealtime routine to slow down their eating and prevent digestion issues.

8. Indoor Swimming

If you have access to a pool or an indoor swimming facility, swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for your dog. It's perfect for older dogs or those with joint issues, as it provides a full-body workout without putting pressure on their joints.

Make sure to always supervise your dog while they are in the water and use a life jacket if needed.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Dog

  • Start by introducing your dog to the water gradually, using treats and positive reinforcement.
  • Make sure they have a way to enter and exit the pool safely.
  • Use a life jacket if your dog is not a strong swimmer or has any health issues.
  • Always supervise your dog while they are in the water and make sure to dry them off thoroughly afterwards.


Importance of Proper Nutrition and Supplements

While these indoor exercise ideas are great for keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated, it's also essential to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition and supplements to support their health. Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet with essential vitamins and nutrients to maintain their overall well-being.

In some cases, even with a balanced diet, your dog may still have nutritional gaps that need to be filled. This is where supplements can come in handy. Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet but rather fill any nutritional deficiencies and support your dog's overall health.

Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help maintain joint health and prevent symptoms of joint-related issues, which can be especially beneficial for older dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties and can support heart health and a shiny coat.


Q: Can all dogs participate in these indoor exercises?

A: It's essential to consider your dog's age, size, and physical limitations before engaging in any exercise activities. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog's ability to participate.

Q: How much exercise does my dog need?

A: How much exercise your dog needs varies depending on your dog's age, breed, and overall health. It's best to consult with your veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can I use regular toys as food dispensing toys?

A: Yes, you can use regular toys such as KONG brand toys or puzzle balls to make them into food dispensing toys by adding treats inside. However, there are also specific food dispensing toys available in pet stores that are designed for this purpose. Overall, it's important to choose safe and durable toys for your dog to prevent any choking or injury risks.

Q: Is it necessary to consult with my veterinarian before giving my dog supplements?

A: Yes, it's always best to consult with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog's diet. They can assess your dog's specific needs and recommend the most suitable supplement for them. Additionally, they can also monitor their progress and make adjustments as needed.


Keeping your dog physically and mentally active is crucial for their overall health and happiness. With these indoor exercise ideas, you can provide your pup with the necessary physical activity while also having fun together.

Just remember to always prioritize safety, consult with your veterinarian, and consider supplementing their diet to ensure they are getting all the essential nutrients they need. By taking care of your dog's health now, you are setting them up for a long and fulfilling life by your side!